Monday, October 01, 2007

The Wordy Shipmates

I'm very excited about Sarah Vowell's new book ......

Sarah Vowell is the acclaimed author of four bestselling books and Her fifth book, The Wordy Shipmates, a history of American Puritans, will be published in 2008.

Her book Assassination Vacation (2005) is a hilarious and haunting road trip to tourist sites devoted to the murders of presidents Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. She is also the author of the essay collections The Partly Cloudy Patriot (2002) and Take the Cannoli (2000), and Radio On (1997), a diary of a year spent listening to American radio. Her intricately produced audio books feature the voices of Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, Tony Kushner, Brad Bird, Norman Lear, Stephen Colbert and Catherine Keener, as well as the music of Michael Giacchino and They Might Be Giants.

except from an interview about the book...

Well, good, that leads me to my next question which is what are you working on now? Well, a couple of things. In the short term I’m working on a piece about the painting American Gothic for the Harvard Guide to American Literature. That’s what I’m doing today. But mainly what I’m doing right now is writing a book about the Puritans, specifically 17th century Boston and Rhode Island…Fun!

Have you named the book yet? Yeah, it’s called The Wordy Shipmates.

How did you get interested in this topic? I have my favorite Puritans and they’re all so different from each other, bickering with each other and banishing each other from Massachusetts. The stars of Puritanism always seemed like such interesting individuals to me; especially their writings. I mean, I love a good sermon where devils are walking the streets in chains and there’s a lot at stake. I always found them so much more interesting than people give them credit for. And the two things that interest me most about them are sort of the two things that interest me most about life, which are words and, for lack of a better word, community. They have this incredible communitarian ethos that was both really idealistic and incredibly strangling, probably. And they were just so obsessed with words, especially the Bible, but they were incredibly literate. Words and other people were two of their biggest concerns. I have all these ideals about community but I’m a really individualist loner type person and so I’m fascinated by other people and also completely repelled by other people. That all may sound incredibly high-minded but I also have things in the book like the Mayflower waterslide and a trip to the Mohegan Sun [casino].