State by State

50 Writers, 50 States. When you get a smorgasbord like this, you’re bound to have some stinky fish in the barrel. But there’s also some pleasant treats, like John Hodgeman’s Massachusetts essay, Joshua Ferris’s Florida with mention of winning the essay contest and getting to float about the salt bogs with Jimmy Buffet, Iowa depicted through Dagoberto Gilb’s eyes – the hidden immigrant population harvesting corn, Ha Jin’s Georgia, Charles Bock’s Nevada with parents operating pawn store on Fremont St during the pre-Strip days, and Colorado as described by Benjamin Kunkel makes me want to move there.
I didn’t enjoy the Dave Eggers Illinois, the Sara Vowell Montana, but the Anthony Bourdain New Jersey was ok. The California essay was ridiculously bad, probably because I am wildly biased against anyone stereotyping San Francisco as an S&M paradise and not much more.
Another highlight – the list of tables at the end of the book, from population, birth rate, median age, and rate of toothlessness. Awesome.

auth=Weiland, Matt and Sean Wilsey
sub=A Panoramic Portrait of America