Book Notification

Sarah Vowell Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Collections

Take the Cannoli (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Partly Cloudy Patriot (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Radio On: A Listener's Diary (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assassination Vacation (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wordy Shipmates (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Unfamiliar Fishes (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017(2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Sarah Vowell is best known as an entertainment and non-fiction novelist whose works on culture and American history have been New York Times bestsellers.

She has been known for providing insight into the American present and past as she provides humorous and sometimes personal accounts of American history in addition to politics and current events.
Sarah was born in Oklahoma even though she now calls Bozeman Montana her home. Growing up, she went to Bozeman Senior High School and then proceeded to Michigan State University.

Given that she grew up in a college town, she believes that she was significantly shaped by her formative years. Bozeman was a very open-minded town and for the most part, its bohemianism was kept in check by its Western surroundings.
When she was studying at MSU, she studied a lot of history, even most of it was about guys wearing cowboy hats with many of these characters hating the paintings of Kandinsky.

Still, she has lived most of her life equally spread between New York City, Montana, and Oklahoma with a little time in the likes of San Francisco and Chicago. She has said that she has never been one to stay in one place for long, which perhaps explains why she has lived all over the United States.

Vowell never set out to become the renowned commentator and author that she is today. When she was in her teenage years, she was obsessed with music and all she dreamed about was making a living playing music and writing.

However, she believed that she was not talented enough and by the time she turned twenty, she had all but given up. She quit his dreams of writing and ended up in college studying art history.

Surprisingly it was in art history class that she began writing as she was required to write all manner of essays and term papers. During this time, she dreamed of studying art history for her graduate degree but she did not qualify.

She would end up at the Art Institute of Chicago. It was here that she met Ira Glass that was then just launching “This American Life” his radio show. Sara Vowell would then begin working for Glass and over time, her writing took on a more narrative form.
One day, she wrote a documentary in which she drove across the Trail of Tears with her sister and this was the time she fell in love with history writing. She would end up publishing her debut work “Assassination Vacation” in 2005.

As for her radio career, she began working for her campus station KGLT while still in school. However, she believes that the one place that had the biggest impact on her career has to be writing for the MSU student newspaper the “Exponent.”

Early on, she made use of the many clips she had to get into writing for weekly newspapers and magazines. Nonetheless working for KGLT has to one of the most crucial experiences she had in college.

Aged just 18, she had been employed for her first gig in radio and given how young she was, it inspired a lot of confidence in herself. That combined with meeting so many scholarly, funny, and freewheeling characters at work gave her an appreciation for team endeavors.
While writing has turned out to be a very lonely pursuit, she still tries to get involved in group projects and has been involved in several such as “McSweeney’s” and “This American Life.”

Sarah Vowell’s “Assassination Vacation” is a work that seeks to expose the conundrums of American culture and history with probity, wit, and an irreverent sense of humor.

In this work, the author takes her readers on a journey that takes pit stops at political murders and the many ways that they have been used for profit and fun, for cultural and political advantage.

Vowell visits the many locations influenced and immortalized by bloodshed as she reports with her trademark thought-provoking criticism, remarkable honesty, and wisecracking humor.

She tells of Robert Todd Lincoln who was present at the assassination of McKinley, Garfield, and Lincoln. Vowell thus writes an informative and entertaining travelogue that tells the fascinating and disturbing story of how death has been used in popular culture.
Exploring themes of violence and loss, she sometimes makes detours to investigate the making of the Republican Party among many other lighter diversions.

But ultimately this is the story of three presidents and how they were assassinated that sometimes includes mean-spirited totem poles, show tunes, mummies, and a biblical sex cult from the nineteenth century.

“The Partly Cloudy Patriot” by Sarah Vowell is a work that came out during one of the most interesting times in the history of the United States.

It was just after the September 11 terrorist attacks which makes it a poignant work as the author proclaims her love for America and its values even if she decries the direction it has taken.
She disdained the Bush presidency and was often put off by people using the American flag to dominate and separate rather than unite.

Sara Vowell’s writing about the times is fascinating. She lived in a world in which the US had taken a bizarre slant and she believed it was nothing but a mockery of what it once was.
However, it is not all doom and gloom as she writes of other things as well. She tells of visiting New York, her love for Abraham Lincoln, and her experiences working with the curators of presidential libraries.

Sarah Vowell’s novel “The Wordy Shipmates” explores the world of the Puritans and how they made their way to America to establish a great civilization.

To this day America is viewed as a Puritan nation but the author investigates the deeper meaning of this. Sarah investigates their political enterprise and the moral, spiritual, and philosophical inclinations of people that were ancestors of the nation.
What Sarah finds out is very different from the stereotypical corn reputation and shoe buckles suggest. She finds people that are surprisingly feisty, deeply principled, and highly literate. Just like anyone they have bloody vengeance, witty courtroom drama, and pamphlet feuds.

She asks questions such as Was John Winthrop the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony a conformity tyrannical enforcer, Christlike Christian, or communitarian? Was Roger Williams the architect of Rhode Island the father of the first amendment or a founding freak?
It makes for a special brand of esoteric and bizarre stories that is fascinating fun and relevant.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Sarah Vowell

Leave a Reply