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Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  378 ratings  ·  85 reviews
About a quarter century ago, a previously unknown writer named William Least Heat-Moon wrote a book called Blue Highways. Acclaimed as a classic, it was a travel book like no other. Quirky, discursive, endlessly curious, Heat-Moon had embarked on an American journey off the beaten path. Sticking to the small places via the small roads--those colored blue on maps--he uncove ...more
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published October 29th 2008 by Little, Brown and Company (first published October 1st 2008)
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My husband and I love road trips, whether just a day trip around our beautiful Ozark mountains, or a longer jaunt. William Least Heat-Moon captures the experience of visiting small towns, learning of local history, and meeting unique local citizenry, many willing to gab a bit about their hometown, or tell their own stories; at times he also paints a picture of the surrounding terrain and scenery. I loved the conversations between he and his wife that were recorded here. The audio version was wel ...more
This work of over 500 pages would benefit greatly by trimming down to half its length. I'm sure the author himself could never do that because he is obviously in love with his wit and verbiage. Really disappointing because I love a good travel read...and because some of this is really good. The author often catches one up in the narrative only to become annoyingly erudite. What a show off; not only of his own cleverness, but his wife's as well.
The only way to get through this is to skip around;
as usual, least-heat moon manages to dig into the lesser known crannies of american historio-oddities and locales by simply wandering and meeting people. moon's natural curiosity impels these moseys and his way of looking at the world always manages to keep the reader interested, often via the simple reminder that america is a fucking big place that's chock full of strange, fascinating things and people. (also supplemented with well-read obscure/local histories and anecdotes.)

quality-wise, quoz
Hmm, what category does travel writing belong in? Fiction or non-? I think I'll keep it in fiction, cuz it was fun to read! Though I didn't love it as much as I loved "Blue Highways," which was one of my all-time favorite books I've read.

Anyway, "Roads to Quoz." Still enjoyable to read. It's long, so it's good for a long plane trip, or vacation, or whenever you have time for a slow, rambling read. It's not a page-turner; it's a relaxed ride, like "Life on the Mississippi." But he's so great with
Nov 27, 2011 Ajk rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who love America and want to revel in how awesome it is.
Shelves: non-fiction
Between moving 3 times in the same city, taking two trips out of country, and actually having a job, this one took a while to read. The fact that it weighs in at 608 pages didn't hurt, either. But what a 608 pages it was.

Roads to Quoz is about William Least-Heat Moon's travels around the U.S. It's really six different books in one, as he goes to the Pine Belt South, Southeast, Southwest, Northeast, Great Plains, and Mid-Atlantic. All the trips are different and are quite stand alone, and they ar
We met William Least Heat-Moon when we visited the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver. You can listen to him talk about "Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey" here:

Book info:
William Least Heat-Moon’s first book "Blue Highways" was acclaimed as a classic–a travel book like no other. Quirky, discursive, endlessly curious, Heat-Moon had embarked on a journey off the beaten path. Sticking to the small places via the small roads-those colored blue on maps-he uncovered a
Emmy Jackson
I’m having a hard time putting my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this book. I loved Blue Highways, Least-Heat Moon’s solitary journey through the forgotten backroads of America. Though Roads to Quoz is very similar in content, and the flowery prose is both creative and entertaining, the book itself failed to draw me in. Perhaps it’s a lack of a feeling of authenticity? The sense of navel-gazing is much stronger this time around, and the travels in this story were undertaken ostensibly to feed this ...more
Years ago, the book "Blue Highways" influenced me as I had the opportunity to travel around the US, but this Roads to Quoz did not recapture the spirit of that book (in my opinion).

In this book, William Least Heat Moon is traveling with his wife (I think they're married) and I'm happy for him that he's in love, but their ongoing cutesy banter irritated me. Travel writing may be more compelling when the writer is on his/her own.

Some of his descriptions of the places he visited and people he descr
David Bales
"Quirky" to the point of exasperation, William Least Heat-Moon's "American mosey" through west Arkansas is long on verbiage and poetry and short on actual information; I was disappointed at the lack of discussion of geography, history and scenery, (although what was there was good). He can never resist the opportunity to wax poetic about june bugs or moon pies or yams or one of those other silly countrified things that southerners always "go on about." He and his wife "Q" were theoretically foll ...more
Least Heat-Moon is a difficult author for me. I read (aloud) his Blue Highways in 1987 while we moved across country from Bellingham WA to Chapel Hill NC. I loved it. Then I tried to read PrairyErth and RIver Horse and although I loved the premise of each book, I just couldn't get far into them. The author is quite self absorbed and basically you are getting his thoughts while traveling and sometimes it is interesting and sometimes not.

