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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

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  187 Ratings  ·  38 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 o
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 18th 2007 by Greenwillow Books (first published September 1st 2007)
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Jan 13, 2009 Beth rated it it was amazing
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
Toni Moore
This is a slight, but entertaining, book by noted poet Naomi Shihab Nye. It's a series of vignettes about her many travels by taxi in cities throughout the world and the adventures she had on these taxi rides. Most entries are just two or three pages (in big type) long. I read the entire book in a couple of hours. At one point, I almost stopped reading it because it was so superficial. But then the short stories started to draw me in. Many of the taxi drivers Nye meets are real characters. Often ...more
Tiffany Wilbourn
Jan 17, 2011 Tiffany Wilbourn rated it really liked it
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
Sep 25, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
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
Lulu Flanagan
Aug 04, 2016 Lulu Flanagan rated it it was amazing
After listening to a fascinating interview with Krista Tippet's Onbeing program, I picked up several books by Naomi Shihab Nye. I picked up a copy at a local library (Duluth, MN) and read it that very afternoon. Talk about delightful storyteller! The theme in this collection is "tales of driving and being driven". Naomi writes as a keen observer of the human race with a sense of humor. It was pure delight. Highly recommended.
Robynn Merkel
Feb 19, 2015 Robynn Merkel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-mcgary
Naomi Shibab Nye is best known for her poetry but this small gem of a book is a story collection of her interactions with taxi drivers and people in her travels. I loved this book! I finished it under a few hours, lingering over passages and thinking about how I would love to meet more people and hear about the world through their eyes.
Jess Hicks
Feb 27, 2016 Jess Hicks rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely book and an easy read. Deep insights, chance encounters, vivid images, like going through a bin of old postcards in an ancient relative's attic.
Apr 16, 2015 Gwendolyn rated it it was amazing
Fun combination of light reading that makes you think! Especially good for people who enjoy travel and cultural differences.
Mar 06, 2015 Snickerdoodle rated it really liked it
Some poets have a way of looking at a larger experience and distilling a simple truth out of it. Nye has shared taxi experiences, encounters, and somehow done the same.
Jan 18, 2016 SouthWestZippy rated it it was amazing
Eye opening adventure into a world of chaos. Could not put it down had to know what was going to happen next.
Jan 26, 2014 Debbie rated it liked it
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.
Aug 21, 2015 Tina rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, non-fiction
Naomi Shihab Nye can do no wrong. She takes the most mundane things and finds magic.
Bryan Neuschwander
Apr 22, 2014 Bryan Neuschwander rated it liked it
Some of the stories are strong. Enjoyable.
Apr 29, 2009 Melody rated it really liked it
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
Jan 08, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it
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.
Dec 04, 2012 Allisa rated it really liked it
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!
Aug 11, 2009 Laurie rated it really liked it
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

Sep 28, 2009 Jill rated it liked it
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
Apr 28, 2013 Megan Ratliff rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 21, 2008 Donnae rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir-vignettes
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 liked it
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.
Dec 15, 2008 Karen rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 07, 2009 Brooke rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 07, 2009 Julie rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 03, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
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!
Jun 19, 2008 Marguerite rated it really liked it
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
Nov 07, 2013 Maxine Skuba rated it liked it
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.
Sep 07, 2008 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
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.
May 20, 2012 Jane rated it liked it
Nye makes you wish you spent more time talking to taxi cab drivers. She seems to have the best conversations with them!
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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
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“It is really hard to be lonely very long in a world of words. Even if you don't have friends somewhere, you still have language, and it will find you and wrap its little syllables around you and suddenly there will be a story to live in.” 58 likes
“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.” 22 likes
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