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In This Moment of Solitude, Books Can Be Our Passports

In This Moment of Solitude, Books Can Be Our Passports

Sharing and reposting Jordan Kisnerʻs March 27, 2020 New York Times article. Artwork by Hokyoung Kim

“In This Moment of Solitude, Books Can Be Our Passports”

FACED WITH THE CANCELLATION OF HER BOOK TOUR, A WRITER TURNS TO BOOKS THAT EVOKE A SENSE OF PLACE — AND RECOMMENDS 8 BOOKS THAT MIGHT TAKE YOU SOMEWHERE, TOO.

At the beginning of March, I experienced a new joy: I published my first book, a collection of essays investigating how Americans make meaning of their lives and what they do when their systems of meaning-making begin to break down.

This book was roughly seven years in the making. In writing it, I did quite a bit of traveling through America: I went to a Shaker colony in Maine; I flew down to Laredo to attend a borderlands debutante ball where the girls dress up to honor George and Martha Washington; I frequented autopsy suites in Cleveland; I drove out to a dust bowl in California. But mostly, I sat alone in my room and wrote.

Writing a book is fundamentally a solitary and stationary exercise. Some people are naturally good at this. I am not naturally good at this: I like movement and adventure and collaboration. . . click to keep reading