Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Review: Roads to Quoz by William Least-Heat Moon

Between moving 3 times in the same city, taking two trips out of country, and actually having a job, this one took a while to read. The fact that it weighs in at 608 pages didn't hurt, either. But what a 608 pages it was.

Roads to Quoz is about William Least-Heat Moon's travels around the U.S. It's really six different books in one, as he goes to the Pine Belt South, Southeast, Southwest, Northeast, Great Plains, and Mid-Atlantic. All the trips are different and are quite stand alone, and they are all a lot of fun together, as well. As much as I appreciate his missives about places I've been, like Columbus, OH or Baltimore, MD, I enjoy the exotic parts a bit more. And to be honest, I didn't enjoy the Baltimore bit at all. He enjoyed Baltimore way too much and didn't understand how bored and white-bread that city is. But maybe that's just me.

My favorite part, I suppose, was his writing on the Great Plains. He does a good job of showing just how alien and hostile to Yankee life it is. Which is also, of course, why its fantastic. And the stories he has from his time out there are some of the greatest stories I've heard.

So it's a fun book. It'd a good beach read / travel book and there are enough bits in it for everyone, from screeds against development to snippets of married life to stories about him growing up and trying to find a job as a young somethingorother. And to be honest, pretty inspiring, all in all. While reading it, I was more-than-a-little convinced to go back to the states and just...backpack. Hit the road. Something like that. I even hinted at such earlier in this space.

And now that its looking that I may stick around, after all, its nice to have wistful books about America. Or maybe not America as it is, but definitely America as I'd like it to be. Small-town. Mostly flat. Full of interesting people and stories. Toqueville's America is a good America, I have to say. One worth coming back to, at the least.

And in addition, here's a great interview with LHM. And, if you go down the left sidebar, its an interview with just about every other fantastic author as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment