Assassination Vacation

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Assassination Vacation
by Sarah Vowell
★★★★☆

I love Vowell’s sense of humor. She’s sarcastic, yet somehow sincere. She’s an unashamed nerd and history buff, which is awesome, because I am too. Assassination is Vowell at her best. She chronicles her travels around New England as she visits spots relevant to Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley’s assassins.

She fills the book with a blend of historical facts, hilarious trivia bits and personal anecdotes. I always feel like I’m learning something while reading her books, but at the same time she cracking me up. She makes presidential assassinations incredibly entertaining.

The audio versions of Vowell’s books are particularly good. Like David Sedaris’ work, she reads her own books and so she provides the perfect pauses and inflections for maximum hilarity. She also manages to get an all-star cast of people to read lines for her supporting characters. Everyone from Dave Eggers to Conon O’Brien to John Stewart chime in for a line or two.

I can’t say enough to recommend her work. Whether she’s talking about being stuck in a flowery Bed & Breakfast with old people or describing her nephew’s name for graveyards (Halloween parks), she nails every scene. If you’ve never read anything she’s written, please check her out. Assassination Vacation is a great place to start.

Here's another review at Unputdownables.

14 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

I have to vigorously stick my hand in the air and confirm that her audios are a piece of work. Don't read the print version of you can help it! I have also listened to The Wordy Shipmates, and have her new relaase ordered from the library as I speak!

Kristi said...

I've never heard of Sarah Vowell, but her sense of humor sounds like it's a style that I would love. I'll have to see if my library carries any of her books. I have yet to try any audiobooks, but this sounds like one of her books would be a good way to start.

Jenners said...

I keep hearing how great this book is. I think I shall have to make it my next Audible download!

Falaise said...

I've never heard of her either but this one sounds like my kind of thing. I'll have to read it in print though - for some reason audiobooks and I don't get on.

Avid Reader said...

Sandy - You should check out The Partly Cloudy Patriot too. I loved that one.

Kristi/Jenners/Falaise - Definitely check her out. This is a great place to start.

nomadreader said...

I've wanted to read this book for far too many years. I finally picked it up at the library, and I hope to get started soon!

Jeanne said...

I loved the audio of The Wordy Shipmates, so when I saw this one on the audio shelf at the library this week, I checked it out in preparation for a family car trip this week, with a couple of Nick Hornby novels as backup. Sounds like I should propose this one first.

Avid Reader said...

nomadreader - Enjoy!

Jeanne - You can't go wrong with this or with Hornby. Enjoy your trip!

Monica said...

I've never heard of her. Never been to America either, but I'm always drawn to New England, especially Maine (right area, yes? lol). SO this would be a good one to try out.

Captain Nick Sparrow said...

I just got The Wordy Shipmates last month since so many people on LT seemed to like it. I'm happy to hear you like the author too!

Avid Reader said...

Monica - Yes, read it and then come visit the US!

Captain - LT folks tend to have great recommendations. Enjoy!

Nymeth said...

I have not read her before, but she sounds like someone I would love.

Swapna said...

I absolutely loved this one on audio - I'm just sad it was abridged!

Avid Reader said...

Nymeth - Definitely try her out, hilarious.

Swapna - That's awful! My audio was unabridged. I'm a stickler for that and refuse to read anything abridged. It's like seeing the movie and thinking you know the whole story from the book.