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Saturday Night

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3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  286 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Twenty years ago, before she wrote The Orchid Thief or was hailed as “a national treasure” by The Washington Post, Susan Orlean was a journalist with a question: What makes Saturday night so special? To answer it, she embarked on a remarkable journey across the country and spent the evening with all sorts of people in all sorts of places—hipsters in Los Angeles, car cruise ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published August 16th 2011 by Simon Schuster (first published 1990)
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(showing 1-30)
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sarah
Aug 08, 2007 sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The idea for this book is incredible. The idea is so incredible that the book is entirely mediocre by comparison.

Worth a read, but it took me inexplicably far too long to get through it.
Rika Kumar
Mar 02, 2010 Rika Kumar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some people spend their Satuday nights at a polka dancing place. Many people like to shop it up in Los Angeles. Others just like to simply kick back and watch some television. But the best way by far to spend a Saturday night is to read Saturday Night, by Susan Orlean.
Saturday Night, simply put, is the perfect combination of information and humor, each when on its own doesn't account for being Saturday Night worthy. In this book, Orlean elaborates on her experiences of stalking people as they g
...more
Christina
I misjudged this book. It is still my view that it is horribly out-of-date, but the chapters on the Bowery Mission in NYC, and Missile Defense in Wyoming surprised me pleasantly. I find myself referencing it more than I should for a book I find irrelevant, like when Saturday Night Live airs, or when I see city apartments with large dining rooms. This book does have some timeless observations, worth finding as you snicker through "the new advent of videocassette recorders" and the "LA mod scene."
Ellen
Feb 11, 2008 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Susan Orlean's Saturday Night is one of my favorite works of creative non-fiction ever. She travels all around the country to find out what various eclectic groups of people in radically different locations are doing for fun, or attempts at fun, on Saturday night. The staff of a nuclear reactor, dieters at the Pritikin Institute venturing out into the dangerous outside world of food, young students at Princeton who all have incredibly high expectations for what their futures have in store for th ...more
Andrea
Apr 06, 2013 Andrea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish, 2013
Turns out I wasn't as surprised as I thought I'd be by the way regular folks spend their Saturday nights. Maybe if I was sheltered by academia or life in a huge metro are this would've been more of a revelation :-)
Susan
Oct 26, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a wonderful fun piece of Americana. All of the descriptions are familiar yet Susan Orlean's focus and description makes them much more.
Janet
Jun 05, 2008 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Janet by: My book club
For some reason, I just didn't connect deeply with this book. I attribute it mostly to a mild dislike of the characters, as I did appreciate the historical aspect of the story.
Anupama
Upon reading the non-fiction writing, one would be surprised that Saturday Night is Susan Orlean’s first book. Orlean brings the readers along on her journey to find out how the American people spend their Saturday nights. Orlean’s deep interest in the subject is seen as the reader progresses through the chapters, realizing that Orlean was strongly devoted to traveling across the United States to truly find out about the Saturday Night culture in the U.S. She writes of many different activities ...more
Avni
Mar 02, 2014 Avni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If it were up to me, I would rewrite Susan Orlean’s entire book, Saturday Night. I would just switch a couple words here and there, tweak the sentences a bit, tear out all the pages. And trust me, nobody will see the difference. This is how my new and improved version of Saturday Night would read:

Page 1

Chapter 1- Tree Saving

Saturday Night is different.

The End.

I bet you can’t find the difference.

