I just finished Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell.
I’ve been looking forward to this book ever since Stanek pointed me at The Partly Cloudy Patriot.
In PCP, Vowell combined a quirky sense of humor, tourism, and history lessons to produce a funny, yet thought-provoking read. It’s the kind of book that makes you laugh at exactly how silly and strangely loveable the culture you grew up in can be.
Vowell continues that tradition in Assassination Vacation. She points out all the little silly, and often sad, bits of our history. As she talks, you don’t get the sense that she’s talking like your old history teacher; instead, you’re left with the impression that she’s a tourist and pilgrim.
In a way, she reminds me of a lot of people in Italy: One of the things that struck me about Italy was that completely random people knew lots of local history. And not only did they know it, they were eager to share it. They could expound on thousands of years of history, that happened right in the town where they live and work. Really, if there’s any single reason to read Assassination Vacation, it’s that it’s delightful to see someone so excited to know completely arcane trivia.
I love Sarah Vowell! I’m reading The Partly Cloudy Patriot right now. She reminds me of me.
your memories of Italy just reminded me of the guy dunk & i hitched a ride with to get to the Musee d’Art Moderne in St. Etienne, in the south of France back in ’01. he was all excited to tell us about the history of the city & that it used to be a great coal-mining town (you’d never have guessed to look at it). it was utterly facinating – thanks for reminding me!
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