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The Partly Cloudy Patriot

The Partly Cloudy Patriot

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The Partly Cloudy Patriot

valutazioni:
4/5 (51 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
188 pagine
3 ore
Pubblicato:
Sep 5, 2002
ISBN:
9780743233361
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

From public radio This American Life contributor and self-described “history nerd” Sarah Vowell comes a collection of humorous and personal essays investigating American history, pop culture and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In this insightful and funny collection of personal stories Vowell travels through the American past and in doing so ponders a number of curious questions: Why is she happiest when visiting the sites of bloody struggles like Salem or Gettysburg? Why do people always inappropriately compare themselves to Rosa Parks? Why is a bad life in sunny California so much worse than a bad life anywhere else? What is it about the Zen of foul shots? And, in the title piece, why must doubt and internal arguments haunt the sleepless nights of the true patriot?

Her essays confront a wide range of subjects, themes, icons, and historical moments: Ike, Teddy Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton; Canadian Mounties and German filmmakers; Tom Cruise and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; twins and nerds; the Gettysburg Address, the State of the Union, and George W. Bush's inauguration.

The result is a teeming and engrossing book, capturing Vowell's memorable wit and her keen social commentary.
Pubblicato:
Sep 5, 2002
ISBN:
9780743233361
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Sarah Vowell is a contributing editor for public radio's This American Life and has written for Time, Esquire, GQ, Spin, Salon, McSweeneys, The Village Voice, and the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of Radio On, Take the Cannoli, and The Partly Cloudy Patriot. She lives in New York City.


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Anteprima del libro

The Partly Cloudy Patriot - Sarah Vowell

PATRIOT

What He Said There

There are children playing soccer on a field at Gettysburg where the Union Army lost the first day’s fight. Playing soccer, like a bunch of Belgians—and in the middle of football season no less. Outside of town, there’s a billboard for a shopping mall said to be "The Gettysburg Address For Shopping. Standing on the train platform where Abraham Lincoln disembarked from Washington on November 18, 1863, there’s a Confederate soldier, a reenactor. Which direction is south? I ask him, trying to re-create the presidential moment. When the fake Johnny Reb replies that he doesn’t know, I scold him, Dude, you’re from there!" Around the corner, the citizens of Gettysburg stand in line at the Majestic Theater for the 2:10 showing of Meet the Parents. Bennett, the friend I’m with, makes a dumb joke about Lincoln meeting his in-laws, the Todds. Things did not go well, he says.

It is November 19, 2000, the 137th anniversary of the cemetery dedication ceremony at which Lincoln delivered a certain speech. Four score and seven years ago, Lincoln said, referring to the Declaration of Independence in 1776, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Always start with the good news.

I could say that I’ve come to Gettysburg as a rubbernecking tourist, that I’ve shown up to force myself to mull over the consequences of a war I never think about. Because that would make a better story—a gum-chewing, youngish person who says like too much, comes face to face with the horrors of war and Learns Something. But, like, this story isn’t like that. Fact is, I think about the Civil War all the time, every day. I can’t even use a cotton ball to remove my eye makeup without spacing out about slavery’s favorite cash crop and that line from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address that it may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces. Well, that, and why does black eyeliner smudge way more than brown?

I guess Gettysburg is a pilgrimage. And, like all pilgrims, I’m a mess. You don’t cross state lines to attend the 137th anniversary of anything unless something’s missing in your life.

The fighting at Gettysburg took place between July 1 and July 3, 1863. The Union, under the command of General George Meade, won. But not at first, and not with ease. In the biggest, bloodiest battle ever fought on U.S. soil, 51,000 men were killed, wounded, or missing. I am interested enough in that whopping statistic to spend most of the day being driven around the immense battlefield. Interested enough to walk down a spur on Little Round Top to see the monument to the 20th Maine, where a bookish but brave college professor named Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain ran out of ammo and ordered the bayonets that held the Union’s ground. Interested enough to stop at the Copse of Trees—where the Confederate General George Pickett aimed his thousands of soldiers who were mowed down at the climax—and sit on a rock and wonder how many Southern skulls were cracked open on it.

I care enough about the 51,000 to visit the graves, semicircular rows of stones with the otherwise forgotten names of Jeremiah Davis and Jesse Wills and Wesley Raikes laid right next to Hiram Hughes. And the little marble cubes engraved with numbers assigned the unknown. Who was 811? Or 775? The markers for the unknowns are so minimal and so beautiful I catch myself thinking of these men as sculptures. Here, they are called bodies. There are slabs chiseled MASSACHUSETTS 159 BODIES and CONNECTICUT 22 BODIES and WISCONSIN 73 BODIES.

So I pay my respects to the bodies, but I’ll admit that I am more concerned with the 272 words President Lincoln said about them. The best the slaughtered can usually hope for is a cameo in some kind of art. Mostly, we living need a Guernica to remind us of Guernica. In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln said of the men who shed their blood, The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. Who did he think he was kidding? We only think of them because of him. Robert E. Lee hightailed it out of Gettysburg on the Fourth of July, the same day the Confederates surrendered Vicksburg to U. S. Grant—a big deal at the time because it gave the Feds control of the Mississippi. And yet who these days dwells on Vicksburg, except for the park rangers who work there and a handful of sore losers who whine when they’re asked to take the stars and bars off their godforsaken state flags?

The Gettysburg Address is more than a eulogy. It’s a soybean, a versatile little problem solver that can be processed into seemingly infinite, ingenious products. In this speech, besides cleaning up the founding fathers’ slavery mess by calling for a new birth of freedom, Lincoln comforted grieving mothers who would never bounce grandchildren on their knees and ran for reelection at the same time. Lest we forget, he came to Washington from Illinois. Even though we think of him as the American Jesus, he had a little Mayor Daley in him too. Lincoln the politician needed the win at Gettysburg and, on the cusp of an election year, he wanted to remind the people explicitly that they could win the war if they just held on, while implicitly reminding them to use their next presidential ballot to write their commander in chief a thank-you note.

Privately, Lincoln has mixed feelings about Gettysburg because he’s certain the war could have ended right here if only General Meade had not let General Lee get away. According to a letter written right after the battle, Lincoln is deeply mortified that Meade and his noble army had expended all the skill, and toil, and blood, up to the ripe harvest, and then let the crop go to waste. Because Lincoln is a good man, he does not say this in front of the families who came to the cemetery to hear that their loved ones shall not have died in vain. Because he is a good politician, he looks on the bright side. Though I personally suspect that in Lincoln’s first draft, the line about how it is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced was simply Goddamn fucking Meade.

Abraham Lincoln is one of my favorite writers. The mystic chords of memory. Better angels of our nature. The father of waters flows unvexed to the sea. All those brilliant phrases I’d admired for so long, and yet I never truly thought of him as a writer until I visited the David Wills house in Gettysburg’s town square.

In 1863, Wills was charged by Pennsylvania’s governor to oversee the battlefield’s cleanup and the construction of the cemetery. His house, now a museum, is where Lincoln stayed the night before delivering the address. I walk into the room where Lincoln slept, with its flowerdy carpet and flowerdy walls, with its canopy bed and its water pitcher and towels, and for several minutes the only possible thought is that he was here. There’s the window he leaned out of the night of the 18th, teasing the crowd outside that he had nothing to say. And, this being a sweet old-fashioned tourist trap, there’s a gangly Lincoln mannequin in white shirtsleeves, hunched over a small table, his long legs poking out the side. He’s polishing the speech. The myth is that he wrote it on the back of an envelope on the train, but probably he’s been slaving over it for days and days. Still, he doesn’t finish it until he’s in this room, the morning of the 19th, the morning he’s to deliver it.

To say that Abraham Lincoln was a writer is to say that he was a procrastinator. How many deadlines have I nearly blown over the years, slumped like Lincoln, fretting over words that didn’t come out until almost too late? Of course, the stakes are lower when one is under pressure to think up insightful things to say about the new Brad Pitt movie instead of, say, saving the Union. On the other hand, I’ve whipped out Aerosmith record reviews that are longer than the Gettysburg Address, so where’s my mannequin?

Looking at Lincoln rushing to stave off failure, I felt so close to him. Or let’s say I felt closer. My grandest hope for my own hastily written sentences is that they would keep a stranger company on an airplane. Abraham Lincoln could turn a pretty phrase such as I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and put it in the proclamation that freed the slaves. Even Mailer wouldn’t claim to top that.

