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Reviews
Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard
Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly
Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon
Borrowed Crime by Laurie Cass
Dark Days by James Ponti
Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood
The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan
Doctor Who: The Roots of Evil by Philip Reeve
The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Crazy Critter Race by Maxwell Eaton III
For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu
Fred and Ted's Road Trip by Peter Eastman
Free Fall by David Wiesner
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
Ghostbusters: Get Real by Erik Burnham
Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia
Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 3: 1983-1984 by Ed Piskor
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper
The Master of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood
Nothing Up My Sleeve by Diana López
Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by Kimberly and James Dean
The Pharos Gate by Nick Bantock
Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
The River by Alessandro Sanna
Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat by Gary Paulsen
The Sleepover by Jen Malone
Threadbare by Monica Ferris
To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson
Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Miscellaneous
Diversity report for September 2016

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Blue Highways: 09/04/16

Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon

Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon is an account of his road trip around the edges of the continental United States in 1980. I recently re-read this book as part of my research on the road trip narrative.

When I first read it, I was snowed in at a cabin in Pine Cove, California. I wanted to be anywhere but that cabin and Heat-Moon's road trip was my armchair escape. Heat-Moon's trip was also one of escape and of self-discovery — a way to find his place as a person of mixed ancestry.

a map of the route

The title refers to the author's decision to steer clear of the interstates whenever possible. He wanted to see the smallest towns, the ones with odd names. He didn't want to suffer the "tyranny of the freeway" (p. 43). As noted in The Lincoln Highway: Coast to Coast from Time Square to the Golden Gate by Michael Wallis and Michael S. Williamson, Heat-Moon's journey is in the proud tradition of the shunpikers — those who stay off the big roads in order to truly experience the great American road trip.

Blue Highways is a hybrid road trip. It starts neither somewhere truly urban (not one of the massive coastal cities such as Washington DC, New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles. Columbia, Missouri is a small city by their standards. Even by San Francisco, it's small. It's also located in the mid-west, a place that's passed-through in the journey from one coast to the other or from the city to the rural haven. Finally it's a circuitous route, one where the little dots on the map are the point, rather than the distractions.

The typical road trip story, whether fiction or nonfiction, is from the point of view of a white middle class male who in turn stops to visit with other white middle class people along the way. The United States in its narratives tends to whitewash. Heat-Moon's road trip did exactly the opposite; he sought out the stories not usually told.

That's not to say everyone he spoke to were minorities. He spoke to both sides, though his accounts of his white conversations are more charged and the inherent racism is glaringly obvious. It can't hide; it can't be swept under the carpet against the stories of oppression, racial profiling, poverty, danger.

As with all my other research reading, I live blogged my favorite quotes on Tumblr.

Four stars

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