Noah Adams is a co-host of NPR's All Things Considered. He lives with his wife, Neenah Ellis, a freelance journalist, in Takoma Park, Maryland.
In his last book (Piano Lessons), Adams described the year he decided, at age 51, to learn to play the piano. The host of NPR's All Things Considered now takes readers on another year-long journey, this time through Appalachia by canoe, bicycle and white-water raft. A native of eastern Kentucky, Adams takes a personal interest in Appalachia: "a wish to learn more about this part of the country and my family's past." Gently and thoughtfully, he does just that, covering everything from the ecosystems of the New River whole universes under the eddying water to the ghosts of the pioneers and Native Americans who roamed the riverbanks. (Curiously, despite a passing reference to a Confederate flag, Adams never mentions the Civil War or even African-Americans.) Through the people he meets along his journey including bluegrass fiddlers and fishermen, storytellers all Adams also tells a story of present-day Appalachia, a complex view that challenges Deliverance stereotypes. But challenging the reader isn't Adams's purpose; instead, in easygoing and understated prose, he takes readers up the river with him into the darkness of coal mines, down Class VI rapids and into local pubs, inns and churches. He skims lightly over the depths and navigates the rapids with humor and a sharp eye for telling detail. Indeed, some of the best passages of the book are Adams's simple descriptions of the water: "The boat rocked, then steadied, and the current caught the bow and turned it downstream. Then a touch of the paddle to add some speed. This is the moment of grace." Whether white-water rafters or just along for the ride, readers will find Adams's story of a year following the New River full of this same quiet, and often unexpected, grace. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A memoir cum travel journey from the cohost of NPR's All Things Considered. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"The host of NPR's All Things Considered now takes readers
on another year-long journey, this time through Appalachia -- by
canoe, bicycle and white-water raft.. He skims lightly over the
depths and navigates the rapids with humor and a sharp eye for
-- Publishers Weekly
"Far Appalachia is a lyrical journey through the heart of
the mountain South. It is a New River voyage through time and
memory penned by a gifted son of Appalachia who -- with the best of
us -- has both wings and roots."
-- Sharyn McCrumb, author of The Songcatcher
Praise for Noah Adams's Piano Lessons: "Charming ... his delight in music-making is palpable."
-- The New Yorker "[A] charming memoir -- Adams clearly possesses a gift that too many teachers don't -- the ability to convey just how much fun it is to make music, and just how many different ways there are for a piece of music to be beautiful."
-- Newsday "Entertaining and surprising detail -- Piano Lessons will make you a believer in the quest to find and make music and will have you falling back in love with your own dreams, whatever they may be."
-- John Hockenberry, correspondent, ABC News, author of Moving Violations "An affectionate tribute ... [from] a writer of considerable merit."
--The Seattle Times "A truly absorbing story ... with humor and candor ... Adams is a gifted interviewer with a good ear for a story, and Piano Lessons is full of them."
-- Minneapolis Star-Tribune "Genuinely moving ... Adams writes in the same earnest ... tone that has endeared him to radio listeners for more than twenty years."
-- San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle "The balance of storytelling -- about pianos specifically, and then into music in general and back again -- rings nicely, with plenty of pushed pedals to sustain it."
-- The Philadelphia Inquirer "This is a wonderful book, which has a generous, transcendental beauty. The fascination of the river journey lies, for me, in the small details, which refresh and stir the reader like the smell of coffee by a campfire in the morning. I bet I won't be the only reader to be reminded of Thoreau."
-- Jonathan Kozol, author of Amazing Grace