I'll Ask You Three Times, Are You OK?: Tales of Driving and Being Driven
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I'll Ask You Three Times, Are You OK?: Tales of Driving and Being Driven

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  159 ratings  ·  30 reviews

"I am a poet," I said. "It is my destiny to do strange things."

My father gripped the wheel of his car. "I am the chauffeur for foolishness."

We said no more.

Foolhardy missions. Life-altering conversations. Gifts—given and received. Loss. Getting lost. Wisdom delivered before dawn and deep into the night. Love and kissing (not necessarily in that order). Laughter. Rides on...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 18th 2007 by Greenwillow Books (first published September 1st 2007)
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I first heard Nye read her poems on Prairie Home Companion some years ago. I thought she was terrific and meant to go out and find her books...and didn't. This one was recommended to me, and while it's not her poetry but instead a kind of book of essays (really, lots of stories), it's highly entertaining. I'm not sure exactly why it's being marketed as YA. I think my teenage niece, just learning to drive, might enjoy it, but it is still strongly an adult voice, that is, a little nostalgic for yo...more
Tiffany Wilbourn
I really enjoyed this book...very interesting and thought provoking. Makes me want to experience things and write about them. I love how little vignittes (sp?) can make you think a long time and can leave a lasting impression!! Some of my fav quotes:

"Mystery: Everything felt better before you got there than when you actually got there. When you actually got there, you didn't quite have the energy to be there."

" I told him the poets said something very interesting about politics. They said, " In...more
Sep 25, 2007 Becky rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 6th grade and up; fans of travel, memoir, poetry and quiet gems
Reading this collection of essays and vignettes made me want to travel, see more of NYC, ride in more cabs, and see the world more like Naomi Shihab Nye. I have innumerable favorite quotes, but they would not translate here without their context. I think that is because the author is a poet. Every word is there for a reason and is connected to the words around it. The first lines draw you in; the last lines are perfect and unexpected and make you say "ohhhhh." The last lines are the main reasons...more
This collection of short stories is, at times, whimsical and delightful, and at other times, rather mundane and forced. I would recommend the stories. I wonder why this was published as Young Adult, it didn't seem like something that any teen I know would bother with.
Bryan Neuschwander
Some of the stories are strong. Enjoyable.
I have no idea why this book was lurking in the YA section of my library. Not that it's inappropriate for teens, just that it doesn't strike me as YA at all. That being said, it's a lovely little memoir primarily of Nye's taxi rides. Her voice is singular and fresh, and the people she encounters are transcendent. Her perspective is delightfully skewed, and her writing is fearlessly goofy. I picked it up on a whim and I feel lucky to have done so. Recommended for travelers and philosophers and po...more
I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book, but it wasn't terrible, but not my favorite either. I love how Nye talks about the many different places she's travelled, and it made me want to see more of the world and learn more about the people we have brief contacts with, but other than that, it was okay. I'm not sure if all of her writing is similar to this, but it's very conversational and you definitely get the feeling that she makes an effort to connect with her audience, which is nice.
As this being the first and the best memoir I have ever read, this definitely made the top of books that I want to read again and possibly buy. All of the little stories wrapped up in this small little book are hilarious, heart wrenching, or eye dawning in every way. I loved turning every page and seeing what happened next. Most of the time, I wanted to see what happened afterward. Nye is very admirable and extremely enjoyable to read about her travels. This book was incredible and a must read!
Key quotes:

"Anticipation jingled and smelled like vanilla. Arrival clunked. Huh? This is the place?...I don't think so. Let's get back on the road. It took a while for the reality of being somewhere to replace the anticipation of being there. Better standing baCK, just imagining." p. 24

"I like Scottish highway signs: Please allow overtaking -- frustration causes accidents and queues likely ahead and tiredness can kill." p. 104

I love the way Nye can perfectly capture a feeling and find something big in everything small. As usual, I left her writing wishing I could "put myself out there" the way that she does because it seems her free spirit just attracts everyday magic. That said, I loved the concept of short stories about coming and going, but felt that more than a couple were a little rambling and disjointed.
Megan Ratliff
I'm very glad this book found me. I was browsing through the YA nonfiction looking for something to read and at the time I certainly wasn't ok so the title is what grabbed me. I read that it was about driving and riding and figured what they hay! This book was a good thing; it had made all the difference. One must accept things as they come and try not to be to upset.
I am a fan of Naomi Shihab Nye's poetry, so I was really curious to read her prose. I was completely delighted with all of the stories she included in the book; so delighted that I am going to recommend it to the teens at the writing workshop I am teaching this summer. She has a way of capturing modern life that inspires me to write about my own.
Tara Gelston
Jun 30, 2008 Tara Gelston rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: curious folks, travelers,
I picked this one up from the library. Her writing style is very similar to how my mind works. Nye's extensive travels reflect how people are very similar even around the world. She is able to enjoy the time it takes to get from one place to another. She seems to have an uncanny ability to be content whatever the circumstances.
I loved this book. It was a quick read, too quick, one of those delicious books consumed too fast followed by post-book depression. Well, maybe not "depression." Nye describes the world/life using snapshots of experiences while driving or being driven - most but not all while traveling. Her openness to others is contagious.
Funny, funny, funny. Nye is a wonderful writer, a traveler and a collector of personalities which means she can write great short essays on life and travel. Many are funny, a few poignent, and all interesting. Fast, fun read.
A collection of wonderful little essays, thoughts, memories all relating to driving or being driven. Easy to read a few pages and put down while digesting the vignette Nye captured in words.
Molly Lynde
May 23, 2008 Molly Lynde marked it as to-read
Great poetic, reflective, short reads

powerful readings to make you connect to other people you blithly pass by in your day and it opens your eyes to the humor of life
A great collection of short stories! Nye writes about driving, taxis and being driven with her usual wit and insight. A definite "buy this" when it's released in September!
The author relates stories of being driven around by friends, taxi drivers and sometiems herself. The stories she writes are interesting. a quick, fun read.
Maxine Skuba
Some of the stories were a stretch. So the collection felt uneven but the woman is a a great poet and I will read anything of hers.
Even when she's not writing poetry, Naomi Shihab Nye is writing poetry. I love her world view, and I'm glad she's in the world.
Nye makes you wish you spent more time talking to taxi cab drivers. She seems to have the best conversations with them!
Nye does a great job with the theme, and has had her share of automotive adventures - esp the last one!
It's poetic thinking at its most basic, but poetry often proves profoundest when it's left uncluttered.
These are not poems, but the writing in these stories is thought-provoking and beautifully poetic.
I'm just not a fan of the genre (little inspirational-type vignettes).
Mostly recounts conversations she's had with taxi drivers all over the world.
Excellent book of essays. I love her writing style!
Anne Walker
Great stories...makes you want to ask, to know...
Tracy O
It's Naomi so I pretty much have to read it.
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Naomi Shihab Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Jordan, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her B.A. in English and world religions from Trinity University. She is a novelist, poet and songwriter.

She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. She was elected a Chancellor of the Acad...more
More about Naomi Shihab Nye...
Habibi Words Under the Words: Selected Poems 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East Fuel Honeybee: Poems & Short Prose

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“Today you will say things you can predict and other things you could never imagine this minute. Don't reject them, let them come through when they're ready, don't think you can plan it al out. This day will never, no matter how long you live, happen again. It is exquisitely singular. It will never again be exactly repeated.” 17 likes
“Mystery: Everything felt better before you got there than when you actually got there. When you actually got there, you didn't quite have the energy to be there.” 10 likes
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