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Lafayette in the Somewhat United States
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States | Sarah Vowell
109 posts | 121 read | 6 reading | 96 to read
From the bestselling author of Assassination Vacation and The Partly Cloudy Patriot, an insightful and unconventional account of George Washington's trusted officer and friend, that swashbuckling teenage French aristocrat the Marquis de Lafayette. Chronicling General Lafayette's years in Washington's army, Vowell reflects on the ideals of the American Revolution versus the reality of the Revolutionary War.Riding shotgun with Lafayette, Vowell swerves from the high-minded debates of Independence Hall to the frozen wasteland of Valley Forge, from bloody battlefields to the Palace of Versailles, bumping into John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Lord Cornwallis, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Antoinette and various kings, Quakers and redcoats along the way. Drawn to the patriots' war out of a lust for glory, Enlightenment ideas and the traditional French hatred for the British, young Lafayette crossed the Atlantic expecting to join forces with an undivided people, encountering instead fault lines between the Continental Congress and the Continental Army, rebel and loyalist inhabitants, and a conspiracy to fire George Washington, the one man holding together the rickety, seemingly doomed patriot cause. While Vowell's yarn is full of the bickering and infighting that marks the American past--and present--her telling of the Revolution is just as much a story of friendship: between Washington and Lafayette, between the Americans and their French allies and, most of all between Lafayette and the American people.Coinciding with one of the most contentious presidential elections in American history, Vowell lingers over the elderly Lafayette's sentimental return tour of America in 1824, when three fourths of the population of New York City turned out to welcome him ashore.As a Frenchman and the last surviving general of the Continental Army, Lafayette belonged to neither North nor South, to no political party or faction.He was a walking, talking reminder of the sacrifices and bravery of the revolutionary generation and what the founders hoped this country could be. His return was not just a reunion with his beloved Americans it was a reunion for Americans with their own astonishing, singular past. Vowell'snarrative look at our somewhat united states ishumorous,irreverentand wholly original.
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k.reads
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Had to visit the U.S.‘s best friend Lafayette on my recent trip to Washington, D.C. after reading this book (twice).

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Mitch
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...when you just buy a book, walk out of the shop and realise you‘re on Lafayette Street! 🤣🤣🤣

82 likes1 stack add
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MaureenMc
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Pickpick

My first Sarah Vowell audiobook! And my first audiobook in years. (I don‘t do audiobooks well, as my mind tends to wander.) I really enjoyed the performances, and the topic was also interesting.

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goodwildfree
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PatienceFortitude
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I‘m reading about Lafayette and the Revolutionary War, and all I can picture is Daveed Diggs from #Hamilton. It‘s not a bad way to experience the book.

17 likes1 stack add
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inthegreensandblues
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#Riotgrams Day 14 - #Audiobooks. Currently 🎧

Kaye Good for you ! Sarah Vowell. I love her audiobooks 1y
8 likes1 comment
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DyAnne
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“That, to me, is the quintessential experience of living in the United States: constantly worrying whether or not the country is about to fall apart.”

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DyAnne
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“The newly dubbed General Lafayette was only nineteen years old. Considering Independence Hall was also where the founders calculated that a slave equals three-fifths of a person and cooked up an electoral college that lets Florida and Ohio pick our presidents, making an adolescent who barely spoke English a major general at the age I got hired to run the cash register at a Portland pizza joint was not the worst decision ever made there.”

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JackOBotts
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“...Levasseur described the newspapers as ‘Arsenal‘s in which one finds weapons of all forms and of all characters, and they all conduct themselves at times in a very discourteous manner.‘” #truestory #themorethingschangethemoretheystaythesame
(Three cheers for outdoor lunchtime reading! 🙌🏼)

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JackOBotts
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1. I think I saw a post from @Liberty ... or maybe @bookriot 🤔
2. I use Goodreads and keep a written list, as well
3. Ummm...absolutely! Though I‘m all for swaps, too.
4. Hope to make some time for the tagged book. I haven‘t made enough time for reading lately, and I‘m going through withdrawal. 🤦🏻‍♀️📚📖🙋🏻‍♀️

@Chellebearss

Chellebearss I‘m having a hard time finding time to read between baseball starting and hockey in playoffs. Trying to read at the same time but I get distracted 2y
44 likes1 comment
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bookwrm526
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Pickpick

I know I‘m late to the party on this one, but it was so good!! Interesting, funny, educational...I love her voice. This is my second of her books and I‘m already looking to get the others. This is my biography/narrative non-fiction for the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge.

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JackOBotts
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Next up! Really looking forward to this. 📖 #Lafayette

Booksnchill Did this on audio- strangely addicted to Sarah Vowell‘s voice!!! 2y
JackOBotts @Booksnchill agree! She has such a great/unique voice...may have to experience some of it via audio. 🎧 2y
45 likes2 comments
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JHgotham
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Sitting at a terrible conference (everything has gone wrong so far on the way here) I‘m just thankful for Libby and my online library 📚

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JackOBotts
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1. Non-fiction exploration of the prolific rapper (lol, just kidding) & his involvement in the American Revolution & resulting “celebrity”.
2. Such a hard call: Twizzlers and Nutrageous (& pretty much all candy known to humankind).
3. I‘m an older Millennial/Gen Y gal.
4. My Medela breast pump; that‘s one way to start the day! 🤱🏻❤️
5. Bday party for my 3 y.o.‘s school mate; relaxing; sorting through baby clothes; “watching” football; reading!

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eraderneely
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Pickpick

The perfect antidote to my last audiobook, this is a delightful romp through Revolutionary War history. Kept me entertained through hours of house cleaning this morning.

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shaynarae
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Have books, will travel #commuterlife

[DELETED] 3803335244 Welcome to Litsy! 2y
shaynarae @ForeverNerdy Thank you! Happy to be here and start getting oriented 🤗 2y
Rcoco How was this? I just started it and I‘m not sure if I am going to get used to her voice. 2y
shaynarae @Rcoco I haven‘t finished it yet, though I‘m close to the end. I don‘t mind her voice, but husband couldn‘t stand it and stopped listening with me after 2 hours. Honestly, it‘s hard for me to follow the story because it doesn‘t really hold my attention. I keep fading in and out. 2y
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lennearb
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Pickpick

Fun, funny, and historically informative.

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Shaunesay
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Like many, Daveed made Lafayette just come alive for me through his portrayal in Hamilton, so of course I had to use his picture to show off my current listen! I'm really enjoying this so far, my first by Sarah Vowell, I'm definitely in for more of her history tellings! Non-Fiction.

Coleen She has a unique voice. I‘ve not read this one yet, but I‘m assuming she narrates? It annoyed me at first, but once I got used to it, I couldn‘t imagine anyone else reading for her. 2y
Shaunesay Yes, she does, with guests doing quotes from the historical figures. She was a little hard to get used to, but I agree, now that I am, I really enjoy her attitude! 2y
Rcoco I‘m not sure if I‘m going to continue listening. Her voice is a little much. But I can‘t wait to see Hamilton and I‘m very intrigued by Lafayette‘s story. Maybe I‘ll get the ebook. 2y
Shaunesay Definitely try the e-book if you just can't take her voice, it is very different to get used to. Hamilton is coming here in 2019 I think so I became a season member to make sure I could go! 2y
8 likes4 comments
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Beholderess
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Pickpick

History is not my favourite topic. I don't really care about history, and I care about revolutionary war even less, yet somehow this book made me care. The author's delightful irreverence and deep affection make is a pleasure to read.

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goodbyefrancie
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Pickpick

I loved this book! Listened to the audio on #overdrive, and her voice takes a bit to get used to, but great stories, great commentary, and great info. I recommend!

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goodbyefrancie
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Trying to beat the due date...

Laalaleighh Oooh I've wanted to read this ever since Hamilton took over my brain! 2y
62 likes1 comment
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LaurenReads
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Pickpick

Once I got over the author's voice in the audio I really enjoyed this book about Lafayette's role in the revolution (even though it covered more than that). I found the author's sarcastic commentary hilarious as we often put history and heroes on a pedestal, but they were just as prone to mistakes and stupidity as the rest of us! #nonfiction #audiobook

Riveted_Reader_Melissa This was my first audiobook by her, and I loved it too for all of those reasons. 2y
Rcoco @Riveted_Reader_Melissa I just started this audiobook and find her voice so distracting. But it is entertaining. 2y
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @Rcoco I‘d seen her on The Daily Show etc Before, so I knew what to expect and I loved her dry humor/sarcastic voice in this book. It‘s definitely not a dull history lecture. 2y
LaurenReads @Rcoco I promise it gets better 😂 I just listened to my 2nd book by her and while I noticed her voice it didn‘t bother me at all 2y
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MaleficentBookDragon
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Everyone here was right. I got used to Sarah's voice, and now I'm interested in all her books on audio.