I enjoyed listening to Roads to Quoz which is a series of bo
Typical Heat-Moon book. A good read if you're into meeting personally quirky people in off-the-beaten-path places.

I think the book is better early on. The more it progresses, the more it seems to repeat itself - not the stories, but the overall theme. And the last section following the ICW down the East Coast seems like just a long float to nowhere. Only when he goes ashore does the author tell us about his usual assortment of interesting meet-ups.

By the way, I am not impressed with the author's
I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and give some praise to Mr. Heat-Moon.
(His very name a seeming heffalump of syllogism). For an American travel-writer, I feel he rivals (my previous fave) Lawrence Durrell. Of course, Mr. Durrell being an English subject is preconditioned toward all those things it might suggest, and more, as an exile in Mediterranea, and maybe my biggest reason for liking him is the sheer number of oddball words he uses, guaranteed to keep you running to the dictionary.
Mr. Heat
Ron Davidson
The first WLHM book I have read; I think I'll try more. I have to admit that it took a while for me to get really interested in it, but it's long enough that I had the time. It has a lot of fascinating stories from interesting people, and the author's "philosophizing" (for lack of a better word) adds a lot of insight to the stories and human nature in general. (Although sometimes he gets a little too far out, and you wish he stopped a little sooner.)
May 15, 2012 Cheryl marked it as skimmed-reference-dnf
Pretty much what Diane said - I just don't find the way he expresses his philosophy luminous - in fact, I'm not even entirely sure what he's trying to say. I'd rather see more straight reportage of the stories he heard on the way and the experiences he & Q had. Back to the library in favor of 3 or 4 other books off my list (it's not only a slog, but it's Big.)
Feb 15, 2009 Maggie is currently reading it
I read 49 pages of this and then returned it to the library. Then I decided to try again -- again after a book club discussion -- but I'm skipping around. Reading the Northeast section because I lived there and climbed some of the mountains there that are included in this book. Not fond of this author's constant intrusion of self into the stories.
3 1/2 rounded up to 4. I could have given it a 5 if he hadn't gotten so wordy in places. There were parts I just had to skip over, but the rest of the book mostly made up for it. I realize that wouldn't bother a lot of people, but I tend to start skimming books after a hundred or so pages as it is.
Jul 03, 2009 Walter rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
This was a difficult book to mosey through. Perhaps the author got a dictionary of rare and obscure words as a gift and decided to see how many of them he could use in one book. He clearly delights in the English language, and that is a good quality in an author, but all things in moderation please!

I loved Blue Highways from cover-to-cover. Like that earlier work, Roads to Quaz: An American Mosey is a travelogue (although the author denies us and challenges us to learn what "travelogue" means),
Jun 12, 2009 Jeanne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like travel & meeting regular folks
William Least Heat-Moon mosies on his road to Quoz throughout this large volume. It captured my imagination. He rambles around the country meeting colorful characters and relates the history of the places he visits. I wish I shared his ease in getting people to open up.

In case you were wondering...Quoz - anything, anywhere, living or otherwise, connecting a human to existence and bringing an individual into the cosmos and integrating one with the immemorial, thereby making each life belong to c
Quoz, according to the author, is "a singular or plural noun, referring to anything strange, incongruous, or peculiar; at its heart is the unknown, the mysterious." In a series of trips around the US, most of them starting and ending in Columbia, Missouri where he was living and teaching at the time, most of them undertaken with his wife, whom he refers to as Q, he says he was in search of whatever quoz he could find. My conclusion after finishing the book is that some trips obviously were "quoz ...more
More than twenty years after writing the classic Blue Highways, Least Heat-Moon has written another road trip book that I thoroughly enjoyed. He’s a hardcore traveler who has been to every county in the lower 48. He has documented six of his journeys in this book. On some of the journeys he’s in search of something and on some he’s traveling just to see what he can see. There are times when his complaints seem to be those of a crotchety elitist, but for the most part I think his critiques of mo ...more
With maybe 50 pages to go, I am giving up on this book. Listen, there may be some people who don't already know, bone deep, that Americans as a people have taken a criminally disdainful approach to preserving our nation's natural beauties and bounties. But the thing is, no one who doesn't already feel that way is ever going to pick up a book titled Roads to Quoz anyway--they're all too busy snow-mobiling and off-roading. So my feeling is that I don't need to be reminded, at least once every othe ...more
I've heard great things about Heat-Moon's writing but this is the first that I've read and I agree, he's a marvelous storyteller. In search of quoz (anything strange, incongruous, or peculiar), he and his wife travel the country meeting and talking with a bevy of fascinating individuals. I especially enjoyed meeting Jean Shirer Ingold (an "independent walkabout person" living an ultra-simple life of PURPOSE), Frank X. Brusca (his website tells it all: ), and of course, Gus ...more
I loved this book!!! It is pretty long and I enjoyed taking my time reading it. I good a kick out of the humor and I've told many people about it.

