After some initial confusion about whether or not author (and celebrity) Sarah Vowell, herself, would be in attendance at last night’s gathering of The Artist’s Bookshelf (she would NOT), we settled into an interesting conversation about her most recent book, ASSASSINATION VACATION, and its curious relationship to the Walker’s current Warhol exhibit, all of which led to intriguing speculation about the very nature of celebrity, itself, and how we, as Americans, often seem to be simultaneously drawn and repulsed by its powers.
We all found the book to be an intriguing, and irreverently humorous journey into the heart of America’s cultural fascination with violence (specifically assassinations), and our sometimes bizarre tendency to iconize and memorialize these events through plaques, historical markers, and pilgrimages.
We generally agreed that Ms. Vowell (along with McSweeny-esque writers Dave Eggers and David Sedaris) speaks for a new literary generation, (dare we demography it as Generation Y?) whose caustic and sarcastic surface more often than not belies an underlyingly soft and tender heart of emotional gold.
We wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone with as much as a passing interest in assassinations, the Civil War, vacations, Sleater-Kinney, 19th Century sex cults, or the t-shirts worn by Timothy McVeigh.