Travel Writing to Transport the Mind

Our students are off campus for the rest of the semester, but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped our pursuit of the latest and greatest in arts and culture. While sheltering in place—and unlikely to travel anytime soon—Scripps Presents authors offer journeys to locales near and far, from Bel Air to Jamaica, with stops along the way. Here’s a sampling of some of Scripps Presents’ author’s best travel fiction and memoir, with excerpts provided: Settle in to get taken away.

I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson

Abbi Jacobson’s ruminative, personal, and funny I Might Regret This traces the comedian’s upbringing as she traces routes on a map. A travelogue of her solo road trip from the East Coast to the West, Jacobson ruminates on the American landscape while offering observations about with the end of her first serious relationship and the long-term value of high-waisted jeans.

Listen to the first chapter, delivered by Jacobson herself, here.

Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Patsy is a modern-day immigrant story that charts its way from Jamaica to New York City. Dennis-Benn upends the trope of immigration as a way to provide for family back home in favor of a new lens: immigration as a way for a woman to choose herself first. Listed as a Best Book of 2019 by the Washington Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, Time, NPR, People, and Buzzfeed and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction, Patsy is an exploration of motherhood, sacrifice, and identity.

Enjoy a free excerpt here.

The Wangs Vs. the World by Jade Chang

Jade Chang’s novel is a migration story of a different kind: In The Wangs Vs. the World, a family of Chinese Americans, having lost it all in the 2007-08 financial crisis, takes a beleaguered road trip from Bel-Air to upstate New York to recoup, rethink what it means to be American, and discover how to connect as a family in times of crisis.

Experience the world through the Wangs’ eyes with an excerpt here.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

My Year of Rest and Relaxation‘s narrator is in a self-imposed quarantine for reasons other than a global pandemic. How she manages her exile is at once confounding and imminently readable. As Jia Tolentino puts it in her New Yorker review, “Ottessa Moshfegh is easily the most interesting contemporary American writer on the subject of being alive when being alive feels terrible.”

Commiserate with the bestselling author with an excerpt here.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

With California’s order to “shelter in place” and the closure of state and national parks and hiking trails, the mountains seem to be calling with renewed fervor. Until the strictures are lifted, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, the author’s memoir about tackling the Pacific Crest Trail solo with little more than a pair ill-fitting boots, is the next best thing.

Experience the journey with an excerpt here.