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Recent Studies Indicate

Recent Studies Indicate
The Best of Sarah Bird

In her first nonfiction collection, the beloved, award-winning Sarah Bird showcases four decades of wise yet riotously entertaining essays and articles on womanhood, Texas, motherhood, and her weird, wondrous journey as a writer.

April 2019
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264 pages | 5 x 8 |

When Sarah Bird arrived in Austin in 1973 in pursuit of a boyfriend who was “hotter than lava,” she found an abundance of inspiration for storytelling (her sweetheart left her for Scientology, but she got to taste a morsel of Lynda Bird Johnson’s poorly preserved wedding cake as a temp worker at the LBJ Library). Sarah Bird went on to write ten acclaimed novels and contribute hundreds of articles to publications coast to coast, developing a signature voice that combines laser-sharp insight with irreverent, wickedly funny prose in the tradition of Molly Ivins and Nora Ephron

Now collecting forty of Bird’s best nonfiction pieces, from publications that range from Texas Monthly to the New York Times and others, Recent Studies Indicate presents some of Bird’s earliest work, including a prescient 1976 profile of a transgender woman, along with recent calls to political action, such as her 2017 speech at a benefit for Annie’s List.

Whether Bird is hanging out with socialites and sanitation workers or paying homage to her army-nurse mom, her collection brings a poignant perspective to the experience of being a woman, a feminist, a mother, and a Texan—and a writer with countless, spectacular true tales to tell us.

  • Introduction
  • Womanhood: The Secret Delta
    • A Question of Gender (Austin Sun, 1976)
    • Ready, Set, Go-Go! (Texas Monthly, June 2009)
    • My Surprise Wedding (Modern Bride, December 2009)
    • Princess of the Oil Rigs (Campus Voice, April–May 1986)
    • Silver Pins and Golden Tresses (Third Coast, 1987)
    • Take a Strutting, Stomping Twelve-Day Vacation from Your Life (Oprah, November 2002)
    • Buy, Buy Birdie (Texas Monthly, April 2006)
    • Neck and Neck (Texas Monthly, November 2006)
    • Is This Really What Meemaw Had in Mind? (Annie’s List/Texas Tribune, April 26, 2017)
  • Texas: So Many Ways for a Girl to Lose Her Virginity
    • Clouds (from Between Heaven and Texas by Wyman Meinzer, University of Texas Press, 2006)
    • Unlike a Virgin (Third Coast, 1985)
    • From the Archives of the Heartbroken and Spiritually Bereft (Moth Radio Hour, recorded December 12, 2012, Paramount Theater, Austin, Texas)
    • Road Coma (Southern Magazine, July 1987)
    • Bumfuzzled (Texas Co-op Power magazine, date unknown)
    • Talkin’ Trash (Third Coast, August 1982)
    • Knocking on Heaven’s Door (Third Coast, July 1983)
    • The Furs Were Flying (Texas Monthly, May 2006)
    • Step Lively (Texas Monthly, June 2006)
    • Horn &x2018;em, Hookers (Texas Monthly, January 2007)
    • Goodbye, Mrs. Chips (Texas Monthly, March 2007)
    • Hog Wild (Texas Monthly, July 2007)
  • Motherhood: Two Seconds after the Stick Turns Pink
    • Mombo (Austin American-Statesman, May 9, 1993)
    • Nurse Bird (Good Housekeeping, November 2009)
    • Lactation Nation (Texas Monthly, August 2008)
    • The Q Gene (New York Times Magazine, May 1, 1994)
    • Going Private (Texas Monthly, October 2006)
    • Pedal to My Mettle (Texas Monthly, August 2006)
    • Tour de Farce (Texas Monthly, February 2007)
    • Craigslust (Texas Monthly, December 2007)
    • Ranch Blessing (Texas Monthly, August 2009)
    • The Goodbye Boy (Texas Monthly, December 2008)
  • Writing: Use It in Your Work
    • For Keith (For AIDS Benefit “Queer Voices,” September 1998)
    • Flash Back (The Alcalde, May/June 2011)
    • Shrines to a Common Good (Speech to the Texas Library Association, July 2017)
    • Passion Victim (Texas Monthly, May 2005)
    • Read &x2018;em and Weep (Texas Monthly, October 2005)
    • Say Cheesy (Texas Monthly, January 2006)
    • Meat, My Maker (Texas Monthly, July 2012)
    • The Big Sleep (Texas Monthly, October 2013)
    • Paisano (Texas Highways, November 2018)
  • Acknowledgments

Sarah Bird
Austin, Texas

Bird is the author of ten novels, most recently the historical work Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen. In addition to working as a screenwriter, Bird has served as a columnist for Texas Monthly and as an occasional contributor to numerous national publications, including O, The Oprah Magazine; the New York Times Magazine; Salon; the Daily Beast; and Glamour. Her many accolades include induction into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.


“What sets Sarah Bird apart from other writers is the pure joy she gets out of her characters. And she laughs at herself—a lot. You can't help but grin when you read her, no matter the topic.”
Skip Hollandsworth, author of The Midnight Assassin: The Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer