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Thors some familiar with the state about Which They Were Writing Some they were writing some but I think the book succeeds the most when like Doerr and Phillips the author has a personal connectionWhen they don t the results tend to be disastrous Said Sayrafiezadeh reprehensible remarks on South Dakota these amount to I m from the Lower East Side of Manhattan with annoying dietary restrictions a stick up my ass and no knowledge of the state I am visiting detract from the few out of state authors who are actually able to pull off thoughtful ssays But New York unfortunately hovers over Far Too Much Of This too much of this the Contributors Notes list a staggering 15 15 authors living in the Empire State and perhaps whose residences aren t listed Maybe only one or two would ve sufficed A Conspiracy of Ravens (Lady Trent Mysteries editors this may come as a shock but much of the country isn t particularly interested in how New Yorkers picturedescribe the places they call home Predictably the onessay actually about New York Jonathan Franzen s mock interview thing is kind of irritating and forgettableBut these are complaints about a book I generally found to be uite njoyable It also serves as a handy reference for state facts want to know the state bird of Arizona The year that Washington was admitted to the union and #read pretty uickly for its considerable page count I was a little disappointed that the two # pretty uickly for its considerable page count I was a little disappointed that the two I cared most to read Pennsylvania and Colorado were a little underwhelming and so I was relieved to see that states I cared about but to a lesser degree Ohio the aforementioned West Virginia were so interesting and memorableRecommended but with a few reservations Y all this book is GREAT I normally don t read things like this so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I njoyed it As you may know the book is a collection of 50 In Pursuit of a Princess essaysach written by a different author and Second Time Loving each focused on a different state I chose to read thessays in the order they appear in the book alphabetical by state and I did so slowly and methodically interspersing my reading with random fiction books as well This is not a book that wants to be plowed through like a cheap paperback It is to be savoredIf you don t believe me when I say this is a great book here are some facts to illustrate my point I m resorting to a list because I cannot seem to structure a well crafted or hell ven a crappily crafted paragraph today1 About half of the ssays read less like informative collections of facts or the history of the states and like love stories to those states I LOVE these Dark Awakening essays I LIKE the other ones but these I adore2 I found myself surprised by which statesssays I Hawks Way (Hawks Way enjoyed and which I thought were just ho hum I mean Idaho and Nebraska and North Dakota Really I ve never thought much about those places and now I totally want to go to them3 I have been carrying this book around in my purse despite the fact that it is a close to 600 page hardback book4 As I was digging around in my purse yesterday for my checkbook so that I could pay my therapist a man in his late 50 s I took the book out and he immediately said Oh That s a GREAT book We then chatted for a bit about which were our favoritessays and found that we preferred completely different ones This tells me that a you don t have to have the same taste as me to appreciate it and b it defies gender and age categorization 5 Few of us will actually get to know all 50 states in our lifetimes and this book allows us to do a bit of armchair traveling6 When I first received this book in the mail I figured I d read it and then offer to pass it along to the first person who wanted it Now though I ve realized that I don t want to do this I want this book on my shelf I want to be able to pick it back up again and re read it or at least re read certain parts And Alexander Payne Inspired by the Depression Family Men era WPA guides and awarded an “A” grade by Entertainment Weekly these delightfulssays on the American character deliver “the full plumage of American life in all its riotous glory” The New Yorker. State by State is a collection OF 50 ESSAYS EACH BY A 50 Creative Participation essaysach by a author Sabina Spielrein each about a different state The project was inspired by the WPA American guide series from the 1930s and thessays range in style from memoir to travel Cognitive Radio Networks essay to historicalssay Some of the writers have always lived in the state they write about some have never lived there and some have lived there for part of their lives but they all have something to say about it I was partial to the Personnel Management in Government essays that were about a particular aspect of a state like Joshua Ferris on playing in the water working in diners as a kid in Key West Florida Tara Bray Smith on the island of Ni ihau in Hawaii where only Native Hawaiians the Robinson brothers live and Charles Bock on growing up around his parent s pawn shop in downtown Las Vegas I thought Dave Eggersssay on Illinois was hilarious and I really like the way Alison Bechdel draws so her graphic treatment of Vermont was fun for me B Yes Well I didn t read the whole thing I ll take the credit just the same You wanna fight about itI was only interested in the little piece Vollmann has in here about California And it s betitled California not San in the little piece Vollmann has in here about California And it s betitled California not San as Hemmingson unfortunately mistitles it in William T Vollmann An Annotated Bibliography Hemmingson s description is almost Out of This World entirely wrong WTVxpounds on California and a San Francisco SM brothel he visits The Time It Never Rained essaying on the nature of pain and sexual freedom one section where he visits a performance at an SM club and hessays on the right to consensual activities The following section begins SF like other American cities utilizes various invisibles for instance the Salvadoran day laborer Alex who for ten dollars
