Melissa H. (McKees Rocks, PA)
Story by Story
Like most anthologies there were essays I liked and essays I didn't. Many seemed to have a negative tone regarding the state they were selected to write about. Yet there were gems throughout the book that have instilled a desire in me to travel cross country to see some of these wonderful locations!
I enjoyed the different writing styles and formats (i.e. interview, graphic novel) that were interspersed throughout the book.
Sande O. (Rochester, NY)
The Best Vacation I've Had Without Leaving Home
If you're looking for a snapshot of every state in the union, plus the District of Columbia and don't have the money or time this year for a visit: State by State is a great book to read. The editors have solicited essays, and in one case a cartoon essay, by some very talented authors who give a very personal panorama of their state. Though it is loosely based on the Depression era WPA guides, here each view is as different in style and perspective as the the state itself. I found myself attracted to states where I have lived: New York, Wyoming, Ohio and DC. Then places I have spent a lot of time and finally drive-by locations and virgin territory. I enjoyed them all. Accompanying each essay is a one-page almanac listing of the population, state flower, age distribution, etc. and the end of the book are Bureau of Census tables ranking states according to all sorts of arcane groupings. In the end though, the appeal of this book is the affect the states have on the authors and their lives. It is a fun, thought-provoking book that you can pick up whenever the wanderlust hits you and you are stuck at home.
Karen B. (Pittsburgh, PA)
50 Ways to Leave Your State of Boredom
Interesting, informative and entertaining essays which showcase the diversity and uniqueness of America. There is humor (Illinois), beauty (Hawaii), revelation (Kentucky), the paranormal (Louisiana), seediness (Florida), poverty (Arizona), connection (Alaska), dampness (Washington), cruelty (California), history (Idaho), farming (Minnesota). You are shown how one can ache for a place (Mississippi), fear the loss of a place (Connecticut), or lose yourself in a place (Washington). The best way to enjoy this book is to savor it by reading a few essays at a time. Treat yourself to this book. You may not enjoy all of the essays equally, but, as a collection, they will enrich your understanding of this great country and broaden your horizons.
How did I manage to remain ignorant of Constantine Rafinesque?
Phoenix M. (Eclectic, AL)
A Great Road Trip - State by State
This is not a boring public relations hype about each state. The reader gets to meet interesting characters in every location. We are introduced to the wicked and the wise.
Each author's style is so refreshing. They express pride in their state, but are honest regarding some embarrassing parts of their history.
The reader will want to visit the landscapes described in this book. Who knows what wonders we will find. Carrie Browstein ends her view of Washington State by saying, "...There will always be wilderness to discover, and wilderness we'll never know."
Start planning your adventure now and don't forget to pack State by State.
Gary R. (bolingbrook, IL)
the good old usa
I went into this book with a little trepidation. I don't usually read a lot of non-fiction. 50 by 50, great, a bunch of writers telling me why their state is the greatest right! well after reading the intro alone I could tell that was not to be - some of the writers didn't even live in the state they were writing about. I found the book to be absolutely fascinating. Little known historical events,trips down to the end of the road. The mountains,valleys,cities,and small towns that make this country what it is. Read this book, read it by your favorite author, your favorite state, or just from page one to the last. I loved it!
Jeff M. (Morris Plains, NJ)
State-By-State Worth The Trip
One of the benefits of an anthology like State-By-State is that it allows you to choose what you want to read in any particular order. The state portraits are varied -- some personal, some historical and all generally informative and interesting. I tended to read first those states that I have a particular interest in and, as the authors stated, there were three writers vying to write about my home state of New Jersey.
Supplementing the articles are statistical information about the subject state and comparative data ranking all states on a particular topic (who knew that Wyoming has the highest gasoline consumption per person).
State-by-State is a good way to spend some time reading about a few of the states, then be able to pick it up again to continue the journey. If I had one quibble with the book it is that I would have liked to have seen a little more background on each of the authors rather than just the sentence or two that is included.
Overall, State-by-State is worth the time and investment.
Peggy K. (Long Beach, CA)
From Sea to Shining Sea
When I asked to review this book I wasn't sure what I would be getting. I was very pleased to find that it is a wonderful arrangement of statistics and short writings about every state in the union.
This is not a book you just zip through. You will want to keep it on your bookshelf for days when you want to do some reading and feel like learning about other states. Americans generally do not know much about most of our states. This book will educate you in a fun way. The writings are varied and I assure you that you will be surprised what you learn about some states.
Use the statistics to help your children learn as well and make a game of it. Take it on a trip and read a couple of states at a time.
I am very pleased that I asked for this book and I'm sure that anyone who buys it will find the same.