RBHolb, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by RBHolb)
Some of the essays were very good. A few of the contributions raised my eyebrows: Could they not find a capable writer who spent more than a fortnight in South Dakota? Was Anthony Bourdain really a good choice for New Jersey? Why does everything written about Minnesota have to pay homage to Garrison Keillor?
Matthew Silva, September 27, 2008 (view all comments by Matthew Silva)
An absolutely fabulous book. 50 essays by 50 writers, each writer tackling a different state. The roll call or writers who showed up for this anthology is impressive: Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, William T. Vollman, Rick Moody, Lydia Millet, Kevin Brockmeier, Jhumpa Lahari, and SE Hinton just to name a few. Some of the essays are written by natives of the state and some are by folks who have spent a good amount of time there, but almost without exception, each essay shines. Also includes a conversation with Edward P. Jones on Washington, D.C. This is just a wonderful book and a great way to take a cheap trip across our varied nation. Highly recommended for everyone.
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by Entertainment Weekly,
"This eclectic collection of essays describing the ordinary people and places within our 50 states is as essential as the Rand McNally atlas....Alternately brash and bashful...each literary foray in State by State is well worth the trip. (Grade: A)"
by Los Angeles Times,
"In its personalized way, State by State is an antidote to the oversimplifying red state/blue state rubric....Odds are, reading State by State, that you'll fall for every state a little."
by Chicago Tribune,
"The WPA state guides of the 1930s were intended to 'describe America to Americans' and inspired this wonderful collection of original pieces by 50 writers on the 50 states. No usual suspects here, no sloppy nostalgia....Take this book to the road."
by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
"An intriguing literary collage of personal histories, observations and explorations....[T]he one defining theme of State by State is that, despite the big box stores, the endless stretches of chain restaurants and fast food joints and the dumbing down of culture, the country retains its stubborn, often vibrant tendency toward individuality."
by Library Journal,
"Readers with an interest in the endless variety of attitudes, lifestyles, viewpoints, and experiences to be found across America will enjoy this work."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"This ambitious effort features a terrific roster of writers and arrives just in time for the November elections."
by Seattle Post-Intelligencer,
"This fascinating collection, inspired by WPA guides in the 1930s and 1940s, includes original essays on each of the states by some of the country's finest (mostly younger) writers."
by The Oklahoman,
"An interesting read....The book is touted as having some wonderful surprises. Indeed, it does."
by J.R. Moehringer, New York Times Book Review,
"A funny, moving, rousing collection, greater than the sum of its excellent parts, a convention of literary superdelegates."
by Harper Collins,
“A funny, moving, rousing collection, greater than the sum of its excellent 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 Washington, D.C.) 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, S.E. Hinton, Dave Eggers, Myla Goldberg, Rick Moody, and Alexander Payne. Inspired by the Depression-era WPA guides and awarded an “A” grade by Entertainment Weekly, these delightful essays on the American character deliver “the full plumage of American life, in all its riotous glory” (The New Yorker).
by Harper Collins,
From the bestselling editors of The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup comes an American road trip in book form: original writing on all 50 states by 50 of our finest novelists, journalists, and essayists
Inspired by the example of the legendary WPA American Guide series of the 1930s and '40s, now 50 of our foremost writers have produced original pieces of reportage and memoir that capture the 50 states in our time, creating a fresh portrait of America as it lives and breathes today.
At turns poignant and funny, and always insightful, these 50 writers tell us something lasting and revealing about each state through personal memory or contemporary reporting that captures the essential qualities that make each state its own. With an array of revealing facts and figures comparing the 50 states in a range of surprising measures (toothlessness, military enlistment, suicide), State by State is more than an anthology: It is a classic American road movie in book form.
Featuring original writing on all fifty states
Alabama by George Packer Alaska by Paul Greenberg Arizona by Lydia Millet Arkansas by Kevin Brockmeier California by William T. Vollmann Colorado by Benjamin Kunkel Connecticut by Rick Moody Delaware by Craig Taylor Florida by Joshua Ferris Georgia by Ha Jin Hawaii by Tara Bray Smith Idaho by Anthony Doerr Illinois by Dave Eggers Indiana by Susan Choi Iowa by Dagoberto Gilb Kansas by Jim Lewis Kentucky by John Jeremiah Sullivan Louisiana by Joshua Clark Maine by Heidi Julavits Maryland by Myla Goldberg Massachusetts by John Hodgman Michigan by Mohammed Naseehu Ali Minnesota by Philip Connors Mississippi by Barry Hannah Missouri by Jacki Lyden Montana by Sarah Vowell Nebraska by Alexander Payne Nevada by Charles Bock New Hampshire by Will Blythe New Jersey by Anthony Bourdain New Mexico by Ellery Washington New York by Jonathan Franzen North Carolina by Randall Kenan North Dakota by Louise Erdrich Ohio by Susan Orlean Oklahoma by S.E. Hinton Oregon by Joe Sacco Pennsylvania by Andrea Lee Rhode Island by Jhumpa Lahiri South Carolina by Jack Hitt South Dakota by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh Tennessee by Ann Patchett Texas by Cristina Henríquez Utah by David Rakoff Vermont by Alison Bechdel Virginia by Tony Horwitz Washington by Carrie Brownstein West Virginia by Jayne Anne Phillips Wisconsin by Daphne Beal Wyoming by Alexandra Fuller
and an afterword on Washington, D.C.: A Conversation with Edward P. Jones
by Harper Collins,
See America with 50 of Our Finest, Funniest, and Foremost Writers Anthony Bourdain chases the fumigation truck in Bergen County, New Jersey
Dave Eggers tells it straight: Illinois is Number 1
Louise Erdrich loses her bikini top in North Dakota
Jonathan Franzen gets waylaid by New York's publicist...and personal attorney...and historian...and geologist
John Hodgman explains why there is no such thing as a "Massachusettsean"
Edward P. Jones makes the case: D.C. should be a state!
Jhumpa Lahiri declares her reckless love for the Rhode Island coast
Rick Moody explores the dark heart of Connecticut's Merritt Parkway, exit by exit
Ann Patchett makes a pilgrimage to the Civil War site at Shiloh, Tennessee
William T. Vollmann visits a San Francisco S&M club and Many More!
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.