Her idea was brilliant: document different people’s activities on one night of the week- Saturday
...more
Jessica Harlan
Dec 21, 2013 Jessica Harlan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Susan Orlean is one of my favorite essayists, I'm always excited when I open an issue of the New Yorker and find one of her articles inside. Saturday Night is the perfect opportunity to get my fill, and then some, of her voice. The book is an interesting premise - she examines why Saturday night is important to American society, and takes a look at some of the quintessential (and not-so-quintessential) ways to spend Saturday night across the United States, from babysitting, to waitressing in Ame ...more
Jessica
Jul 20, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm assuming Susan Orlean was already an established journalist at this point, because this is the type of book I am surprised found a publisher. That's not to say it shouldn't have been published, I found the concept wonderful and the stories very entertaining. In this book, Susan Orlean examines the phenomenon of Saturday Night and why that night has such a specific and special meaning for us all. Each chapter observes a different form of celebrating (or not celebrating) Saturday night and all ...more
Su
Well-written and entertaining piece of non-fiction. Orlean's a master of description and wry humor. She puts you right there again and again, and I am a better non-fiction observer as a result.
Karen
Jul 13, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Twenty years ago, before she wrote The Orchid Thief or was hailed as “a national treasure” by The Washington Post, Susan Orlean was a journalist with a question: What makes Saturday night so special? To answer it, she embarked on a remarkable journey across the country and spent the evening with all sorts of people in all sorts of places—hipsters in Los Angeles, car cruisers in small-town Indiana, coeds in Boston, the homeless in New York, a lounge band in Portland, quinceañera revelers in Phoen ...more
Shweta Ramdas
The premise is intriguing: how do Americans spend their Saturday evenings, the one day restrained neither by the preceding morning nor by the following day? Orlean traipses through various towns in the country attempting to find out, each essay describing one activity. The polka-dancing and the murdering and cruising and riding-the-shag-bus were all fun to read about, but a sense of ennui set in about halfway-point, and I stopped caring about the stories and histories that lead to the regularity ...more
Casey
Oct 20, 2014 Casey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
I read this a few years ago, when I was a younger journalist, and I thought it was so quirky and fun. Reading it now I see how well she builds context in many of the pieces. The details are fun and often funny, but the reason they work is the set-up. That said, the idea is better than the sum here. Some of the essays are brilliant: some are just too-long Talk of the Towns. I lost steam. There was little to distinguish them after a while. I needed more (and by that I mean different) Bog Thoughts ...more
Andrea Laurion
Good book. If you're a curious person who loves going inside the world of understated but interesting people, check it out. I'd give it 4/5 but for every chapter I loved, there would one that dragged a bit. It's also pretty dated, though I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.
Lauren MacMillan
What makes Saturday night so special? Orlean takes a journey around America and spent the evening with all sorts of people in all sorts of places to chronicle the one night of the week where we do the things we want to do rather than the things we need to do.
Karen
Nov 19, 2013 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to give it 3 1/2 stars with the extra 1/2 for the chapter on the beloved Hilltop Steakhouse of Saugus, MA (RIP). I also enjoyed S.O.'s astonishment that 12-year-old babysitting girls in the late 80's were all watching The Golden Girls...yessssssssss.
Kristin
Apr 05, 2014 Kristin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I love the idea. But it does seem a little outdated. But Orlean is always great at setting the scene and describing people and places.
Sarah
Aug 10, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Orlean had clearly not reached her full creative power in this early work!
Mindy
May 29, 2014 Mindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started slow for me but ultimately enjoyed it.
Kennedy
Jun 04, 2013 Kennedy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, ebook, 2013
Interesting, but felt rather dated having been written in 1990.
Erin
Sep 13, 2013 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
Now taking the lead as my favorite Orlean.
Michelle
Mar 04, 2015 Michelle marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ref-booktalker
Listed as Q4 = Exceptional!, P3 = A booktalk on this title will excite most people’s interest
David Alexander
Mar 31, 2014 David Alexander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Orlean is the greatest living writer in America, if not the world. What I would give to be able to see the world through her eyes for just one day. A remarkable book, one of the greatest.
Elisa M
Sep 07, 2010 Elisa M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I more or less just skimmed this book- didn't enjoy it as much as The Orchid Thief, but it was kind of interesting.
Kate
Nov 01, 2010 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cruisers, lala dancers, high society
Recommended to Kate by: E 169.04.O8 1990
Shelves: reportage
Leisure time shrinks by 32%.
Vanessa
Aug 31, 2011 Vanessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Susan Orlean's Afterward touches on how our society has changed since she wrote this book. Considering that, this book is a really interesting look at how people spend time in special ways.
Alyssa
Sep 08, 2013 Alyssa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be extremely boring, dry, and pointless.
Amanda
Nov 29, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
More like a 3.5, this was a charming collection of essays loosely connected around the theme of Saturday night. I love spending literary time with Orlean, who is droll, kind, and observant.
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45374
I'm the product of a happy and uneventful childhood in the suburbs of Cleveland, followed by a happy and pretty eventful four years as a student at University of Michigan. From there, I wandered to the West Coast, landing in Portland, Oregon, where I managed (somehow) to get a job as a writer. This had been my dream, of course, but I had no experience and no credentials. What I did have, in spades ...more
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