Notes To Self: Stream Of Consciousness, by Tim Yearneau
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BooksGoSocial/Net Gallery/the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
This review is what happens when an author goes above and beyond to make sure that a reviewer gets the book. I originally requested this book on Net Gallery because the title looked interesting but was unable to get to the book before it archived, but the author followed up wondering where the book was and then was able to send me both a .pdf and .mobi so that I would be able to read and review it. At under 200 pages, I was able to make it my fourth book of the day read during the evening, finishing a bit later at night than I would have preferred but still without any real trouble. In looking at the book, I found it to be more than a little bit Nathanish, as it greatly resembled to me a collection of somewhat random but connected thoughts tied to one’s travel, which had the feel of my own travelogue writings combined into one volume . I consider that to be a good thing, though I am not sure everyone would agree.
The book as a whole consists of about fifteen chapters that are written in a somewhat whimsical way centered on the author’s trip to Atlanta for a national NEA conference given his job as an educator. He discusses the issue of being late for planes and barely avoiding trouble, his tendency to get lost on the roads in Atlanta (a pretty easy thing to do), his desire to try out fine BBQ places in the area and interview waitresses, managers, and owners of the various family-owned joints he finds, his escapades at the conference in terms of politicking and interacting with others, including a prostitute and a beggar, his political and social views, his thoughts on Coca-Cola, the 1996 Olympics, southern hospitality, the Civil Rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr in particular, and so on. The chapters have a tendency to ramble but they do so in a generally thoughtful and often entertaining way, and one gets the feeling that given the author’s creativity at writing and his tendency to connect things together in something approaching divine providence that nearly every trip of his could become an extended bit of writing, something which tends to happen to me as well.
I found this book to be highly enjoyable to read, largely because the author’s approach to his travels as an opportunity to get to know people outside of his circle, try out new places and explore a locality, and to think deeply about its history and culture are very similar to my own. I could recognize the author as a kindred soul when it came to overanalyzing the events of one’s life and especially the mind-expanding opportunities of travel. That said, the author was not someone whose worldview I found necessarily similar to my own, and those people who read books and view them based on the sociopolitical stances of the author will find much to disagree with here, especially given my distaste for the NEA as a whole and its operations as well as the fact that the author is a fairly typical Minnesota liberal with a liberal dose of white guilt, something I have no interest in indulging for myself. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the author and I have much to disagree with in terms of our worldview, the book’s less pleasant aspects were made easier to at least tolerate and view with indulgence because the author is so self-effacing about his own bumbling behavior that he takes the sting of offense out of what he says and does that may bother the reader. Overall, I found this book to be a generally enjoyable read about what others may have considered a fairly dull and ordinary conference but which in the capable hands of the author is an enjoyable travelogue.
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