1. Friday book recommendations!

    Anne Trubek, author of “A Skeptic’s Guide to Writer’s Houses,” has highlighted books that draw visitors to their authors’ home towns. Here’s a sampling of the reads she recommends:

    The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain (Signet, $8). Twain’s novel about Americans traveling through Europe and the Holy Land mocks Americans’ penchant for tacky tourism: “We find a piece of the true cross in every old church we go into… And as for the bones of St. Denis, I feel certain we have seen enough of them to duplicate him if necessary.” What would he make of the Twain-land erected in his hometown of Hannibal, Mo.?

    Martin Eden by Jack London (Penguin, $16). At the end of his life, London, a best-selling author, was sick of writing, but he kept at it to pay bills. In Sonoma County, Calif., he bought a ranch and built a glorious house that burned to the ground the day he was to move in. Martin Eden is about a young writer who becomes disillusioned once famous. Both the novel and the burned remains of London’s house display the folly of foresight.

    Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (Bantam, $6). “If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles,” Whitman writes. At his house museum in Camden, N.J., visitors go to see Whitman’s boot soles, to see his stuff. Whitman’s poetry tries to bridge the divide between the material and spiritual worlds. Writers’ houses, monuments to the imagination, do the same.

    Read the full list here. And happy Friday!

     
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