At the Gettysburg National Cemetery, there’s a ceremony every November 19 to celebrate the anniversary of Lincoln’s speech. I sit down on a folding chair among the shivering townspeople. A brass band from Gettysburg High School plays the national anthem. The eminent Yale historian James McPherson delivers a speech he may have written a long time ago to make college students feel bad. Because when he accuses the audience of taking our democracy for granted, there’s a rustling in the crowd. While people who commemorate the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address surely have a lot of problems, taking democracy for granted isn’t one of them. New Jersey’s governor, Christine Todd Whitman, then takes the podium, proclaiming, Our government doesn’t have all the answers, and it never will. That is code for Sorry about that icky photo that shows me laughing as I frisk an innocent black man on a State Police ride-along.

I sit through all of this, impatient. I didn’t come here for the opening acts. Like a Van Halen concertgoer who doesn’t high-five his friend until he hears the first bar of Jump, all I’ve been waiting for is for the Lincoln impersonator James Getty to stand up and read the Gettysburg Address already. This is what Garry Wills says happened after Lincoln stopped talking in 1863: The crowd departed with a new thing in its ideological luggage, that new constitution Lincoln had substituted for the one they brought there with them. They walked off, from those curving graves on the hillside, under a changed sky, into a different America. This is what happened after the Lincoln impersonator stopped talking in the year 2000: The eight-year-old boy sitting next to me pointed at Getty and asked his mom, Isn’t that guy too short?

I glance at the kid with envy. He’s at that first, great, artsy-craftsy age when Americans learn about Abraham Lincoln. How many of us drew his beard in crayon? We built models of his boyhood cabin with Elmer’s glue and toothpicks. We memorized the Gettysburg Address, reciting its ten sentences in stovepipe hats stapled out of black construction paper. The teachers taught us to like Washington and to respect Jefferson. But Lincoln—him they taught us to love.

The First Thanksgiving

When I invited my mom and dad to come to New York City to have Thanksgiving at my house, I never expected them to say yes. Not only had they never been to New York, they had never been east of the Mississippi. Nor had they ever visited me. I’ve always had these fantasies about being in a normal family in which the parents come to town and their adult daughter spends their entire visit daydreaming of suicide. I’m here to tell you that dreams really do come true.

I was terrified we wouldn’t have enough to talk about. In the interest of harmony, there’s a tacit agreement in my family; the following subjects are best avoided in any conversation longer than a minute and a half: national politics, state and local politics, any music by any person who never headlined at the Grand Ole Opry, my personal life, and their so-called god. Five whole days. When I visit them back home in Montana, conversation isn’t a problem because we go to the movies every afternoon. That way, we can be together but without the burden of actually talking to each other. Tommy Lee Jones, bless his heart, does the talking for us.

But my sister, Amy, is coming and bringing her lively seven-month-old son, Owen, along, so the cinema’s not an option. Which means five days together—just us—no movies. We are heading into uncharted and possibly hostile waters, pioneers in a New World. It is Thanksgiving. The pilgrims had the Mayflower. I buy a gravy boat.

It’s lucky that Amy’s coming with Mom and Dad. Amy still lives six blocks away from them in Bozeman. She would act as interpreter and go-between among my parents and me. Like Squanto.

Amy’s husband, Jay, has decided to stay home in Montana to go deer hunting with his brother. Everyone else arrives at my apartment in Chelsea. Amy and Owen are bunking with me, so I walk my parents around the corner to check them into their hotel on Twenty-third.

Here we are, says Mom, stopping under the awning of the Chelsea Hotel. There she stands, a woman whose favorite book is called, simply, Matthew, right on the spot where the cops hauled Sid Vicious out in handcuffs after his girlfriend was found stabbed to death on their hotel room floor.

No, Mother, I say, taking her arm and directing her down the block to the Chelsea Savoy, a hotel where they go to the trouble to clean the rooms each day.

It is around this time, oh, twenty minutes into their trip, that my dad starts making wisecracks like Boy, kid, bet you can’t wait until we’re out of here. My father, a man who moved us sixteen hundred miles away from our Oklahoma relatives so he wouldn’t have to see them anymore, makes a joke on average every two hours he is here about how much I’m anticipating the second they’ll say good-bye. I find this charming but so disturbingly true I don’t know what to say.

