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Eccentric America: The Bradt Guide to All That's Weird and Wacky in the USA Paperback – September 1, 2001
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From Library Journal
Travel writer and former tour guide Friedman has compiled a list of strange, peculiar, uncommon, offbeat, quirky, bizarre, and wacky festivals, museums, attractions, tours, restaurants, hotels, and stores in the United States. There is even a list of 91 places "too weird to categorize." Each entry includes a description along with an address, and, when available, telephone numbers, web sites, and e-mail addresses. The book is also eccentrically arranged: the Midwest/North Central region is listed first, the South Central Region is listed last, and, within one region, Wisconsin is followed by Minnesota. However, the alphabetic indexes by state as well as entry make up for this confusing arrangement. Since this book covers all 50 states, smaller libraries may want to consider it over more specific titles, such as Sandra Gurvis's America's Strangest Museums (Citadel, 1996) and Jerome Pohlen's Oddball Wisconsin (LJ 5/15/01). Recommended for public libraries. [For more information on this title, go to www.eccentricamerica. com. Ed.] John McCormick, New Hampshire State Lib., Concor.
- John McCormick, New Hampshire State Lib., Concord
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
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A short section at the beginning lists festivals and competitions by months, including a diversity of events such as the "Calavaras Frog Jumping Contest" (May) or the "Annual Yo-Yo Contest" (October). The main body of the text is divided into geographical regions with well written, frequently humorous descriptions of what's wierd and wild across the United States. Numerous entries have made the Late Night Shows (Letterman, Leno) and many are well publicized items which are frequently described in the daily news. Remember the National Hog Calling Contest ? How about the Fort Fisher Hermit or the Bee Beard Man ?
I don't think there has ever been a guide book quite like this ! I enjoyed reading about the eccentricities of some of the craziest individuals you would ever want to meet and the categorization and locations of these characters are easily found, just in case your passing through and might want to stop by.
Ms. Friedman writes with great aplomb and is a joy to read. An unusual guide book, as entertaining as its title.
T.W. Hard, Santa Rosa, CA.
Or how about the Bread and Puppet Theater and Art Museum in Glover, Vermont? You can see a surreal collection of huge puppets that are used in political demonstrations, see entertaining puppet performances, and enjoy the free bread that is given out after each show.
You can find information on these and almost a thousand other wacky, out-of-the-ordinary attractions across America in "Eccentric America," a new book by Jan Friedman. The book contains an extensive listing of the weirdest and strangest events, museums, festivals, and attractions in the United States.
Imagine leaving your home in California (for example) and heading out to visit relatives in New Jersey. This doesn't have to be a boring trip. Using Eccentric America as a guidebook, you can create bizarre adventures as you travel across the U.S. Visit the Katydid Insect Museum in Arizona, and, if it happens to be July, you can move on to Roswell, New Mexico where the Roswell UFO Encounter Festival and Intergalactic Food and Fashion Extravaganza is taking place. If you think the drive across the center of the country is dull, you haven't stopped at the right places. From the Totem Pole Park in Oklahoma, to Carhenge in Nebraska, there are plenty of strange things to see on your way and all are listed in Eccentric America.
Friedman writes in an entertaining, tongue-cheek-style style. You can't help but laugh when reading some of the descriptions. When describing the Forevertron, a giant steel sculpture park in Wisconsin, she writes, "Inventive in vision and astounding in scope, the Forevertron is a gargantuan contraption designed to shoot Dr. Evermore into space using some kind of 1890's magnetic lightning beam propulsion that only he understands." The attractions are catalogued not only by state, but also by type and date (if the attraction is an event), so it is easy to find just the kind of weirdness you are looking for.
I found this book not only entertaining but inspiring as well. It's exciting to see what other eccentrics have created given enough time and a place to do it. Eccentric America makes me want to take a road trip!