My Favorite Reads is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.
The idea is to write about some favorite booksthat you read before you started blogging!
Today I want to tell you about a fascinating book
Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs
edited by John Bowe, Marisa Bowe & Sabin Streeter
What the Reviewers Said
“Amazing . . . a gem of a book that uses only the strength of the human voice to tell an American story — sometimes dark, always fascinating.”
– USA Today
“The accounts are wonderfully revealing, with gritty and almost shockingly honest detail. For all their variety, they weave a cohesive, passion-filled story of what people bring to their work. It’s an addictive read.”
– Harvard Business Review’s Best Business Books of 2000
“Keen, disturbing, and deeply felt . . . the stories in Gig deliver a more rousing political wallop than those in Working . . . remarkable and strangely moving.”
– Susan Faludi, The Village Voice
“I love this book! It’s surprising and entertaining and makes the world seem like a bigger and more interesting place. Gig manages to document everyday life and give pure narrative pleasure at the same time. One feels proud to live in the same country as the people in this book.”
– Ira Glass, host of This American Life
“A fascinating compilation of what the American workforce has to say about itself.”
— George Plimpton
“Eye-opening . . . more revealing than any theories a sociologist could concoct.”
— The Industry Standard
“Entertaining, sobering, validating . . . Ordinary people discuss their jobs with extraordinary candor.”
— US Weekly
“In the age of advanced spin, this book accomplishes a very rare thing. It actually lets workers speak for themselves. . . . The result makes for a fascinating read.”
– Andrew Ross, director, American Studies Program at New York University
“Emotional and eye-opening, each compelling description offers insight about the job itself and, more important, an intimate view of a single human life.”
– Austin Chronicle
“An engaging, humorous, revealing, and refreshingly human look at the bizarre, life-threatening, and delightfully humdrum exploits of everyone from sports heroes to sex workers.”
— Douglas Rushkoff, author of Coercion, Ecstasy Club, and Media Virus
What I Say
You know a book is good when everyone from Ira Glass to US Weekly rave about it! Gig is a collection of interviews with Americans from all walks of life talking about their jobs. And the collection of jobs is wonderfully diverse — from Highway Flagger to Crime Scene Cleaner, from Stripper to Mother, from Wal-Mart Greeter to Taxidermist, from Prison Guard to Prisoner.
Yet for all the “glamour” professions covered (Professional Basketball Player, Painter, Comedian, Actress, Anchorwoman), I found that the ones that I remember most were the Hallmark Gift Shop Saleswoman, the Pretzel Vendor, and Kinko’s Co-Worker. This is because each person brings their unique voice and experiences to the interview — and the personal stories can be just as fascinating as the job being described.
This is another book that I’ve kept and reread every so often. Each interview is about 3 to 4 pages — so you can definitely dip into and out of the book at your whim. However, I usually find the stories so fascinating that I end up reading straight through. I enjoyed it so much more than Studs Terkel’s Working — mostly because it has a more contemporary feel to it. It occurs to me that this might be a great book to give as present for a new graduate — it certainly exposes you to a variety of jobs!
And the last thing that highly recommends this book: My husband (the non-reader) read this entire book twice! And it is 670 pages! A fantastic addition to any library.