The Roads Taken is a big-hearted book, a thoughtful and wryly affectionate rendering of our national character as revealed to Fred Setterberg in his extensive readings and wanderings. At once a travelogue and memoir, a literary history and extended nature piece, The Roads Taken reconnects Americans to each other and to the land they live and work in - and often forsake. FrThe Roads Taken is a big-hearted book, a thoughtful and wryly affectionate rendering of our national character as revealed to Fred Setterberg in his extensive readings and wanderings. At once a travelogue and memoir, a literary history and extended nature piece, The Roads Taken reconnects Americans to each other and to the land they live and work in - and often forsake. From Henry David Thoreau's Maine Woods to Jack London's San Francisco Bay, from Ernest Hemingway's Upper Peninsula to Zora Neale Hurston's French Quarter, Setterberg pilots readers across the well-traveled pages of our national literature and the well-read contours of the American landscape. He acquaints us anew with the books and ideas that, time after time, have pried us from our self-centered moorings and set us into physical and metaphysical motion. The Roads Taken begins, fittingly, with a discussion between Setterberg and his nineteen-year-old vagabond cousin, Wally, about Jack Kerouac, invoking the Beat writer's spirit as they swap stories about hitchhiking and one-night stands, Setterberg praises Kerouac as perhaps the best of our "bad influence" writers - an author whose stories make people quit their jobs and give away their possessions, whose books are among the first to be banned or burned while formulaic and forgettable best-sellers look on with impunity. Spurred on by Wally (whose next stop is Alaska), Setterberg takes to the road. In chapters inspired by and devoted to particular writers and locales, he visits Red Cloud, Nebraska, a prairie hamlet virtually unknown except as Willa Cather's hometown, and tours across Texas, a state known for all the wrong things until Larry McMurtry distilled a century ofdimestore cowboy novels into his pure and beautiful literature of loneliness. He travels to Nevada, where the budding fabulist Mark Twain honed his truth-stretching skills as a reporter for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, and to New Orleans, where Zora Neale Hurston immersed herself in the voodoo rituals she later alluded to in her study of black folklore, Mules and Men. Exiting the paved roads, Setterberg searches for the solace that Nick Adams, Hemingway's internally scarred World War I veteran, might have found in the forests along Lake Superior. He also trails Thoreau deep into the mountains of central Maine for just one glimpse of the adroitly evasive moose. Setterberg's meandering narrative is fertile in unexpected associations, personal memories, and historical asides; redolent with vegetation, hot coffee, and automobile exhaust; and clamorous with strains of soul and country music, laughter, and argument. In its hints at the racism and apathy in this country, and its images of our adulterated skies and waterways, the book is also disturbing. Its accumulated details only suggest the natural and cultural treasures that Setterberg fears we could lose to the "blanding" of America - the rampaging, wide-scale forces of sameness that seem intent on smoothing out our rough edges and disarming the crankiness that characterizes our country at its most local levels. Caught up in Setterberg's Whitmanesque longing to roam widely and embrace whatever comes his way, readers will skip their lunches, unplug their televisions, and let their lawns grow shaggy while they finish The Roads Taken. Then, turning to a friend, or perhaps the stranger who read the book over their shoulder on acrosstown bus ride, they will delight in passing it on. ...
|Title||:||The Roads Taken: Travels Through America's Literary Landscapes|
|Number of Pages||:||182 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Roads Taken: Travels Through America's Literary Landscapes Reviews
A great scholar might know three writers well enough to speculate and summerize their lives and landscapes insightfully in a tributary encomium. The author here profiles 12+.I was allured by this theme, conceptually, of knowing a place by its fictions. I read a pile of walking tour books recently, making faulty mental maps, and insouciantly moving my head into them, a number of them at once, not bothering to unpack, just accumulating the mess of use in a few new hypothetical places. The minute chapters, illustrations, named after writers cum victims, read like blurbs in a careless college newspaper. Dear things I've read in 2009, a series of articles bound between a cardstock cover is not the same thing as a book. -Thanks
This book suffered a bit in my mind because it wasn't what I expected. I expected an exploration of how landscapes can shape literature--and how visiting those landscapes can change how you feel about books. As it turns out, the book was more a collection of essays and travel memoir. Sure, he writes about the places and how these places make him think of certain books and authors. The essays themselves are well-written, and I still enjoyed reading it. He weaves together the connections in beautiful ways, but there were long passages in multiple essays where I couldn't figure out how it all connected. Not a bad book, but I can't quite get over my disappointment.
I enjoyed the essay on Jack London Square, my favorite place in Oakland.
you really need to be familiar with the authors in order to enjoy the book. Thus, I enjoyed about 2/3 of it.
This book is well worth a read--surprisingly witty and anecdotally wise. You learn a lot about favorite authors and favorite places in America they inhabited too.