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Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads: The Partly Cloudy Patriot

Thu, 09/07/2006 - 10:35am by amy

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This is one of three titles under consideration for this year's Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads, which will focus on We The People… - the many people that we are, the diverse communities we have created, and the challenges we face in fostering a continuing sense of belonging and civic engagement in a rapidly changing world.

Sarah Vowell travels through the American past and, in doing so, investigates the dusty, bumpy roads of her own life. In this insightful and funny collection of personal stories Vowell — widely hailed for her inimitable narratives on public radio's This American Life — 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?

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

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.

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