Way Off the Road: Discovering the Peculiar Charms of Small-Town Americaby Bill Geist, Patrick Lawlor
"In rural Kansas, I asked our motel desk clerk for the name of the best restaurant in the area. After mulling it over, he answered: 'I'd have to say the Texaco,/i>
Celebrated roving correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning and bestselling author Bill Geist serves up a rollicking look at some small-town Americans and their offbeat ways of life.
"In rural Kansas, I asked our motel desk clerk for the name of the best restaurant in the area. After mulling it over, he answered: 'I'd have to say the Texaco, 'cuz the Shell don't have no microwave.'"
Throughout his career, Bill Geist's most popular stories have been about slightly odd but loveable individuals. Coming on the heels of his 5,600-mile RV trip across our fair land is Way Off the Road, a hilarious and compelling mix of stories about the folks featured in Geist's segments, along with observations on his twenty years of life on the road. Written in the deadpan style that has endeared him to millions, Geist shares tales of eccentric individuals, such as the ninety-three-year-old pilot-paperboy who delivers to his far-flung subscribers by plane; the Arizona mailman who delivers mail via horseback down the walls of the Grand Canyon; the Muleshoe, Texas, anchorwoman who delivers the news from her bedroom (occasionally wearing her bathrobe); and the struggling Colorado entrepreneur who finds success employing a sewer vacuum to rid Western ranchers of problematic prairie dogs. Geist also takes us to events such as the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival (celebrating an inspiring bird that survived decapitation, hired an agent, and went on the road for eighteen months) and Sundown Days in Hanlontown, Iowa, where the town marks the one day a year when the sun sets directly between the railroad tracks.
Along the wacky and wonderful way, Geist shows us firsthand how life in fly-over America can be odd, strangely fascinating, hysterical, and anything but boring.
Writers from John Steinbeck to Bill Bryson to Charles Kuralt have made generations of people smile with their wry, humorous looks at American life off the interstate. Small towns retain a sense of community spirit that is all but lost in big cities. Little towns are proud of small accomplishments-a headless chicken that lived for several months, a hamburger place located in a church, a parade that stands still and lets visitors walk around it-that would often be overlooked in the crowded news pages of a metropolis. Geist is a commentator for CBS News (as was Kuralt), and his travels around America showing the weird, the wild, and the wonderful are popular features. Earphones Award-winning reader Patrick Lawlor captures the humor of Geist's writing, never presenting these people as small-town hicks but as clever grass-roots entrepreneurs who know how to seize some obscure person or event and make it into a celebration that people actually want to attend. It's a bit sad to say, but for economic survival many of these off-the-wall spots depend on getting tourists to their peculiar festivals. Listeners will enjoy the stories of these people who have, indeed, taken lemons and made some mighty sweet lemonade. Highly recommended for all collections.
Joseph L. Carlson
- Tantor Media, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Unabridged CD
- Product dimensions:
- 6.40(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.10(d)
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Meet the Author
Patrick Lawlor has recorded over three hundred audiobooks in just about every genre. He has been an Audie Award finalist several times and has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards. He has won a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, numerous Library Journal and Kirkus starred audio reviews, and multiple Editors' Picks, Top 10, and Year's Best lists.
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