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State by State (Book and DVD Set)
Synopses & Reviews
In association with Powell's Books, Out of the Book Films presents State by State, based on the 2008 collection edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey. Screenings will be held in cities and towns across America during the weeks leading up to the 2008 election.
Out of the Book, State by State stars 19 of the book's contributors: Daphne Beal, Alison Bechdel, Will Blythe, Charles Bock, Anthony Bourdain, Susan Choi, Joshua Ferris, Dagoberto Gilb, Myla Goldberg, Paul Greenberg, John Hodgman, Heidi Julavits, Rick Moody, Susan Orlean, David Rakoff, Said Sayrafiezadeh, Ellery Washington, Matt Weiland, and Sean Wilsey.
"As the election approaches, nothing could please us more than to see communities gather around America to share their ideas about what this country is today and what it still can be." Michael Powell, president and founder of Powell's Books
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.
"State by State, the movie, is the most ambitious and successful of the three productions by Out of the Book, the movie-making division of Powell's Books. It is a perfect complement to Wilsey and Matt Weiland's anthology.... State by State contributors John Hodgman (Massachusetts) and Anthony Bourdain (New Jersey) are TV veterans, and Charles Bock (Nevada) and Heidi Julavits (Maine) combined their natural storytelling skills with comic timing. Julavits' lament about how people in Maine don't acknowledge outsiders and are reluctant to issue marriage licenses to anyone who hasn't lived there for generations is priceless." Jeff Baker, The Oregonian
"This informative and fun documentary...showcases a recent night in New York City when 19 of today's finest writers gathered to drink beer and, more important, read aloud their contributions to a new book of essays on each of the 50 states." Very Short List
"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." Los Angeles Times
"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." Chicago Tribune
"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)" Entertainment Weekly
"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." Seattle Post-Intelligencer
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!
About the Author
Matt Weiland is the Deputy Editor of the Paris Review. He has been an editor at Granta, the Baffler and the New Press, and he oversaw a documentary radio unit at NPR. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, New York Observer, the Nation and the New Republic. He is the co-editor, with Sean Wilsey, of The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup and, with Thomas Frank, of Commodify Your Dissent: The Business of Culture in the New Gilded Age. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.
Sean Wilsey is the author of Oh the Glory of It All, a memoir. He is also an Editor-at-Large for McSweeney's, and the co-editor, with Matt Weiland, of The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup.
Table of Contents
Preface by Matt Weiland
Introduction by Sean Wilsey
The 50 States:
Afterword on Washington, D.C.: A Conversation with Edward P. Jones
The 50 States in Numbers:
About the Contributors
What Our Readers Are Saying
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