The point of the book is the value of paying attention to the people you meet in your travels and finding a way to truly remember the places you've been. Also those places you remember are changing fast. I leave it to the reader to mosey through the book, I leave only this quote.

"Gus Kubitzki held that life is a cosmic board-game played against an invi
Road's to Quoz is a book you read for the meandering travels of the author and find out many facets the author introduces you to in one book. What is Quoz? Pg 9, "quoz, a noun, both singular and plural, referring to anything strange, incongruous, or peculoiar, at its heart is the unknown, the mysterious." The travels across the U.S., the people he meets, the history he explores are not the well known but the little known which are often quickly forgotten but are so interesting and unique. The us ...more
Sally Atwell Williams
I love William Least-Heat Moon's writing and his use of words, some of which I have never heard used anywhere else. This book takes the reader in four directions of the USA, as the author and his wife seek out places and things that they have heard of or have been before but are seeking something else. He travels S/E, S/W, N/E and N/W. And also they take a tourist boat down the inland waterway on the East Coast to Florida. As always, Moon shares his vast knowledge with the reader, and I always f ...more
Cynthia Karl
Anyone who likes good writing will like WLHM - I've been a fan since reading the first installment of "Blue Highways" years ago. WLHM is a master teller of anecdotes and weaver of tales. Seemingly ordinary true lives and stories become in his hands the extraordinary. A couple of examples of his beautiful writing -

"A river fits its vale as a seed its fruit, but to know the pit is not also to know the peach."

"...I admit Ive never been good at having to believe in something before being able to wi
Clyde Birkholz
A man in love with his own tiresome prose. By the middle of this book I regretted that I had read all of his books.
Anyone who knows me knows I suffer from chronic wanderlust. It helps that I have a man in my life who is a fellow sufferer, so I don't know if reading these kinds of books helps or hurts. All I do know is my travel bucket list has grown tenfold now. My father has recommended Heat-Moon's books for some time and I can see why. There is a great mixture of history, humor, and and quirky characters that make this a wonderful read. Not only do I want to travel the ICW (google it), but I would love to ...more
Paul Harris
Excellent. Classic Heat Moon quoziness exploring the corners of the US that few others ever bother to report from. Few, if any, write with such a glint in their eye as he does. Each chapter is a new delight of oddity - full of colour, sounds, and smells. Most of the smells are great...

WLHM has a knack of writing about places in a way that makes me want to visit if not the exact same destinations, then at least an opolis in the right direction..just over there.. Great stuff. I don't know how long
Rachel Olenick
Heat-Moon very pointedly meanders through overlooked American landscapes, talking to his "sagacious reader" or "dear reader" all the while. I found it fitting that I listened to his book on audio while driving in the car, as he was almost always driving somewhere within the narrative. Heat-Moon is a master at telling other people's stories, relaying them in a way that allowed me to delight in the striking personalities he encountered as much as he did. Given to synonym dumps and taking alliterat ...more
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From wikipedia:

William Least Heat-Moon, byname of William Trogdon is an American travel writer of English, Irish and Osage Nation ancestry. He is the author of a bestselling trilogy of topographical U.S. travel writing.

His pen name came from his father saying, "I call myself Heat Moon, your elder brother is Little Heat Moon. You, coming last, therefore, are Least." Born in Kansas City, Missouri, H
More about William Least Heat-Moon...
Blue Highways River-Horse PrairyErth (A Deep Map) Here, There, Elsewhere: Stories from the Road Columbus in the Americas

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