BOOK: Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell.

I’ve long loved Sarah Vowell and yet, oddly, this is the first book of hers I’ve ever picked up. She’s on The Daily Show often, though, and is so funny and clever in person I can hardly stand it. And, of course, she was the voice of Violet in the animated film, The Incredibles. Needless to say, this terrific book did not disappoint. It’s hilarious, fascinating, and just utterly bizarre in concept.

Said concept? Vowell, who is a history buff, decides to go on a pilgrimage of three presidential assassinations (Lincoln’s, McKinley’s, and Garfield’s), taking us to the sites of their deaths, the monuments of their lives, and everywhere in between, as she regales us with factual stories about the figures involved in the assassinations, as well as the cultural and political circumstances that led to the murders to begin with.

What I loved about this book was not only that it was extremely educational (I knew a lot about Lincoln’s history, of course, but not much at all about McKinley’s and Garfield’s), but that it was quirky, witty, snarky, and just plain fun to read. Vowell is brilliant — sharp-witted and sharp-tongued — and the stories of these three men and the motivations of the various men who wanted them dead are just as riveting as any work of crime fiction. Highly, HIGHLY recommended, and I’m looking forward to reading more by Vowell as soon as possible!

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4 Responses to “BOOK: Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell.”

  1. Lorraine Says:

    I adore Sarah Vowell! I try to catch her whenever she is on Conan, Letterman or The Daily Show. Yes, her books are an awesome mix of history, politics and humor. But I would recommend that you actually LISTEN to them (on audiobooks) rather than read them. Her voice is very distinctive and you really hear the “author’s voice” that way.

    In the same way, David Sedaris must be listened to reading his books.

  2. megwood Says:

    I actually don’t really enjoy audiobooks that much — I have a hard time focusing on them because if my hands are free, they must be occupied. It’s just my thing. And then I get distracted by whatever project that leads me to and the next thing I know, the audiobook is over and I can’t tell you a single thing that’s happened. *shrug*

    But maybe the next time we have to take a really long road trip, we’ll try one out!

  3. Lorraine Says:

    Yes, they work best with driving. She has such a distinctive voice and her sense of humor comes through.

  4. Sarah Says:

    I’ve become a real fan of audiobooks whilst commuting to work by car. There are some really cool book podcasts out there that are even free, Like the New Yorker short stores and the Classic Tales. It really helps pass the time when driving!

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