Books by Sarah Vowell

LAFAYETTE IN THE SOMEWHAT UNITED STATES by Sarah Vowell
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"An enlightening and entertaining blend of history and edged attitude."
Another Vowell-ian romp through history, politics, and pop culture, this time revisiting the story of Lafayette, the French contributions to victory in the American Revolution, and his farewell tour through the United States in 1824. Read full book review >
UNFAMILIAR FISHES by Sarah Vowell
HISTORY
Released: March 22, 2011

"Lively history and astute sociology make a sprightly chronicle of a gorgeous archipelago and its people."
Ever-clever NPR contributor Vowell (The Wordy Shipmates, 2008, etc.) offers a quick, idiosyncratic account of Hawaii from the time Capt. James Cook was dispatched to the then-Sandwich Islands to the end of the 19th century, when the United States annexed the islands. Read full book review >
THE WORDY SHIPMATES by Sarah Vowell
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 7, 2008

"At times dense, at times silly, at times surpassingly wise."
NPR contributor Vowell (Assassination Vacation, 2005, etc.) takes a hard but affectionate look at the legacy of those doughty, slightly deranged Puritans who landed in the New World in 1630. Read full book review >
THE PARTLY CLOUDY PATRIOT by Sarah Vowell
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 5, 2002

"Refreshing, inspiring, enchanting."
Pop-culture commentator Vowell (Take the Cannoli, 2000) offers an engrossing take on suddenly sexy topic of love of country. Read full book review >
TAKE THE CANNOLI by Sarah Vowell
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 6, 2000

"perfect delivery."
Broadcaster and columnist Vowell (Radio On: A Listener's Diary, 1998) presents a wonderfully eclectic mix of smart-witted, Read full book review >
RADIO ON by Sarah Vowell
NON-FICTION
Released: Jan. 2, 1997

Be ready to hit the scan button repeatedly with this wildly uneven, day-by-day-by-day diary of a year—1995—spent listening to the radio. Like strip malls and superhighways, radio has become such an integral part of the American landscape that we rarely notice its sheer ubiquity. Between our houses, our cars, our offices, even our elevators, there are more than 500,000,000 radios in this country, all spewing a 24-hour-a-day hodgepodge of everything from rock to religion to right-wing ranting. Any account of this vast cacophony is necessarily subjective, but Vowell, a music columnist for San Francisco Weekly, spices her impressionistic stew with unhealthy dollops of narcissism and jejune banality: ``I only conceived this diary as a means to say that I'm just as confused and overwhelmed as my elders, just as ill-informed and worried and perplexed and lacking in answers (but willing to look) as people twice my age.'' In these limited terms, the book is a roaring success. As Vowell spins her way around the country, tuning in to the local radio stations, she reacts like the perfect poster girl for Generation X: I mean, don't you just hate Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich and all those mean Republicans? And how about National Public Radio, isn't it, totally nonadventurous and establishment? And doesn't Top-Forty completely bite? What little wisdom there is to be found in this landscape apparently comes mainly from grungy Seattle rockers like Nirvana and Pearl Jam (those who believe that truth resides in rock lyrics will be particularly taken with this book). By the end, Vowell is justly sick and tired of radio, of the noise and chatter, the hate and spew and ``all the stupidity.'' Unfortunately, one of those rare books in which subject and author are in near-perfect harmony. Read full book review >