“Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God,” wrote Kurt Vonnegut. I wish I’d remembered this quote last year…it would have been the perfect epigram for the Maphead chapter about obsessive completist travelers.
I’m in the middle of my own peculiar dancing lesson this month: I spoke at Penn State last week, and now I’m on the road for a little mini-book tour of Salt Lake City, Denver, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. This is all because Maphead comes out in paperback Tuesday! If you’re curious about geographic geekery but didn’t want to pay hardcover prices, this is your big chance. Pre-order here or here or here, among other places. Oh, and I’m doing that trivia benefit in Bellingham, Washington that I usually do every April, and speaking at a students’ award banquet in Ventura County, California as well. Whew.
Unrelated postscript! A few years ago, there was some conversation on this site about pairs of books that describe the same events from different points of view. The examples I could think of all were all genre fiction or kiddie lit, but on various planes this month I finally got around to reading Marilynne Robinson’s novels Gilead and Home–a sudden burst of productivity after an almost 25-year gap between novels. Weirdly, I had no idea until I was a few pages into Home that the books are companion novels that fit the bill perfectly: the exact same events in a small Iowa town are told from the respective viewpoints of the two households involved. Anyway, both are highly recommended even if you’re not into the po-mo narrative trick. Beautiful, elegiac prose.