Saturday Night

Saturday Night

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by Susan Orlean
     
 

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Twenty years ago, before she wrote The Orchid Thief or was hailed as “a national treasure” by The Washington Post, Susan Orlean was a journalist with a question: What makes Saturday night so special? To answer it, she embarked on a remarkable journey across the country and spent the evening with all sorts of people in all sorts of…  See more details below

Overview

Twenty years ago, before she wrote The Orchid Thief or was hailed as “a national treasure” by The Washington Post, Susan Orlean was a journalist with a question: What makes Saturday night so special? To answer it, she embarked on a remarkable journey across the country and spent the evening with all sorts of people in all sorts of places—hipsters in Los Angeles, car cruisers in small-town Indiana, coeds in Boston, the homeless in New York, a lounge band in Portland, quinceañera revelers in Phoenix, and more—to chronicle the one night of the week when we do the things we want to do rather than the things we need to do. The result is an irresistible portrait of how Saturday night in America is lived that remains.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Tight, clean prose and thoughtful observations make this series of essays about the Saturday night experience hum with all the vitality and activity of its subject. Freelance writer Orlean demonstrates a fine eye for detail as she describes an array of Saturday night activities: partying, watching television, geriatric polka dancing, working in a missile silo or simply cruising the streets. She explores the mystique that has grown up around Saturday night, the one night that allows significant variety and opportunity for socialization. Also examined is the seemingly random violence that occurs more often on Saturday night than at any other time. But whether discussing the social etymology of the phrase ``Saturday Night Special'' or the tribulations of arriving after 9 p.m. at the video store, which earlier ``would probably still have some color movies available,'' the book reveals much about ourselves. First serial to the New Yorker, Spy, New England Monthly, Washington Post, Boston Globe and the New York Times. (May)
Library Journal
Held in almost reverential awe by many, Saturday night is an American icon, important to our culture and perhaps necessary to our psychological make-up, according to journalist Orlean. Traveling the country to find out what people do on Saturday night to make it so special, she attended a coming-of-age celebration for Hispanic girls in Phoenix known as a quinceanera ; a polka dance at Blob's Park in Jessup, Maryland; a snobbish New York socialite's dinner party; and a host of other activities each more fascinating than the last. Nonjudgmental, nearly as fun to read as the occurrences it describes, this fascinating book is also a powerful, incisive tract mapping out heretofore unexplored sociological terrain. An excellent addition to popular reading and sociology collections.--Mark Annichiarico, ``Library Journal''
From the Publisher
“I can’t think of a better way to spend Saturday night than staying home and reading this book.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Orlean’s high spirits and intelligence give her book the feeling of a good Saturday-night conversation. Her chapters are like beginnings of suspenseful novels.” —USA Today

“An unusual and entertaining cultural profile . . . with the drollness of her prose, the sharpness of her ear and eye, and her breadth of curiosity . . . Enlightening.” —Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

“Delightful . . . Entertaining and interesting . . . A pleasant reminder of how we are at once united by certain of our national customs yet divided by the individual or tribal ways in which we celebrate them.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

“Orlean, a quirky curator of modern cultural behavior . . . has documented those few hours so near and dear to every working-weeker. . . . A slide show shot in vivid Americana.” —Matthew Gilbert, The Boston Globe

“Amusing and informative . . . Orlean has a nearly unerring ear and eye for the pithy and the illuminating.” —David Finkle, Chicago Tribune

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451661019
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
08/16/2011
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
887,426
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. She is the author of seven books, including Rin Tin Tin, Saturday Night, and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award–winning film Adaptation. She lives with her family and her animals in upstate New York and may be reached at SusanOrlean.com and Twitter.com/SusanOrlean.

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