By halfway through the first day, I

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  • (4/5)
    This is a great audiobook, read by the author herself (with special guests). The essays all seem to have been written after the 2000 election and before 9/11, with one notable exception. This is the first time since the 2000 election that I have been able to bear, let alone enjoy, any sort of political discourse. Of course it helps that Sarah Vowell is very funny and insightful and that her views are very nicely in line with my own.
  • (4/5)
    "I prefer the pen to the sword, so I've always been more of a Jeffersonhead"(stolen and butchered from Amazon) In "The Partly Cloudy Patriot," Sarah Vowell travels through the American past and, in doing so, investigates the dusty, bumpy roads of her own life, wondering why she is happiest when visiting the sites of bloody struggles like Salem or Gettysburg? Why do people always inappropriately compare themselves to Rosa Parks? Her essays confront a wide range of subjects, themes, icons, and historical moments: Ike, Teddy Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton; Canadian Mounties and German filmmakers; Tom Cruise and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; twins and nerds; the Gettysburg Address, the State of the Union, and George W. Bush's inauguration. The result is a teeming and engrossing book, capturing Vowell's memorable wit and her keen social commentary.Given how much I love the West Wing, it is not surprising that I found this light touch introduction to American politics quite interesting, particularly mixed with Vowell's thoughts on life in general (I do rather like thematic memoirs).Vowell mixes her thoughts on historical and modern politics with her personal experiences of politics (such as going to see George W. Bush's inauguration - she considers the Florida hanging chads a travesty) and other topics. I particularly enjoyed her treatise on nerds and nerdiness:"Being a nerd, which is to say going too far and caring too much about a subject, is the best way to make friends I know."My book nerdiness is justified.Vowell makes it cool to care: she is outraged when people insist on comparing themselves to Rosa Parks despite being in far less difficult situations, she somehow justifies the continued existence of an underground cafeteria at a national park and carefully examines the pros and cons of twinness. There is an occasional punchline, but mostly the comedy simmers along in a slightly sarcastic and/or self-deprecating tone which bubbles through every now and again.Maybe it was the deckle edges. Maybe it was the presumed knowledge of American history (I know zip about Gettysburg). Maybe I got fed up with Vowell's style. I can't quite put my finger on why this only gets 7/10 rather than 8 or 9, but there you go. I wanted to read this in audio but the London library system didn't have it, so I persevered in print - Teresa's opinion that Vowell's style is much more effective in audio does not surprise me.Side note: I find deckle edges incredibly frustrating. They may look pretty and old-world-ish, but I can't turn the page!!!!
  • (4/5)
    Sarah Vowell? She is me. Plus, she loves Canada only slightly more than me.
  • (3/5)
    Passably amusing essays on citizenship, American history, and the transition between the Clinton era and the Bush v2 era. I should have liked this better, because the author is clearly very similar to me, but This American Life has never really caught my fancy, and this book uses the same tone.
  • (3/5)
    A thoughtful and engaging collection of essays on Americana and the sometimes ambivalent relationship that Americans have with it. It's always fun to spend some time with Sarah Vowell.
  • (3/5)
    Vowell's essays read like she's in my head doing her TAL schtick. Worth reading, I especially like the one about Al Gore's nerdiness.
  • (2/5)
    Funny little essays, mostly about US history and politics. I really liked Vowell in her Daily Show interview, but these fell flat for me. She's obviously funny and thoughtful and well-informed--but not much. I never giggled out loud, or realized something new, or learned a neat tidbit about history. I learned a bit about Sarah Vowell, and she seems cool--but that's not enough to power an entire collection.
  • (4/5)
    I always thought maybe Sarah Vowell wouldn't suit me, but I quite enjoyed this audiobook of The Partly Cloudy Patriot, a series of essays about politics, history, pop culture, and the points where the three intersect. At first I found Vowell's delivery of her own work a little annoying, but eventually I got into the swing of it and thought the way she read it really added something to the material. She made me laugh out loud repeatedly. I have a Vowell around somewhere in print form, and I don't think it's this title, so I should have some more of her stuff to look forward to.
  • (3/5)
    A series of witty essays from 2000 and 2001. One one or so past 9/11 makes for a sort of eerie foreshadowing of then-upcoming events. Most deal with patriotism and America's place in history, as she sees it. I really enjoy her writing.
  • (4/5)
    It's not so much Vowell's voice I have trouble listening to, it's her lisp. But after the first 20 minutes or so, it becomes part of her quirky charm. I never forget about it, but it stops bugging me so much. Ditto to her somewhat deadpan delivery. I wouldn't bother actually read any her books, but the audios are fantastic.
  • (2/5)
    I thought I should read SOMETHING non-fiction this year. I thought this was a good choice, since it's an essay collection... wanted to read one of those. And it's funny. Well, it wasn't that funny. Much of this was based on politics, so maybe I just don't find politics very funny. My favorite parts were the personal stories that Vowell told, like having a gym teacher make her dive off the diving board, then having that same teacher for typing class and having to write a story to read aloud. She wrote about the diving board incident. ha. Or the story of her father and the snake. But I won't spoil that here.
  • (4/5)
    Reading Sarah Vowell was like having a conversation with a kindred spirit. I felt better about knowing scads of random facts and feel almost ready to be unapologetic about being a nerd (almost). And I felt comforted that Vowell, someone who obviously knows a great number of facts and has a good handle on history and our place in it, has also confused Sinclair Lewis with Upton Sinclair (I'd been secretly fearing that my mixing up the two once was evidence of my being a dolt. I suppose the fact that Vowell mixed them up doesn't negate that possibility, but it certainly eases my mind).

