The Partly Cloudy Patriot: Should You Read or Listen?

“Being a nerd, which is to say going too far and caring too much about a subject, is the best way to make friends I know.” – Sarah Vowell, The Partly Cloudy Patriot

My weekly post to help you decide the best format to enjoy a book.  Without further ado:

Should you read or listen to The Partly Cloudy Patriot, by Sarah Vowell?

The Afthead Summary:

You should read The Partly Cloudy Patriot if you meet any of the following criteria:  you like history, you are a nerd, you are a twin, you know a twin, you like playing arcade games, you enjoy politics, you vote, you’ve heard someone inappropriately compare themselves to Rosa Parks, you like Tom Cruise, you dislike Tom Cruise, you like antique maps, you like paper cups of pickles, or you have conflict with your family on major holidays.  This little book of essays is a favorite of mine, and whenever I’m feeling down or want to feel smarter I re-read it or re-listen to it.  Sarah’s take on every topic is witty, intelligent, and enjoyable.  Full disclosure, I’d like Sarah Vowell to be my friend.  We are about the same age, and enjoy many similar things, but she’s way smarter than I am.  I like having smart friends.  We could spend hours together going in depth into nerdy topics we care too much about.  Bliss.


This is a great read.  It’s also a great book to have on hand for random gifts for random people.  Forgot a housewarming present?  Need a graduation present?  Hostess gift?  Just pull out a copy of The Partly Cloudy Patriot and you’ll delight the recipient.  Regardless of political orientation there is something in here for everyone.  (Well, you may want to take out the chapter on the Bush inauguration for die-hard Republicans.)  Because it a set of smaller writings it’s easy to enjoy a quick tidbit about history, politics, careers, and families.  I recommend this for everyone.


The audiobook is an even higher level of awesomeness.  Sarah reads the book herself, and her nasal voice lends a perfect nerd feel to the book: you’ll learn about the importance of the nerd voice if you read.  Then, she has a series of guest readers for the famous characters in the book.  Perhaps you’ve head of some of them: Conan O’Brien, Seth Green, David Cross or Stephen Colbert?  Oh, and They Might be Giants did all the music for the book.  It’s a cross entertainment genre bonanza!



I must say that I’m not enough of a history buff to really enjoy the other book I listened to by Sarah Vowell: Assassination Vacation.  Her history is entertaining, but too thorough for my enjoyment.  However, nonfiction is not really my favorite, so don’t make too much of my opinion on her more historical works.

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