LaurenReads I'm a couple hours into this and it took time to get used to her voice! But I'm cool with it now 2y
56 likes1 comment
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mklong
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Pickpick

This is a short biography of Marquis Lafayette. It isn't exhaustive and isn't meant to be definitive, but there are some little known anecdotes here and Vowell's overall style is casual and relatable. Her tendency to use 21st century sensibilities and hindsight to condemn the actions of some of these 18th century players is grating, but it's still a pick. Just not an enthusiastic one.

Sydsavvy I loved this 😎🙌🏻 2y
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mklong
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#asidefromreading time!

Hobby: Ballet, but I'm also an avid soccer fan hence my giddy face in this photo!

Drink: Wine

Food: Caprese salad

Color: Light blue

City: Oxford, England

Dream house: Pretty much anything featured on "Escape to the Country"

Accessory: My many pairs of glasses!

TV show: I swear I also watch smart shows, but my summer belongs to Big Brother ?

Last movie: Wonder Woman

Current read: Tagged book among many others

britt_brooke That photo!! Love it. 💚 2y
CouronneDhiver Cute boyfriend. Lol 😉 2y
Aswenson No shame in watching 'not' smart shows! 😉 2y
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Jas16 Omg! Great photo! 2y
maich Beckham❤❤ 2y
erzascarletbookgasm Love this photo! 💜 2y
38 likes6 comments
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lauren.lerner
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Selections from my #TBR shelf for today's red/white/blue prompts from both #jubilantJuly & #sizzlinsummerbooks, AND they're all about America. 🇺🇸

Lacythebookworm Sarah Vowell 😍😍😍 2y
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Brie
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Pickpick

Sarah Vowell's easy, conversational style of writing American history is once again a delight in this book about General Lafayette in the Revolutionary War. She strikes a good balance between informative and entertaining, with her witty asides and connections to modern day politics.

vivastory @brie I really need to read some Vowell. This sounds great. 3y
JazzFeathers Even the title is awesome 😆 3y
Brie @vivastory @JazzFeathers Yeah, I love her books. I think my favorite is 3y
bookwrm526 I finished my first of hers this past month and definitely plan to pick up more! 3y
Brie @bookwrm526 You should! I hope you enjoy them. 3y
58 likes1 stack add5 comments
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AMVP
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#rockinmay day 7 - #philadelphiafreedom

Speaking of authors I need to catch up on, have had this Vowell for a while now. One of the last books I bought before moving back from ATL.

Literaryunicorn I LOVE her and all of her books. 3y
Cinfhen Sounds like a really fascinating read 📚👍🏻🇺🇸 3y
9 likes1 stack add2 comments
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ReadingEnvy
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This is as far as we got on our drive home (because my husband refuses to listen at any speed faster than 1x!) But hooray for being home and back to litsy etc.

Ruri_kaichou What an interesting cast! 3y
ReadingEnvy @Ruri_kaichou it is but Fred armisen must be reeeeeally talented because I never heard a voice that made me think "there's Fred!" 3y
saresmoore That's kinda disappointing about Fred! I'm a big fan of his. 3y
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shawnmooney I love Sarah Vowell's voice! 3y
ReadingEnvy @saresmoore or he's doing a really really good job. ;) 3y
Lindy @shawnmooney @ReadingEnvy I found Vowell's voice a challenge to listen to, but it eventually grew on me. 3y
ReadingEnvy @Lindy @shawnmooney it reminds me of a voice on a horror/ghost film that I can't place but I don't mind it... what's frustrating are the low ratings of the book because people don't like it! 3y
shelf-improvement I saw Sarah at last year's National Book Festival. She was awesome!! I'm not good at audiobooks but this cast is interesting. 3y
ReadingEnvy @shelf-improvement Oh I bet she was interesting! I'd love to hear about the research that goes into these books. She uses the voices to speak pieces of primary documents but it is mostly her voice. 3y
56 likes3 stack adds10 comments
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SuziQoregon
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This weekend's road trip audiobook

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allusory
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Pickpick

This was my first Sarah Vowell book and now I get why she's so popular. Her style of narrative nonfiction is like having a great conversation with a knowledgeable friend. While there were no big unknown revelations for me about the subject, the experience of reading the book was worth the retread.

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allusory
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Hitting a little close to home right now.

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allusory
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This morning's train read. Going to see Hamilton in Chicago tonight so I thought I should be on theme!

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jesstothefuture
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audiobook Sunday again, apparently! :)

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aubergine123
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Pickpick

I listened to this one and loved hearing the author's own voice, particularly since she has such a distinctive style. Totally would suggest listening over reading this one. It really gave me a sense of what the revolutionary war was like. And I laughed outloud a couple off times.

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MrCoachU
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"Lafayette's concerns about finally taking his first crack at combat basically boiled down to Danger! Yippee!"

#LitsyReadingChallenge #LRC25 #freespace

melrailey I loved this book! I live in a city named after Lafayette and for the first time I had somebody say to me the other day, "I just read a book about him that was hilarious." Oh was it this book? They were surprised I guessed right. 3y
MrCoachU I absolutely love Sarah Vowell. It's educational and funny at the same time. She's great. 3y
15 likes2 comments
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MrCoachU
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Listening to Aaron Copland while reading Sarah Vowell's Lafayette in the Somewhat United States just feels right. Her writing is fantastic (smart and funny) and Copland is a legend. #LRC25 #LitsyReadingChallenge

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see.chels.read
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i just appreciate how sarah vowell calls it like it is: lafayette was an earnest teenager & the continental army was a hot ass mess until various europeans piped in to help out.

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see.chels.read
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jólabókaflóð = chocolate + book + christmas eve

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Audrey
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Mehso-so

I had such high expectations for this book and it fell short. It's such an interesting subject and I learned a lot of miscellaneous details about Lafayette and the Revolutionary War (kind of a miracle win, as well as lucky that Cornwallis chose to camp at Yorktown). But, the writing style did not work for me at all. It was too breezy and too stream of consciousness. And, the lack of chapters and natural breaks was annoying and preventable.

Audrey I wonder if this would have been better on audio. 3y
19 likes1 comment
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jessplummer
Mehso-so

I found the prose of this a little exhausting. I guess that's how narrative non-fiction goes but I wanted her to calm down and just tell me the history already.

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Nitpickyabouttrains
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Pickpick

Sarah Vowell turns a well told part of American history into a new story through the eyes of an outsider.

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KVanRead
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Pickpick

This was so great. I really learned a lot and loved how she kept the history engaging with humor, quirky anecdotes, and insightful connections to the present. I'm sold on her and have already downloaded Wordy Shipmates to listen to tomorrow when the Thanksgiving day cooking continues.

DeeLew I love her books! 3y
52 likes6 stack adds1 comment
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KVanRead
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Listening to some Early American history while getting Thanksgiving prep underway. Can anybody guess what I'm making? 😁#LitsyCooks #HappyThanksgiving @Litsy @HMHCooks

readordierachel I hope it's pie. 3y
Ericmanciniwriter It better be some kind of salted caramel pie 3y
Lacythebookworm Pumpkin pie? 3y
KVanRead @Lacythebookworm @ReadOrDieRachel @Eamann wouldn't be Thanksgiving without good 'ol pumpkin pie 😋 3y
Lacythebookworm Yummy 🍽 3y
50 likes5 comments
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Chassie
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Pickpick

I didn't know how much I needed this book post-Election. The humor kept me intrigued. The insight pointed out how years into the American Experiment the country keeps making some of the same bone-headed mistakes over and over. Hopefully we won't need the French to bail us out of this one.

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KVanRead
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My latest #audiobook for #NonFictionNovember. Off to a good start!

Riveted_Reader_Melissa I really enjoyed this one! 3y
44 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Riveted_Reader_Melissa
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#TBT What was I reading last year this time? My first Sarah Vowell! After listening to this one on audio, I added her entire back catalog to my TBR list, sadly I haven't made much of a dent yet, but I'm still glad to have found her and still looking forward to her other books. 👍

KVanRead Just started this one today! 3y
39 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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CherylDeFranceschi
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The funny and informative Ms. Sarah Vowell, introduced by her friend Ira Glass. #signedsunday

kspenmoll Enjoyed assassination vacations as many of our vacations revolve around National & state historic sites, National Parks , etc. 3y
CherylDeFranceschi @kspenmoll I enjoyed it, also. So much info! 3y
TheWellReadOwl Awesome! 3y
Lacythebookworm ❤️❤️❤️Sarah and Ira! I got to hear her speak last year, it was amazing! 3y
93 likes1 stack add4 comments
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KateTheBookworm
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Pickpick

Listened to this one on audio. Sarah Vowell can do no wrong. Absolutely hilarious, informative and insightful. I wish I could go back in time and hire her to teach me all of American History.

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kimberly.burke
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"Other than a bipartisan consensus on barbecue and Meryl Streep, plus that time in 1942 when everyone from Bing Crosby to Oregonian school children heeded FDR's call to scrounge up rubber for the war effort, disunity is the through-line in the national plot. Not necessarily as a failing, but as a free people's privilege. [...] getting on each other's nerves is our right."

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