Braden's Reviews > State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America

State by State by Matt Weiland
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F_50x66
's review
Mar 01, 09

Read in February, 2009

Excellent concept. Good execution.

A brief foray into a state does not qualify one to represent it in a book like this one, in my opinion. I found the "Hey I went to X State for a week and now I can write the WPA essay" examples to be icky.

Also, I had the sense that most of the people here fell within the 30-50 age range. Which is fine, but lent a certain flatness to the book, I think.....

Highlights:

Kevin Brockmeier on Arkansas (nicely focused on a single phenom)

Rick Moody on Connecticut (love the structuring by exit #s)

Joshua Ferris on Florida (his early adolescence, hangin with J Buffett)

Dave Eggers on Illinois (esp. given the Obama-Lincoln talk of the
moment)

Heidi Julavitz on Maine (From Awayers v. Natives)

John Hodgman on Massachusetts (for comprehensiveness)

Jacki Lyden on Missouri (I live just a mile or two from the area where the Bosnians settled in the STL)

Charles Bock on Nevada (his dad owned a Vegas pawnshop)

Ellery Washington on New Mexico (sort of scary)

Joe Sacco on Oregon (graphic narrative....nice break)

Andrea Lee on Pennsylvania (excellent anecdotes)

David Rakoff on Utah (I'd no idea Coca-cola was OK by the church b/c BYU's board of trustees has a financial interest...or is this an urban legend?)



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message 1: by Danielle (new) - added it

Danielle I put this one on my to-read list, but haven't done so yet. Anyway, I have serious doubts that the LDS Church has any financial interest in Coca-Cola. I attended BYU, and you can't purchase any caffeinated drinks on the campus. So, definitely not Coke, but Sprite was available. Also, BYU's "Board of Trustees" is composed of the Twelve Apostles of the Church, so Church leadership and BYU leadership are one and the same. Anyway, I'll have to read the essay, and see if Rakoff knew what he was talking about or not. My guess is not.


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