Stephanie Rosenbloom is a New York Times travel writer and her book, Alone Time, is about such mindful travel. She spent a week each in four different cities and wrote about them. There are many beautiful literary and philosophical nuggets in this book. If you've never done solo travel and want to, read it. If you're an experienced solo traveler and just want comfort from the experiences of someone who GETS your kind of traveling, read it. Here's my review at PopMatters.
Figures in a Landscape is his third collection of essays that have already appeared, from 2001-2016, in slightly different forms in various publications (The Washington Post, Harper's Bazaar, The Guardian, The Smithsonian, New York Times Magazine, etc.) or as book introductions. With travel pieces, literary critiques, people profiles, and personal essays, the 30 pieces here cover a wide range of subjects and are, together, his most polished collection yet. They give us everything we have come to expect from Theroux in his nonfiction: the attentive traveler's sharp eye and canny ear for everything that goes on around him and, to a certain extent, what goes on in his mind as he engages fully with life and everything that comes at him. Whether he's being seriously earnest or ironically satirical, Theroux's prose manages to hit just the right notes so that, at the end of any particular essay, even if we might not be in agreement, we want him to continue on.
I enjoyed doing this interview with Dr Vera Tobin about her recent non-fiction book, Elements of Surprise, which I had reviewed earlier. We discussed the cognitive, linguistic, and narrative aspects of the "well-made surprise" in fiction (books and movies). We also talked about fake news, "dumb-smart" stories, unreliable narrators, and a lot more. PS If you enjoy the posts I share here, please do share them on via social media. Every bit helps us writers get a bit of visibility and it's a quick little step that costs nothing except a few seconds of time. Thank you.