I almost gave this book 1-star, but bumped it back up to two. I was expecting something more of a memoir, but instead the book was almost nothing butI almost gave this book 1-star, but bumped it back up to two. I was expecting something more of a memoir, but instead the book was almost nothing but exposition on planes and the practice of flying, plus some philosophical points on the implications of being a world traveller. It contained practically no stories or anecdotes. If the author had thrown in at least a few real-world examples to keep things interesting and relatable the book might have succeeded. The first chapter was promising, when the author talked about his original feelings about planes and flying and how he came to have a career as a pilot. But the second and third chapters came across pretty dry. I scanned the rest of the book and it didn't seem to get any better later on, so I dropped it there....more
I'm a sucker for road books, for travel books. Usually I lean toward the "Blue Highways", off the beaten path approach. So I was a bit wary of Larry MI'm a sucker for road books, for travel books. Usually I lean toward the "Blue Highways", off the beaten path approach. So I was a bit wary of Larry McMurtry's up-front statement that _Roads_ would be keeping to the big roads, the divided highways, that allow for 70, 80, 90mph speeds.
And yet, the author makes up for the details he might lose by avoiding the two-lanes with the great distances covered by the interstates. He's engaging in continent-spanning journeys. There isn't hardly a corner of the country he doesn't touch. And his travelogues, encompassing history, biography, natural history, and books, are delightful. There are worse travelling companions one could have than a pulitzer-prize winner.
The author lives in Texas and has a stated affinity for the great plains, so most of his trips start on the perifery of the U.S. and bend toward the center. The one highway he praises above all others is U.S. 2 (notably not an interstate), a route I've travelled many times through Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. That praise makes me trust his judgement even more. Perhaps I'll even emulate his journeys some day.
Recommended for any armchair traveller who longs for the open road....more
If you like a quick read, a quirky read, a humorous read, I would recommend this memoir. I first heard of Mike Birbiglia via This American Life and ThIf you like a quick read, a quirky read, a humorous read, I would recommend this memoir. I first heard of Mike Birbiglia via This American Life and The Moth podcasts. If you have heard him there and like his storytelling style, I can absolutely recommend this book. Several of his radio pieces were taken from (or were inspiration for) this book, so you might find some of the chapters familiar. He talks mainly about his family, his early experiences with girls, his efforts to start his comedic career, and finally his experiences with sleepwalking.
His storytelling style is consistant throughout the book. Read the first two chapters and if you like what you're reading, finish the book. If not, then stop. I found myself laughing out loud at least once every two-to-three pages throughout the book, which is very rare for me. This was a very pleasing summer read.
P.S. I agree with some of the other comments that the audio version of this book -- if read by the author -- would likely be very good....more