People often ask me what I do for research. Well, here's one example. I have never shot a gun in my life, except for a BB gun at camp when I was a little girl. The idea of them frightens me to death, actually. But I recently started work on a new novel whose main character is an expert markswoman, and I realized that if I was going to convincingly talk about shooting, I needed to try it, at least once or twice. So below are a few pictures that follow my first gun lesson, step by step. I went with my friend, the wonderful writer Sarah Manguso (if you have not read her memoir, The Two Kinds of Decay--you must put it on your wish list--it's one of the best books I've read in years). In the end, here's how things ranked up: Gun: .22 Caliber Rifle Bullet Type: Lead Round Nose Bullet Weight: 40 grains Dangerous: within 1 1/2 miles (that's how far it would go in open air) Shots: 50 Distance: 50 feet Bullseyes: 20 Win Hannah's Target: The first person to comment below with the correct page number of The Good Thief where a gun first appears will receive a signed paper target (with bullseye) from this lesson.