Nonfiction Book Club Part 1 and February Poll

January 12, 2017 Uncategorized 7

Since I’m a little behind schedule getting through this one, I’m posting questions this morning and I’ll add my answers tonight. If I’m honest, reading this one has been a bit of a mixed experience. There are parts I’ve really enjoyed, but also a few parts that I’ve found pretty boring (the history of how wagons were built, anyone?).  Hopefully you’ve all found at least some parts enjoyable too! I guess I’ll find out, because here are our questions for the first half of the book:1. What made you want to pick up this book?

I wanted to pick this book up because I’d heard good things about it, but it definitely appealed to me more because of my nostalgia for the Oregon Trail games! I have to admit that I hadn’t even really read the description, so I was surprised that it was a stunt memoir and not just a history. I also have to admit I mostly added this question to see if anyone else was excited about the book because of the games 🙂

2. If you ever decided to write a stunt memoir like this, what sort of stunt might you write about?

I would probably want to do something like Patty Chang Anker’s Some Nerve (trying to be braver), Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, or Rachel Bertsche’s MWF Seeking BFF (proactively looking for friends). I’m more excited about trying to improve myself and my life than I am about adventure. I’d also love to do a photography project, to get better at that. And if I could come up with a way to make a reading project as interesting as A.J. Jacobs’, I’d consider that too!

3. Would you ever want to repeat the author’s trip?

No way! It sounds uncomfortable and not very rewarding to me. I’m all travelling and seeing nature, but I’m OK with those being two separate activities so that I can travel more than 30 miles in a day.

4. If you did repeat this journey, are there any non-essentials you think you’d try to bring, like the author’s shoe polish, bocce balls, and salad spinner?

Books, for sure! But probably my kindle. I really couldn’t believe how impractical his choices were. If I had to repeat his trip, I’d research extensively and make sure I had only the best, most essential equipment. Except for my kindle, which I really wouldn’t be willing to give up!

5. How are you enjoying the book so far?

Honestly, it’s been hit or miss for me. I really didn’t ever need to know as much about how wagons were built as I know now. I’m not completely interested in his family history or how every aspect of the Oregon Trail apparently encapsulates everything in America history (seems hyperbolic to me). But some of the stories about individual people who originally travelled the trail were fascinating. His own adventures with mules were pretty gripping too! The writing is also a mixed bag. I don’t have a problem with authors who write conversationally and swear a bit, but the way this author jumps between that style and more formal writing pulls me out of the story.

    This is a required question
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7 Responses to “Nonfiction Book Club Part 1 and February Poll”

  1. TJ @ MyBookStrings

    I was fascinated by the part about the history of mules in America and wagon building. 🙂 Actually, I loved every part of the book that talked about the Trail, the people who traveled it, and the challenges he faced traveling it today. While I wouldn’t want to make the trip he did (even if I had the money, time, and knowledge), I am inspired to go west to see some of the areas he drove through myself. (I’ve been wanting to do that already, but my plans are a bit more concrete now.)
    I could have done without the parts about his father, especially in the latter part of the book, and I could have done without some of his personal opinions on some things. That’s what pulled me out of the story, but despite that, I found the book overall very enjoyable. With all the research, time, and money he put into preparing for the trip though, I could not believe some of the things he packed for the trip! I’m not sure why he would think he might need a salad spinner. And I don’t know why he included that tidbit in the book. Was it to show us how he needed the trip to “step back” from his personal problems or that he is not taking himself too seriously?
    I do think a lot of what he says about how the Trail encapsulates American history is true, although I am not convinced by all of his claims. This is something I’ll be thinking about for a while, before I make up my mind.
    In any case, I hope you enjoy the second half of the book a bit more.
    TJ @ MyBookStrings recently posted…Pleasantly Goosebumpy: The Girl With All the GiftsMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      Great comments, TJ! I’m glad you enjoyed so much of the book and I also think his personal opinions were the things I could most have done without. I couldn’t believe the things he chose to bring either! I did get more into this with the second half though 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      Great comments, TJ! I’m glad you enjoyed so much of the book and I also think his personal opinions were the things I could most have done without. I couldn’t believe the things he chose to bring either! I did get more into this with the second half though 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      No worries! I’m excited to take a break before the next one so that everyone has more time to get the book and hopefully I can do a better job getting all the questions posted earlier too 🙂