The Fiddler in the Subway Author:Gene Weingarten What happens when you set one of the world's most renowned violinists at the entrance to one of the nation's busiest subway stations during rush hour to play some of the world's most beautiful and haunting music? Will harried commuters, enchanted by the music, linger for a few moments and let the music wrap their souls in peace? Will... more » they appreciatively toss a few coins or dollars in the violinist's case? Conspiring with violinist Joshua Bell, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Weingarten discovers that Bell's virtuoso performance of several classical pieces does little to stop commuters in their tracks, and he reports on this conundrum in the column from which this collection of previously published newspaper columns takes its title.
With his incisive wit, Weingarten ranges over other topics, from the possible affair of Woodrow Wilson and Mary Hulbert to the children's entertainer, the Great Zucchini, whose often squalid personal life contrasts dramatically with his life on stage entertaining three- and four-year-olds at Washington, D.C., area birthday parties.
Weingarten travels in search of a town worthy of being called the "armpit of America" and discovers it in Battle Mountain, Nev., a town whose defining image for the journalist is a 40-foot-high neon Shell gas station sign with the "S" burned out. Entertaining and funny, Weingarten's stories depict the poignancy of the human condition.« less
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A talented performer who blows most of what he earns on gambling; a morose Eskimo village that blames everybody else for their problems; a boring town in the middle of nowhere that earns the dubious distinction of Armpit of America... this book is actually a string of newspaper articles written by the author. They are mildly entertaining but I didn't find that most of them had any real point. Three or four in I decided I would rather read What Color Is Your Parachute.
EDIT: After reading some of the other reviews, I went and looked up "Fatal Distraction" online. It's a very good article. If all of them were of that caliber, I would wholeheartedly recommend the book.