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Original Essays | August 20, 2014 0 comments
Saint Paul, August 2014 Dear Professor Fitger, I've been asked to say a few words about you for Powells.com. Having dreamed you up with a ball-point... Continue »
Eric WeinerDescribe your latest project.
Eric Weiner, a self-described mope, is a veteran foreign correspondent for National Public Radio. Over the past two decades, he has covered a multitude of catastrophes and maladies from over 30 countries. For his book The Geography of Bliss, however, he decided to tell the other side of the story by visiting some of the world's most contented places. Indeed, his tale signals the arrival of the next great category of literary nonfiction: the philosophical self-help humorous travel memoir. Using the ancient philosophers and the much more recent "science of happiness" as his guide, Weiner takes the reader from America to Iceland to India and beyond in search of happiness. Many authors have attempted to describe what happiness is; fewer have shown us where it is, and what we can learn from the inhabitants of different cultures.
I once operated the Ferris Wheel at an amusement park in Ocean City, Maryland. One day, I (inadvertently) left two people stranded 100 feet above the ground while I took my lunch break. I knew then, with great clarity, that my career in the amusement-park business would be short-lived.
Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start.
Writers are better liars than other people: true or false? Why, or not?
How do you relax?
Describe the best breakfast of your life.
Why do you write?
If you could have been someone else, who would that be and why?
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
Five Travel Books I Wish I Had Written:
Holidays in Hell by P.J. O'Rourke
The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater
Anything by Jan Morris
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Eric Weiner, an award-winning foreign correspondent for NPR and a former reporter for the New York Times, has written stories from more than three dozen countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. His commentary has appeared in the New Republic, the International Herald Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times, and he writes the popular "How They Do It" column for Slate. He has lived in New Delhi, Jerusalem and Tokyo.