Thursday, December 4, 2008
I spend a lot of time behind the wheel of a car. When I'm on my own, I love to listen to books on tape. Well, a book on tape: Middlemarch. For some strange reason, no one wants to listen to Middlemarch with me in the car! What is UP with that?
So for our recent trip to the O.B., I bought The Wordy Shipmates from iTunes (even though I'm becoming more and more certain that Apple is eeeeevvvviiilllll). This, I thought, would appeal equally to me and my history-loving hubby.
I loved it more. But I love Sarah Vowell. I love how meticulously researched and organized her books are at the same she maintains this off-the-cuff, breezy narrative (which is SO hard to do). I love the way she really gets to know the people she writes about, and forms thoughtful opinions about them. For example, I know she doesn't much like Roger Williams - but she loves him. I love the way she uses Happy Days to illuminate how our preconceptions about history reflect our own present. Seriously. I LOVE that.
Can you imagine what history lessons would have been like in high school if you'd learned about the Puritans from Sarah Vowell instead of some text book?
I'm a senior in high school. I'm in IB (advanced) history. Our teacher decides to show off a little by reciting the preamble to the Constitution. She ends with "... and for our prosperity." A girl says, "Um, it says 'posterity' here." The teacher says "Oh. They must have changed it." Seriously.
And even had my history teacher been competent, I bet she wouldn't have used Sarah Vowell in 1987 (mostly because Sarah Vowell was in her own senior history class in 1987).
Anyhoo - the point of all this: I love Sarah Vowell.