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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America

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Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America Cover

ISBN13: 9780142180648
ISBN10: 0142180645
Condition: Standard
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Staff Pick

Going Somewhere is an adventure, a love story, and an utterly addictive read. Benson's tale of crossing the country by bike with his girlfriend might make you think twice about making the same journey, but you won't be able to tear yourself away from this sharp-eyed, hilarious memoir.
Recommended by Josephine, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Brian has a million vague life plans but zero sense of direction. So when he meets Rachel, a self-possessed woman who daydreams of bicycling across the States, he decides to follow her wherever she'll take him. Brian and Rachel soon embark on a ride from northern Wisconsin to Somewhere West, infatuated with the promise of adventure and each other. But as the pair progress from the Northwoods into the bleak western plains, they begin to discover the messy realities of life on the road. Mile by mile, they contend with merciless winds and brutal heat, broken bikes and bodies, each other and themselves — and the looming question of what comes next. Told in a voice "as hilarious as it is wise" (Cheryl Strayed), Going Somewhere is a candid tale of the struggle to move forward.

Review:

"Two young lovers pedal fractiously into the sunset in this charming but callow memoir. Recently out of college, Benson set out with his girlfriend Rachel to bicycle from his home in Wisconsin to her home in Portland, Ore., partly as a lark and partly to impose a solid vector on his feckless life. His travelogue is vibrant and engrossing, with wonderful portraits of Western landscapes and scruffy small towns, Job-like ordeals of gusty headwinds and breakdowns, and piquant portraits of kindly, parental folks who offer the cyclists food and shelter and another of a menacing drifter on a dark road. The journey feels less compelling when the author makes it a template for the progress of the couple's relationship. Benson's giddy infatuation — they start out 'looking at each other with twinkling eyes, as if one of had just told the other 'I love you' for the first time' — sours into an equally immature resentment of Rachel's slow pace and her unexcited knitting at day's end while he rhapsodizes over the scenery; 'how awesome it is not to have to compromise with your girlfriend,' he muses during a day-long separation. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Brian Benson's memoir about riding from the hinterlands of Wisconsin to Portland, Oregon on his bicycle is as poignant as it is gripping, as hilarious as it is wise. Going Somewhere is a tender, sexy, take-it-with-you-everywhere-you-go-until-you've-read-the-last-page beauty of a book.” Cheryl Strayed, New York Times bestselling author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Review:

"Irresistible....Let's hope Benson has more travels in mind. He is a gifted writer, an observant human with an eye for the telling detail and how to tell it." Booklist

Synopsis:

Brian Benson has a million life-plans but no sense of direction. So when he meets and falls for Rachel, he's ready to go wherever she'll take him. In a whirlwind of new love, they embark on a bicycle trip from northern Wisconsin to western Oregon. As the pair progress through stunning landscapes, they contend with merciless winds, vivid characters, broken bikes and bodies — and the looming question of what comes next.

Funny, reflective, and candid, Going Somewhere invites bike enthusiasts, twenty-somethings, and armchair travelers alike to join Brian as he learns, mile by mile, how to move forward.

About the Author

Brian Benson grew up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. He now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches writing at the Attic Institute. This is his first book.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

joseph.jindrich, July 31, 2014 (view all comments by joseph.jindrich)
Seminal piece of the Millennial generation! A view inside the brain, relationship, and cycling experience of an incredibly witty, hyper-aware, delightfully indecisive twenty-something chasing something. I could not put it down, it belongs in the upper crust of all the other page turning fun memoirs that have surprised me in the past. Will I re-read it? I generally don’t re-read books, except for maybe this one… and online reviews? I’ve never posted an online review… I’ve always wondered who posted them anyways… (I’ve always been a bit of review ‘freeloader’… ) I now know, it’s either a) someone’s job, or b) your average arm-chair adventurer, like myself, who are moved and touched and that somehow morphed into motivation which ultimately led me to write a review of this book. Benson has this ability to describe indescribably hilarious things, from what his parents dumb golden retriever is thinking, to harnessing the points of joy when he achieves micro-victories on the bike and with Rachel, his lover/road partner. He also captures the moments of disappointment and anxiety felt when the reality of the ride and the reality of his relationship with Rachel does not meet the framed vision formulated in his mind… His way of writing is so incredibly open and honest and the depth of what he shares… I came away feeling like this guy shared EVERYTHING, and I related to it all… well, I’ve never biked half-way across a continent, I’m sure most of you haven’t either, but don’t worry, he explains all that techno-bike-babble stuff along the way. This book is symbolic of many of the trials and tribulations many of us senior members of the millennial generation have undergone. Especially in regards to the want for genuine, organically created adventure in both our relationships and on machines like a road bike. It is a must-read for those of you who have ever dreamt of going on an adventure without a destination. Check it out, it will not disappoint!
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Collin Chesston, July 13, 2014 (view all comments by Collin Chesston)
Smart, honest, and hilarious, GOING SOMEWHERE is a book about a bike trip that's more than a book about a bike trip. Benson's sharp wit and clear gift for critical reflection add layers of depth and interest to a storyline that otherwise could easily be rather dull. An impressive piece of work, and one of my favorite books of the year.
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Jessica Harrison, June 30, 2014 (view all comments by Jessica Harrison)
I have a chronic case of wanderlust, so GOING SOMEWHERE was an easy choice for me and a relatable read the whole way through. Brian writes with wit and honesty, showing us a twentysomething's open-hearted tenderness. I, too, hail from Wisconsin, have adopted the West my home-away-from-home, and have traveled a handful of times (by car) the distance between the two.

