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Bill Geist
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Way Off the Road: Discovering the Peculiar Charms of Small Town America

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  668 ratings  ·  136 reviews
Jeder, der einen liebevollen Blick auf die kleinen Dörfer in seiner Heimat wirft, wird wahrscheinlich auf ähnlich kuriose Menschen und Begebenheiten stoßen. Es ist eine Form, mal anders über den eigenen Tellerrand zu schauen – und zu sehen, wie wertvoll diese Dinge außerhalb unserer städtischen Lebenswelt sind. Bill Geist begibt sich zu den entlegensten Ortschaften der USA ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  668 ratings  ·  136 reviews

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Oct 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, humor
It was interesting to listen to the quite unusual people, places and things he encountered. Unfortunately it wasn't always without looking down on what he observed... ...more
Michael Haydel
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've never seen or heard of Bill Geist, I strongly urge you to stop reading this, and click this link:, and revel in what CBS considers some of his best contributions to their news programs over the past 30 years.

This is a guy who doesn't shy away from going up in the air on a newspaper delivery route with a 90+ year-old one-engine-prop-plane pilot (the oldest in the country), or on a mail route down into the Grand Canyon, on mules. Nor is he afraid of traveling to Beave
Feb 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: media
I remember reading Charles Kuralt’s books about people he met in different places, usually small towns, across America. I remember the TV stories as well. Kuralt’s focus was on the people and the pathos of their story. He’d dig in until he found that bit of humanity to tell the story. Given Bill Geist followed in Kuralt’s CBS News human-interest story footsteps, I was expecting the same with Geist’s book “Way Off the Road”, but I didn’t get it. Instead, Geist takes a different approach – he look ...more
Ben Batchelder
Oct 14, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
“Way off the Road” is one of the worst Americana-slash-travel books I’ve read. Given it is written by a network journalist, I shouldn’t be surprised. While pretending to be a normal schmoe, by “discovering the peculiar charms of small-town America” as the subtitle promises, Geist can’t disguise his snobbery or condescension and, in the end, betrays what an empty suit and soul he is.

He begins promisingly enough, by pointing that people do exist in the ‘fly-over’ American interior: “There is a wor
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bill Geist is a correspondent for CBS news who travels the country to "discover the peculiar charms of small-town America". Some of the stories make you want to jump in the car and go see it for yourself and some of them make you scratch your head and go "Huh"? I love the ingenuity of the "Stand Still Parade" of Whalan, Minnesota. The town is only 2 blocks long so a parade would be out of town before it really got going. So the parade stands still and the spectators walk around it. Monowi, Nebra ...more
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Small towns are often thought of as charming and quaint. Bill Geist has the knack for finding the strange and the weird. This audio book is highly entertaining as well as informative. You will discover that it is possible to make a good living photographing cows – if you can highlight their good points. In one town, you may get a visit from the police for having illegal porch furniture. Always good to know the laws of your town. If you don’t like just standing to watch a parade, you may want to ...more
If you’re going to write a travel book you can either write about people or places. It’s easier to do places, because exotic locations and majestic scenery lend themselves to descriptions that help the reader visualize the scenes. Writing about people is harder, and requires a light touch, because it is easy to slip into condescension and gawking. Paul Theroux and Robert Kaplan are masters of travel writing about people, but they are serious writers who place their conversations with the men and ...more
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I agree with Jay in his comments. The stories are interesting but he does seem to downplay what life is actually like in small town America. Champaign is a city not a town. If the author really wants to judge towns against one another he should be comparing life in towns not towns versus cities.
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know how Bill Geist does it, but he finds the most oddball happenings/people in small town America, and he writes about them with zingers aplenty.
Penny Cipolone
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A delightful little book that introduces one to small town America and its enjoyment of the festive and the unusual. Something to cheer us all up in a rather dispiriting time.
Jocelyn L.

“Way off the Road” by Bill Geist tells of the author’s experiences traveling to small towns across America. But these aren’t just any small towns; all of them have something unusual and bizarre that makes them stand out, whether it’s hosting cow dung chucking contests (Beaver, Oklahoma) or celebrating “Frozen Dead Guy” day (Nederland, Colorado). Some towns have only one or two residents, such as Monowi, Nebraska or Moonshine, Illinois, while others are may be larger, but are famous for somethin
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Non-Fiction - Travel/Humor

CBS correspondent Bill Geist shares true stories of small town America's eccentric individuals:

* The 93 y/o pilot/paperboy/publisher who delivers his news to far-flung subscribers by plane;

* The Muleshoe, Texas anchorwoman who delivers the news from her bedroom (occasionally wearing her bathrobe);

* The struggling Colorado entrepreneur who finds business success employing a high powered sewer vacuum to rid Western ranchers of problematic prarie dogs.

LOL funny, heart-war
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
One of the first books I read on my Kindle was this book. I did not see the cover at the time, but, now that I see it, I'd have to say that this book falls into the category of Cover-More-Clever-Than-the-Book. ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hate to admit it, but I never heard of the author before; I have definitely been missing out. I love roadside America and other such books, using them as resources to design road trips - sadly, while informative, they are often not very entertaining. That was not the case with this one - I found myself chuckling several times. And the descriptions already have wondering about the logistics of visiting a few of the places (and hoping they still exist). It put me in mind of 1991, when I convince ...more
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Geist seems to be a likable person. He is a humorist and a long-time observer of Americana for CBS TV. This small book of his contains a variety of his observations on the lives of people he has met on his travels through a scattering of small out of the way towns across our vast country. Some stories are touching, some are quirky and others reflect the way people evolve with the circumstances they face. For my money the author's monologues are more interesting than his written stories. For ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Way off the Road by Bill Geist is a hilariously written journey about this CBS journalist's travels through charming small town United States of America. For those of us urbanites who are sometimes completely oblivious of off the beaten path towns and villages of America, the chapters in the book will completely come as a surprise. Bill Geist truly ventures into the quirky as well as weird and describes them in such funny detail. For those of you in search of the essence of America, this one is ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I don't watch CBS and I had never heard of Bill Geist before I read this book.

However, I had a feeling that I'd like this book when I found it. It is a collection of oddball quirks in small town America. The story, however is not just about the quirks but also about the human element behind it. The hotel/restaurant/rental car "guides" are also funny! I believe the stories could have been supplemented with better quality images.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book. I come from a small town in SE Minnesota so this book was fascinating. The book starts off in a small town very near my hometown. In fact, Bill talks about people that I know so that was a very fun start to the book. The many different small towns and their eccentricities are very fun to read about. Enjoy!
Nov 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fine. I am from a small town and appreciate their strangeness, so reading each vignette about the small towns the author has encountered was enjoyable. However, the author's tone didn't always work for me. He finds a lot of humor in each of the quirks of the small towns, but at times I found that humor off-putting. I do look forward to exploring more small towns myself! ...more
Douglas Reedy
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the humor the writer placed in this fun book. There is no favoritism to any certain town or event. But there is also no limit to the sarcasm in which no one is safe. Fun for all who enjoy learning about small town America.
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this visit to many quirky small towns across the country. For the most part, what makes a place interesting is the people who live there. Makes me wonder if some of the small places still exist and want to visit them. Sadly, none are nearby.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the people of this country and the quirky stories they provide
Thomas Gregoire
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Funniest book I have read in yeas.
Patti Kerr
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a great book. I loved it.

I highly recommend it. And if you have already read it, I recommend reading it again and again and again. You can never have too many smiles.

Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
light, fast, fun read to get me through the holidays and afterholidays.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the stories told here. I highly recommend it.
Hope Irvin Marston
Entertaining vignettes of small town USA, but some profanity and foul language
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining and descriptive about the towns he visited that I did additional research. I highly recommend!
Michele Benchouk
Just a really fun book about the wonder, beauty, and silliness of our country. Loved it!
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book, I took notes. When this is all over, I have places to visit! I appreciate his candor and humor. He’s a great writer.
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