    I laughed out loud at many passages, like her description of the e-mail discussion group in which she participated during the 2000 presidential campaign: "We were a sort of homegrown talk show, where one person would state an opinion and then everyone else would go McLaughlin Group on his a**."

    And I completely related to her when she likened living in San Francisco as "living under quarantine in some euthanized, J. Crew catalog parallel universe of healthy good looks." Of course, she loves New York City, which I find unreal in its own way, but I don't need to agree with her on everything.

    She also got me thinking about politics, the nature of the media, and about what it means to be an American. I didn't always agree with her, but it was fun to think about these things without getting all bogged down and needing to retreat into network television like I usually do after pondering these topics.
  • (4/5)
    I read this for a book club I'm in. Vowell's books are always enjoyable reads, and this one is no exception. The stuff about the 2000 election takes me back to a bad time in my life, but that's not Vowell's fault. I enjoyed her walking tour of Salem, and her job selling historical maps, and her notes on Teddy Roosevelt. The way she entwines her personal life with history is satisfying and intimate, making me feel like she's telling me the stories over coffee, just the two of us. Recommended, although I'd suggest Assassination Vacation for anyone who's never read Vowell before. Much better book.
  • (4/5)
    A slightly fragmented, autobiographical, and (indeed) patriotic set of essays. "The Partly Cloudy Patriot" does not cover as much creative ground as Vowell's later "Assassination Vacation", but both are very entertaining, especially via audiobook in the author's own voice. I especially liked her description of working for an antique map seller and especially cringed at her account of the early GW Bush era.
  • (3/5)
    A thoughtful and engaging collection of essays on Americana and the sometimes ambivalent relationship that Americans have with it. It's always fun to spend some time with Sarah Vowell.
  • (4/5)
    After reading "The Wordy Shipmates" and "Assassination Vacation," I was eager to read "The Partly Cloudy Patriot." Although Vowell's trademark wry humor and preoccupation with American history remain the same through these three books, "The Partly Cloudy Patriot" is a collection of essays addressing the author's thoughts on a variety of subjects. The diverse selection of topics, as well as the essay format, make this an excellent selection for reading on the go because I could easily read an essay in a brief amount of time before sprinting to a changed gate or listening to the pilot's announcements.The essays range in topic from Vowell's musings on California to the nerdiness of Al Gore (and how embracing this nerdiness might have changed people's perceptions of him to popular culture (Vowell has an innate distrust of Tom Cruise). All of these essays are light in tone even as she explores the darker sides of her topics. In the title essay, Vowell explores her complex views on the American flag, particularly in the wake of September 11 and the war that followed. She also admits her fascination (and love for) historic sites that are associated with the more tragic moments of our history and goes so far as to recount a conversation she has with a psychologist friend about why she is happiest at places like Salem, Massachusetts.Even though I wholeheartedly enjoy Vowell's musings, I don't know if I would go so far as to recommend it to everyone. Her willingness (and forthrightness) in admitting to and exploring her complicated views on history and America in general would definitely be a turn off for a certain segment of the population. Even some people who share Vowell's love of history might balk at her salty language, liberal ideals, and irreverent treatment of subjects that are usually considered too sacrosanct to be mocked or even questioned. However, for people who don't mind (or revel in) a heaping helping of irreverence mixed in with their history and pop culture, "The Partly Cloudy Patriot" definitely deserves a place on the "To Be Read" list.
  • (4/5)
    More empathetic than her other works of genius with the result of knowing and caring about her even more, like looking in her lunchbox and finding a Diary instead of a Moleskin. Life is funny, the world ain't, works for her.