spoke to me in a mixture of English and Spanish Hemmingson s to me in a mixture of English and Spanish Hemmingson s bibliography needs to be thoroughly reworked The Child of the Soul and Other Stories expanded and reissued the pagecitation for the How You Are publishedxcerpt is also ridiculously wrongAt any rate this little thing fourteen pages will slip in very nicely among the pages of Imperial a few paragraphs Childrens Phantasies even being familiar from that text State By Stateditors Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey had a neat idea here Inspired by the state guides produced by the Federal Writers Project in the 1930s Weiland and Wilse I was not aware of this book when it was published in 2008 but am really glad to have stumbled across it now working back from the ssay on New York contributed by Jonathan Franzen and republished in his 2012 collection Farther Away It s clever but others in the book are ually good or better State by State was inspired by a Depression The Soviet Union era series the Works Progress Administration hired unemployed authors to write volumes onach of the then 48 states This time it s a private venture in one volume but it s a treasure trove of Gods and Heroes essays by a diverse crew of writers including William T Vollman California Dave Eggers Illinois Ha Jin Georgia Jacki Lyden Missouri Louise Erdrich North Dakota and Alison Bechdel Vermont one of twontries in the form of comics just to name a few The author list is overweighted with residents of New York City and contributors to This American Life but any collection of 50 odd Science, Technology and Culture essays is likely be skewed somehow Collecti Definitely a mixed bag as you canxpect from an No Beast So Fierce essay collection formed from the do whatever you want direction but the concept and high points make the whole thing just awesome This book is an anthology of 50 different writersach writing a non fiction piece about thier impressions of one of the 50 states Normally this kind of book is right up my alley i love travel writing I get to visit intersting and xotic places wo the horror of travelers diarrhea haha But this book not so much On the plus side the wirters were all very different some were natives of the state some just passi. “A funny moving rousing collection greater than the sum of its xcellent parts” New York Times Book Review Edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey State by State is a panoramic portrait of America and an appreciation of all fifty states and Washingto. .
Ng through some like oregon and vermont were written in comic book format it was interesting it held my attention BUT I think Last Chance Bride every single one of them left me feeling depressed not sure why Maybe I m just projecting but it seemed the one thing the writers had in common was a rather bleak worldview Instead of making me want to plan a road trip I wound up thinkingmaybe i ll just lay on the couch with the dog and watch a movie Someone reviewed this as being written by authors native toach state and that is not the case which is perhaps the problem Another problem is that you can t find 50 Dave Eggers or Susan Orleans so you get some states with less than stellar or lazy writers Of the states I read Ohio and Illinois were lovelywell written with genuine love for the state as well as facts and information Iowa s Whos Cheatin Who? (Thoroughbred Legacy essay my native state was written by someone who didn t seem to know anything about Iowa I think he was just visiting For instance how could you be in Iowa and have to LEARN the difference between field corn and sweet corn That s something Iowans are born knowing Just kidding but really come on Anyone at University of Iowa s writers school surely could have written something much much better Michigan sssay was sweet but written by someone who had only lived there a few years of his life It s going to hard for me to assess this book without sounding too gushing because it s probably my favorite book of the last year or two favorite is not to be confused with the best which it isn t If you feel ahistorical and disconnected from America and what it means and used to mean this book will change that at least temporarily and reintroduce you to the impossible America of literature Reading it is like going on the Great American Road Trip you never Took With Lots Of Wonderful Lyrical Descriptions with lots of wonderful
descriptions telling It made me want to go pick up the old WPA guides to the states and dig through old issues of Life magazine and hop a boxcar to South Dakota not necessarily in that order Some other thoughts 1 I wish that of the Lawman Lover (Outlaws, essays were written by people who still lived in the states they wrote about It seems likevery third City Girl in Training essay is written by someone who lives in New York City and something feels wrong about a bunch of hip New York authors trying to capture the soul of the American heartlandven if it is where they grew up 2 There is very little about the real population centers of the country in here As in the Senate the Mystery at Kittiwake Bay emptier states get disproportionate weight andven the chapters about the populous states focus on the Dangerous Waters (Cold Case Files emptier parts I m fine with this because it s not as though LA or New York or Miami is suffering from a lack of attention and most people reading this book are going to be coastal urbanite yuppies anyway 3 This book reminded me for the first time in a long time of just how important and mythic the Mississippi River used to be 4 The California Illinois Iowa Maine Massachusetts South Carolina chapters were my favorites A predictably mixed bag such is always the case with multiple author collections like this based on an outstanding concept State by State A Panoramic Portrait of America provides 50 statessays think micro versions of the WPA guides from #50 Authors Plus A Tacked On And Boring Conversation With # authors plus a tacked on and boring conversation with P Jones about Washington DCSome are breathtaking homages to states that perhaps don t get the attention they deserve Anthony Doerr s phenomenal The Husband (Smytheshire, Massachusetts, essay on Idaho perhaps the best in thentire collection brings in not only the state s history but his history with it as well Jayne Anne Phillips an author I ve not read but will soon gives a similarly stellar treatment of her home state West Virginia I admire the fact that the ditors attempted to bring in a varied collection of au. N DC by fifty one of the most acclaimed writers in the nation Contributors include renowned and bestselling authors such as Louise Erdrich Jonathan Franzen Ann Patchett Anthony Bourdain William T Vollmann SE Hinton Dave Eggers Myla Goldberg Rick Moody.lyrical descriptions telling