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Monday, February 8, 2010

She Waxes Patriotic

The Partly Cloudy Patriot

by Sarah Vowell

genre: collection of essays

Sarah Vowell, sporting a voice like no other, has a passion for history and civic life to rival the greatest sports fan. In this collection of essays she takes us through a wide range of clever thoughts on patriotism, history and individual involvement in the political atmosphere. She takes time to delve deep into subjects such as what it means to be patriotic even when you extremely dislike (to put it lightly) the President (George W Bush at the time of writing) or musing on her almost macabre delight in vacationing at historical sites of mass death or political assassinations.

I am no history buff. Sarah Vowell's utter love of the subject draws me in and makes me start making lists of places to see or books to read. This of course I may not ever accomplish, and yet to even get me excited enough to believe I will takes a great amount of conviction. And she's got it. I love reading her because she uses dry wit and clever thought process while making parallels with pop culture icons like Revenge of the Nerds or Buffy the Vampire Slayer so that even the layest of lay people can get where she's coming from. No dry history or sociopolitical text book is this.

Pick it up for a delightful, if short, read. Or better yet, get it on audio and enjoy the unique quality of her only slightly grating voice. The cool thing about her audio versions is that she employs people like Conan O'Brien, Stephen Colbert, They Might Be Giants, Michael Chabon.

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