New Yorker writer and author of The Library Book takes readers on a series of remarkable journeys in this uniquely witty, sophisticated, and far-flung travel book.
In this irresistible collection of adventures far and near, Orlean conducts a tour of the world via its subcultures, from the heart of the African music scene in Paris to the World Taxidermy Championships in Springfield, Illinois—and even into her own apartment, where she imagines a very famous houseguest taking advantage of her hospitality.
With Orlean as guide, lucky readers partake in all manner of armchair activity. They will climb Mt. Fuji and experience a hike most intrepid Japanese have never attempted; play ball with Cuba’s Little Leaguers, promising young athletes born in a country where baseball and politics are inextricably intertwined; trawl Icelandic waters with Keiko, everyone’s favorite whale as he tries to make it on his own; stay awhile in Midland, Texas, hometown of George W. Bush, a place where oil time is the only time that matters; explore the halls of a New York City school so troubled it’s known as “Horror High”; and stalk caged tigers in Jackson, New Jersey, a suburban town with one of the highest concentrations of tigers per square mile anywhere in the world.
Vivid, humorous, unconventional, and incomparably entertaining, Susan Orlean’s writings for The New Yorker have delighted readers for over a decade. My Kind of Place is an inimitable treat by one of America’s premier literary journalists.
Orlean (The Orchid Thief) hasn't so much been everywhere as she's been everywhere no one else has thought to go. In this collection, she focuses not on cities but on singular locales and events. She zooms in on an African music shop in Paris, a grocery store in Queens and a fertility blessing ceremony in Bhutan. Belying the book's bland title, Orlean's essays are rich in color, metaphor and crafty language. For example, in Iceland, "the wind never huffs or puffs but simply blows your house down." Orlean's subtle humor infuses her writing as she uncovers strange beauties: a taxidermy convention is "a surreal carnality, but all conveyed with the usual trade show earnestness and hucksterism, with no irony and no acknowledgment that having buckets of bear noses for sale was anything out of the ordinary." Orlean uses the word "travel" loosely; "I view all stories as journeys," she explains. Indeed, many of the final pieces aren't grounded by place, but they nicely round out an insightful collection by an exceptional essayist. , which helped the author gain widespread recognition. Author publicity, a reading tour and print ads could make this a popular holiday pick. Simultaneous audio release.
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