Summer is just around the corner, and that means chances to travel and time to read, or the perfect staycation with books galore. Whether on the road or "away" at home, books are life, and we have new books for wanderlusters and the road weary alike. All are available in paperback and ebook, from road trip and travel adventures to puzzle magic and essays. Come away with us.
Crossing the Plains with Bruno by Annick Smith
Writer and filmmaker Annick Smith weaves together a memoir of travel and relationships, western and family history, human tenderness, and animal love. A road trip across the Great Plains with her chocolate lab, Bruno, takes Smith from her rural homestead in Montana to pick up her nearly 100-year-old moth from her senior residence on Chicago’s north side and a beach house on a dune overlooking Lake Michigan. This is a story narrated by a woman living with the imminent reality of a parent’s death, but it is the dog riding shotgun, like Sancho Panza to Don Quixote, that is the reminder of the physical realities outside our own imaginations.
The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness by Rebecca Solnit
From women’s issues to Occupy Wall Street to the Arab Spring, Rebecca Solnit is an important voice for human rights, the degradation of the environment, and the socioeconomic and cultural boundaries that hold us back from hope. She’s been compared to Susan Sontag, Annie Dillard, and Joan Didion and has been called “one of our finest thinkers” by the Los Angeles Times. As the title of her book suggests, the territory of Solnit’s concerns is vast, and in her signature alchemical style she combines commentary on history, justice, war, and peace, and explorations of place, art, and community. Available in hardcover or paperback, whichever works best for your poolside reading!
Getting to Grey Owl by Kurt Caswell
Writer, teacher, and adventurer Kurt Caswell has spent his life canoeing, hiking, and pedaling his way toward a deeper understanding of our vast and varied world. Getting to Grey Owl chronicles more than twenty years of his travels as he engages with merchants in Morocco, riverboats in China, and bullfights in Spain. Caswell climbs four mountains in the United Kingdom and backpacks through Iceland’s wild Hornstrandir Peninsula. He explores the meaning of roads and pathways, the story of Cain and Abel, nomadic life and the evolution of the human animals, and the fragility of love. Maybe Caswell journeyed somewhere that you’re traveling to this summer!
A Muse and a Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic by Peter Turchi
Discover the magic that goes into creating puzzles. In A Muse and a Maze, Peter Turchi draws out the similarities between writing and puzzle making and its flip side, puzzle solving. As he teases out how mystery lies at the heart of all storytelling, he uncovers the magic–the creation of credible illusion–that writers share with the likes of Houdini and other master magicians. This much-anticipated follow-up to Maps of the Imagination is a joy for readers (and writers!) of any genre, helping them navigate the fine line between the real and the perceived, between the everyday and the wondrous.
A Cloud of Unusual Size and Shape by Matt Donovan
Donovan pursues the image of the cloud throughout fourteen spellbinding essays on ruin and redemption, exploring the flawless connections between antiquity and the present, personal experience and historical events, architecture and art and literature. The redemptive power of beauty hovers over this spectacular work, reminding us that darkness and light make an inextricable pattern in our lives and form the delicate balance of what ultimately makes life worthwhile, what gives meaning to the sorrow and joy of being human.
Delayed Legacy by Conrad Netting
This nationally acclaimed account of a son’s search for his father’s legacy is now available in paperback. When the infant Conrad Netting received his late father’s Air Medal in a military ceremony in February 1945, it seemed to close the book on yet another tragedy of World War II. But what appeared to be closure was only a pause after Netting dug deeper into his father’s past. The resulting tale is part love story, part wartime thriller, part coming-of-age struggle, and, above all, a compelling real-life reminder that the human story is not over when a war ends.