  • (3/5)
    This collection of essays was mostly "meh" for me. I love Vowell's writing, her humor, and her enthusiasm for history, and I continue to feel that we would be great friends if we were ever to meet it (stalkerish as that sounds), but this book just didn't do it for me the same way that Assassination Vacation and The Wordy Shipmates did. These essays lack a cohesive theme, although they are all tangentially about patriotism, but that proves to be a nebulous topic. Some of the essays are strong; in particular, the title essay, about Vowell's reaction to the remaking of the American political landscape after September 11th, is great. The majority of the essays, however, are lackluster, boring, and not that funny. It's an average book, and from Ms. Vowell, average is a great disappointment. Three stars, mostly for the excellent title essay.
  • (4/5)
    I didn't like this book at all at first. Vowell struck me as just another self-centered Friends wannabe. But as I read on, I grew to love her passion for her country and her world.
  • (3/5)
    This was okay. She gets on my nerves.
  • (5/5)
    I saw Ms. Vowell on The Rachel Maddow show recently and immediately knew I had to read a book of hers. There was just something about her super smart, spunky attitude that intrigued me. This book was no disapointment. It's wonderful. That same smart-ass attitude couple with real smarts comes across perfectly. The book reminds me of the tv show, Seinfeld. It's a book about nothing, yet it's really about everything.
  • (4/5)
    I love Sarah Vowell's literary voice. I really enjoyed her dry humor in each and every one of her anecdotes about everything from history, to politics, to life experiences as a twin.
  • (5/5)
    Sarah Vowell is one of my favorite writers. Her essays are hilarious in the deadest of deadpan, and yet still deeply moving.
  • (3/5)
    Sarah Vowell's essays about our country, our history, and our culture are witty and insightful. I liked some better than others. Particular favorites were "Ike Was a Handsome Man" about presidential libraries and "Rosa Parks, C'est Moi" about some people's audacity to compare themselves to Rosa Parks. Reading this book made me want to travel all around the country and visit national parks and small museums about very specific histories.
  • (5/5)
    A collection of Sarah Vowell’s amusing and inspiring essays about patriotism, its good and bad sides.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book a lot. I've been a Sarah Vowell fan for a number of years, having first heard her reading her own stories on NPR's This American Life. Her unusual voice and slight lisp give her a distinctive sound that somehow endears me to her words even more.In reading these essays and short stories about life in America, I frequently found myself chuckling out loud and thinking about my own take on what it means to be a citizen in this vast and varied country. I especially appreciate Ms. Vowell's ability to cherish her iron-clad, lefty convictions, while writing with love and tenderness about family members whose convictions land solidly on the other end of nearly every spectrum. It takes a person of strength and humility to accept and even love people whose views fight against your own at every turn.I didn't love every piece in this book, but I enjoyed most of them a great deal. Also, I loved that each essay was a bite-sized morsel, easily polished off on the train to and from work. It's so satisfying to read something to the point of completion, without the mental, emotional, or time commitment of more than 45 minutes at a shot.Give Sarah Vowell a try. You'll like her!
  • (5/5)
    I've enjoying the work of Vowell lately. It's fun to back and listen to her PRI broadcasts on This American Life.
  • (5/5)
    i love it! here voice is so distinct and on target!
  • (5/5)
    Witty musings on politics, history, and patriotism from This American Life darling Sarah Vowell. Sarah Vowell is the closest to a female David Sedaris I've found thus far; it's as though someone took David Sedaris's self-deprecating wit, mixed it with Eddie Izzard's knowledge of history, and then set the combination loose on your average band geek. Or something. I love Sarah Vowell's extreme nerdiness, and this was a very enjoyable book.