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The New American Road Trip Mixtape Paperback – July 11, 2013
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About the Author
- Publisher : Semi-Rad Media (July 11, 2013)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 238 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0615826393
- ISBN-13 : 978-0615826394
- Item Weight : 12.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #812,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Able insight as to what fuels this individual’s art… And what fuels relationships and the cracks within which cause erosion (good example: flipping the map). Brendan dwells on the aftermath of a relationship and the first wakening of touch receptors when making eye contact with a beaut in a pizza diner. Overall great representations of comparing home in a house (knowing how to flick the broom in that particular corner) with a philosophy of home on the road in the west (not wasteland, but where the magic happens).
Highly recommend this book whether stuck inside or sleeping outside, tent, van. This is more than a ‘road’ book. It is fun.
Titled as a "mixtape" I think that would be a good frame of mind to use when beginning to read the book. It doesn't have the feel for a full on novel, but it was long enough to keep me entertained for a week or so.
Leonard is not afraid to bear his soul on the page, and something he does well is encourage others to follow their own passions and dreams. As someone who lives the same lifestyle as Leonard I took my "grand tour" of the West much earlier in life; since Leonard waited so long (into his thirties) his coming of age story is much richer than the young twenty something. The journey that unfolds left me wanting more from a writer who could very well go onto filling the same literary shoes that Kerouac once tramped across the country in.
Top reviews from other countries
If you already know Leonard's work, no doubt you'll already like the man and that regular notification in your inbox of a new post will always cause a smile however your week's going. In short, Leonard's already a class act with an established record.
This, however, is the story behind the stories. For those who read the posts or listen to the podcasts, the picture of the kooky, soap-dodging, obsessive climber and coffee lover is familiar as are his tales of couch-surfing and life on the road. This is the impetus behind that life, the loss of a relationship and the inevitable long, hard look it caused the writer to take at himself.
A recovering alcoholic, Leonard came late to the outdoor life, driven by the desire to write stories of the transformative power the outdoors have, particularly in our economically desperate, acquisitive times. He questions his role as a writer, and what it means to be a free man in modern America. Are you defined by others' reaction to your writing? Can you define yourself solely by your work? How important is a comfortable life along the way? And, perhaps most importantly, he looks at how you react when it all goes wrong.
Along the road, we fill in some of his ownvbhhg backstory. Where for some the story of a break-up might be an outlet for mawkish sentimentalism or self-justification, Leonard is both rawly honest and open about his own flaws and hopes. As he travels, we encounter Leonard's meetings with other outdoors people, some single, some married, some with children, some resolutely and happily childless.
Where Leonard's journey starts as a flight from pain, it deepens to become what might be the easiest of things to identify retrospectively but the most difficult to narrate: a journey of self-discovery. In a lesser writer, the forthright opinions and excoriating self-revelation might not come off but with Brendan Leonard, every moment of profundity is balanced by a wealth of humour and wry observation. If he enthuses about the world and people around him, he's hellish hard on himself at times.
The Leonard afficionado will see glimpses of his former work - his rap about the Tuolomne Meadows Mobil is worth the price of the book alone - but there's a great deal more to this book than the journalism. No, it's not Norman Maclean or Jack Kerouac, literary behemoths who Leonard cites as major influences. But like these men, he shares two important characteristics: his sentences are raw and clear, burning with the sincerity of lived experience; and, like both of their books, you walk away from this wanting to know the author better, hoping he writes more.
Where Maclean wrote his first literary writing in his 70s, we can look forward to more of Brendan Leonard and, whenever he does settle down from his continuing travels, I hope it's to a happy home wherever and whatever that may be for him. I just hope it has a laptop and the time use it - I want more of this good stuff!