The Partly Cloudy Patriot - Sarah Vowell
(Also recommended by Dr. Holt via Robyn)
Vowell's first book (see my earlier post) was more about her life and less about politics. This one is more about politics, although not every essay is, either. This book also had more shorter essays—some only two pages long. There are essays about the 2000 election, attending George W.'s inauguration in order to boo, why Al Gore should have embraced his nerd-self. There are also essays about the lunchroom 750 feet underground at the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Tom Cruise in Magnolia (which I didn't agree with, but never mind that), and what it's like being a twin. She talks a little bit about Canadians, and about various history-related tourist activities she's participated in. I don't agree with everything Vowell writes, but she makes a lot of good points about politics and government. If you're the sort of person who automatically dismisses somebody because she's a liberal atheistic Democrat, then this book is probably not for you. On the other hand, she would probably automatically dismiss you, too: my biggest objection is that, although she generally seems fairly intelligent and rational, she also can be quite partisan. She applauds Letterman for saying he was neither a Democrat or a Republican, but an American, yet it appears that she herself is a Democrat first, American second.

My favorite essay was probably "The Nerd Voice." If you were (or still are) a nerd, you'd appreciate this, whether or not you voted for Gore. And in "The Strenuous Life," there's a little anecdote her dad shares that is truly priceless.

Fed to jonathan's brain | March 11, 2003