The Banana Sculptor, the Purple Lady, and the All-Night Swimmer: Hobbies, Collecting, and Other Passionate Pursuits

3.2 avg rating
( 15 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780743201223: The Banana Sculptor, the Purple Lady, and the All-Night Swimmer: Hobbies, Collecting, and Other Passionate Pursuits

We Americans love to look at ourselves. How we vote, where we work, what we think about church and school -- studying ourselves is a national pastime. What has been missing in all this self-examination, until now, is a book about the greatest national obsessions of all: the hobbies we pursue, the collections and amateur sports to which we devote so much of our lives. "The Banana Sculptor, the Purple Lady, and the All-Night Swimmer" chronicles the amazing variety of ways in which we relax, compete with others and ourselves, and indulge some of our richest fantasies. Here are wonderfully warm and witty accounts of Americans as they: attempt to swim all the Great Lakes, often in horrible conditions; quit a job and begin raising sheep to accommodate a newfound passion for spinning; eat at every McDonald's in the nation; carve "The Last Supper" from wood; cross all the world's suspension bridges; build huge banana sculptures; roller blade, scull, and bake; and collect marbles, Noah's arks, talking birds, and much more. In these pages you'll meet a marvelous array of ordinary people who do unusual things, sometimes to extremes, as they define for themselves worlds of imagination, contest, and excellence. These are people who thrill to the chase and sometimes plain wear themselves out having fun, whether it's flying kites as big as a king-size mattress, canoeing in the Canadian wilderness, or meticulously recording the daily details of their everyday existence. In "Working," Studs Terkel gave us an unforgettable oral history of the working life of an earlier generation. "The Banana Sculptor, the Purple Lady, and the All-Night Swimmer" is a history for our own times -- of thepassionate pursuits by which so many of us define ourselves and of the universal search for happiness and a sense of fulfillment. Maybe you'll find yourself in the forty people profiled here. Maybe you'll find a hobby that you'll want to make your own. Either way, your life is likely to be enriched, just as the lives of the people you will read about are enriched by the depth of their commitment and the beauty of their accomplishments.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Deep down, people are weird. Searching for those whose weirdness expresses itself through art, sport, religion, and other relatively normal pursuits, writers Susan Sheehan and Howard Means found 40 strangely compelling stories, recounted in the wonderfully titled The Banana Sculptor, the Purple Lady, and the All-Night Swimmer. One man's ambition is to eat at every McDonald's in the United States; a young woman has won more than 3,000 ribbons at the huge Iowa State Fair. The authors go beyond simple believe-it-or-not reporting, instead interviewing each of their subjects to tease out their motivations and the consequences of their passions. One gentleman, whose aim is to swim across each of the Great Lakes, admits that his goals don't permit him to have a family or much social interaction, but he seems genuinely satisfied with his purpose in life. Much of the book is told in the subjects' own words, which offer insights into the pride and humility, the genius and madness of these singular individuals. The book may not inspire the kind of zeal it takes to carve a life-sized Last Supper, but it will help readers appreciate the weirdness to be found in ordinary people. --Rob Lightner

About the Author:

Susan Sheehan is the author of seven books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Is There No Place on Earth for Me? She has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1961 and has written for The New York Times and Architectural Digest, where she is a contributing writer. She lives in Washington, D.C.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Howard Means and Susan Sheehan
ISBN 10: 0743201221 ISBN 13: 9780743201223
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Castle Rock
(Pittsford, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97807432012231.0

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 10.07
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Sheehan, Susan; Means, Howard
Published by Simon & Schuster Trade, New York, NY, U.S.A. (2002)
ISBN 10: 0743201221 ISBN 13: 9780743201223
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Snowball Bookshop
(Barberton, OH, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Simon & Schuster Trade, New York, NY, U.S.A., 2002. HC. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st. 299 pgs, yellow and silver spine with silver and black print, New book in terrific condition, looks great, wonderful copy. Very fun and interesting book. Bookseller Inventory # T02671CR

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 12.00
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Susan Sheehan, Howard Means
Published by Simon & Schuster (2002)
ISBN 10: 0743201221 ISBN 13: 9780743201223
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Simon & Schuster, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0743201221

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 12.01
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Sheehan, Susan; Means, Howard
Published by Simon & Schuster (2002)
ISBN 10: 0743201221 ISBN 13: 9780743201223
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Simon & Schuster, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0743201221

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 21.85
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Sheehan, Susan; Means, Howard
Published by Simon & Schuster
ISBN 10: 0743201221 ISBN 13: 9780743201223
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Cloud 9 Books
(Wellington, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Simon & Schuster. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0743201221 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.1266035

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 59.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds