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State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of…

State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America (edition 2009)

by Matt Weiland (Editor), Sean Wilsey

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4321136,701 (3.74)7
Title:State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America
Authors:Matt Weiland
Other authors:Sean Wilsey
Info:Ecco (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 608 pages
Collections:Currently reading

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State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America by Matt Weiland (Editor)



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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
looks like fun for GR Group: Fans of Maps maybe

Low star rating is my personal opinion. I found these essays mostly instantly forgettable - the states I am familiar with, I barely recognized. Also, too many selections were personal memoirs - exploring a particular experience at a particular time in the past, and saying nothing about the character of the state itself. Of the others, the majority were less personal memoirs... iow, the authors of those tried to speak to some ongoing characteristic of the state. And some of the tidbits were just plain wrong, for example claiming Utah's Spiral Jetty is visible from space." Sure, from LEO with a powerful telescope... "visible from space" is meaningless, even applied to something much more imposing, for example the Great Wall (look it up).

I opine that the most interesting thing was in the back, the 30 lists, of, for example, Roller Coasters per Capita, Violent Crime Rate, and Incarceration Rate... lists 18, 19, and 20 respectively... and I wonder why the second two don't align more closely than they do...." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
I loved this book. There are some fantastic essays in this collection---and a few bad ones---and the roll call of writers who participated in this anthology is impressive: S.E. Hinton, Sara Vowell, Tony Horowitz, George Packer, Kevin Brockmeier, Lydia Millet, William T. Vollman, Ha Jin, Rick Moody, Anthony Doerr, Dave Eggers, Jon Franzen, Jhumpa Lahiri and more than 35 others. Each author takes a different state and contributes a piece of writing about that state. Some of the writers were born in the state, some just visit or have spent time there. A great way to take a cross country trip without paying thousands of dollars. ( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
This collection of essays is a brilliant summer read. Short essays are digestible in between jaunts into the lake or the ocean, and a handful of them are laugh-out-loud funny. A few are lame (editors: you found a native North Dakotan and you couldn't find a native Texan??), and some are outstanding (Anthony Bourdain's New Jersey kicks all the other states' butts). I feel like I took a great road trip without having to drive through that boring-and-terrifying-all-at-once stretch of Pennsylvania with no gas stations and foresty hills hiding deer that want to jump in front of your car. ( )
  bexaplex | Jul 9, 2013 |
I was not aware of this book when it was published in 2008, but am really glad to have stumbled across it now, working back from the essay on New York contributed by Jonathan Franzen and republished in his 2012 collection, Farther Away. It's clever, but others in the book are equally good, or better. State by State was inspired by a Depression-era series; the Works Progress Administration hired unemployed authors to write volumes on each of the (then 48) states. This time, it's a private venture, in one volume, but it's a treasure trove of essays by a diverse crew of writers, including William T. Vollman (California), Dave Eggers (Illinois), Ha Jin (Georgia), Jacki Lyden (Missouri), Louise Erdrich (North Dakota), and Alison Bechdel (Vermont, one of two entries in the form of comics), just to name a few. The author list is overweighted with residents of New York City and contributors to This American Life, but any collection of 50-odd essays is likely be skewed somehow. Collectively, the essays do a good job of reflecting the experiences of long-term residents, immigrants, folks who grew up and moved away, and temporary visitors. In some cases, particularly for the most personal essays, I finished an essay thinking, 'well, they spent ten pages on this state and never got out of the main cities', or, 'well, that may be one slice of that state, but it doesn't match my experience there at all' - but that ended up making the essays more rather than less interesting. Other authors make a real effort to survey their states. Some of my favorite contributions included: Dagoberto Gilb (Iowa, with a particular focus on migrant workers in the corn fields); Jack Hitt (South Carolina, on the transformation of Charleston); Randall Kenan (North Carolina, a triptych on pigs); Jhumpa Lahiri (Rhode Island, one immigrant family's experience). Virtually all were worth the time. ( )
  bezoar44 | Mar 31, 2013 |
As with all collections with essays by various authors, the results are somewhat uneven. However, I can’t imagine anyone who lives in or has traveled extensively in the United States not being interested in how the states they have lived in or visited are portrayed. I was thrilled that Anthony Bourdain took on my home state of New Jersey (and did a good job with it), and I thought it fitting that Oregon’s entry was one of the few in the form of a “comic” strip (which prominently featured rain and umbrellas). Looking back now, the essay I remember the most fondly was Dave Eggers’s take on Illinois. Although I read this book straight through, I think the better approach would be to read one or two states a day—or just dip your toes in every so often. In addition to the essays, there are little factoids about each state that were interesting in their own right. ( )
1 vote Jenners26 | Jan 9, 2013 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Weiland, MattEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wilsey, SeanEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Ali, Mohammed NaseehuContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beal, DaphneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bechdel, AlisonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blythe, WillContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bock, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bourdain, AnthonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brockmeier, KevinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brownstein, CarrieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Choi, SusanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clark, JoshuaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Connors, PhilipContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doerr, AnthonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eggers, DaveContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Erdrich, LouiseContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferris, JoshuaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Franzen, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fuller, AlexandraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gilb, DagobertoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goldberg, MylaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Greenberg, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hannah, BarryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Henriquez, CristinaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hinton, S.E.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hitt, JackContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hogdman, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Horwitz, TonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jin, HaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Julavits, HeidiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kenan, RandallContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kunkel, BenjaminContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lahiri, JhumpaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, AndreaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lewis, JimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lyden, JackiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Millet, LydiaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moody, RickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Orlean, SusanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Packer, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Patchett, AnnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Payne, AlexanderContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Phillips, Jayne AnneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rakoff, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sacco, JoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sayrafiezadeh, SaïdContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, Tara BrayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sullivan, John JeremiahContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Taylor, CraigContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vollmann, William T.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vowell, SarahContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Washington, ElleryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061470902, Hardcover)

Editors Sean Wilsey and Matt Weiland have turned to 50 of the finest, funniest, and foremost writers in America to create a state by state celebration of their country: Jonathan Franzen on New York, Louise Erdrich on North Dakota, Dave Eggers on Illinois, Ann Patchett on Tennessee, Jhumpa Lahiri on Rhode Island-the list goes on. At turns poignant and hysterical, and uniformly insightful, these fifty writers capture the beauty, the kitsch, the unexpected and the quintessential things that make America. There is something and someone in "State by State" for everyone. With a roster of bestsellers and award winners, from Ann Patchett to Rick Moody to Myla Goldberg, Wilsey and Weiland have culled the best of the best from the literary creme de la creme to write on something all Americans are interested in: our country.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:06 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The editors of The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup collects original writings on all fifty states by leading novelists, journalists, and essayists, in a volume that includes such examples as Anthony Bourdain on New Jersey, Dave Eggers on Illinois, and Louise Erdrich on North Dakota.… (more)

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