Imagining myself along similar roads traveled, Brian's landscape descriptions trump anything stored in my memory. His writing is stunning, easily transporting the reader to Midwestern lake-chains, peaceful Northwoods, and formidable mountain ranges. Just as the reader settles into the dreamy magic of Brian's cross-country travel, he introduces the brutal headwind, which sets the tone for much of the journey (and convinced me that Westbound travel on bike is frankly unreasonable).

Brian also dares to tell us, via self-depricating stories and a healthy dose of profanity, the challenges of traveling in often unforgiving conditions: on-road ruptures with his girlfriend-travel-companion, lost chocolate, equipment malfunctions, and familiar, tough questions about life's many paths and where to go from here.

Throughout the book, I was inspired by the genuine goodness and generosity Brian encountered across the land--an important reminder in today's fear-oriented culture and a message I will take to heart. Overall, GOING SOMEWHERE is a beautiful portal to believing it IS possible (but take note: it will probably be easier if you work your way East).
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780142180648
Author:
Benson, Brian
Publisher:
Plume Books
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20140731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.51 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Featured Titles » Bestsellers
Featured Titles » Biography
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » New Arrivals » Nonfiction
Featured Titles » Staff Favorites
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Bicycling » General
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Bicycling » Touring
Travel » Travel Writing » General

Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Plume Books - English 9780142180648 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Going Somewhere is an adventure, a love story, and an utterly addictive read. Benson's tale of crossing the country by bike with his girlfriend might make you think twice about making the same journey, but you won't be able to tear yourself away from this sharp-eyed, hilarious memoir.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Two young lovers pedal fractiously into the sunset in this charming but callow memoir. Recently out of college, Benson set out with his girlfriend Rachel to bicycle from his home in Wisconsin to her home in Portland, Ore., partly as a lark and partly to impose a solid vector on his feckless life. His travelogue is vibrant and engrossing, with wonderful portraits of Western landscapes and scruffy small towns, Job-like ordeals of gusty headwinds and breakdowns, and piquant portraits of kindly, parental folks who offer the cyclists food and shelter and another of a menacing drifter on a dark road. The journey feels less compelling when the author makes it a template for the progress of the couple's relationship. Benson's giddy infatuation — they start out 'looking at each other with twinkling eyes, as if one of had just told the other 'I love you' for the first time' — sours into an equally immature resentment of Rachel's slow pace and her unexcited knitting at day's end while he rhapsodizes over the scenery; 'how awesome it is not to have to compromise with your girlfriend,' he muses during a day-long separation. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Brian Benson's memoir about riding from the hinterlands of Wisconsin to Portland, Oregon on his bicycle is as poignant as it is gripping, as hilarious as it is wise. Going Somewhere is a tender, sexy, take-it-with-you-everywhere-you-go-until-you've-read-the-last-page beauty of a book.” Cheryl Strayed, New York Times bestselling author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
"Review" by , "Irresistible....Let's hope Benson has more travels in mind. He is a gifted writer, an observant human with an eye for the telling detail and how to tell it."
"Synopsis" by , Brian Benson has a million life-plans but no sense of direction. So when he meets and falls for Rachel, he's ready to go wherever she'll take him. In a whirlwind of new love, they embark on a bicycle trip from northern Wisconsin to western Oregon. As the pair progress through stunning landscapes, they contend with merciless winds, vivid characters, broken bikes and bodies — and the looming question of what comes next.

Funny, reflective, and candid, Going Somewhere invites bike enthusiasts, twenty-somethings, and armchair travelers alike to join Brian as he learns, mile by mile, how to move forward.

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