Michael Pearson

Reading Life

Adventures in books and the world
Nonfiction (travel)
"Pearson is a most companionable guide to take us worlds away." --Arthur Saltzman, author of Nearer: Essays
Shohola Falls is a fever dream of a novel that brilliantly weaves past and present, fact and imagination to describe a young man’s quest for himself”
--Tom Kelly, author of Payback
“Achingly American, a bittersweet elegy that echoes Thomas Wolfe and Jack Kerouac”
--Mike D’Orso, author of Like Judgment Day
“A wild travelogue told by a scholarly tour guide”
--The New Orleans Times Picayune
“A fascinating report on America”
--The Columbia S. C. State

Innocents Abroad Too

Innocents Abroad Too recounts two journeys around the world aboard ships (in 2002 and 2006) with 600 college students. Fundamentally, it is a story about the nature of travel in the 21st century, in the new world context of terrorism and a declining opinion of American foreign policy and the American republic in general. But it is also a love story that details the inextricable connection between the author's travels and his relationship with his wife of four decades. Ultimately, it is a literary adventure, into both foreign lands and the mysterious landscapes of the human heart created by writers such as Orhan Pamuk in Turkey or Haruki Murakami in Japan. It is a story about the nature of stories, an intimation of how entering the fractured and troubling unknown can lead us to a clearer understanding of the meaning of home.


"In our five days in Burma (what the military dictatorship calls Myanmar), Jo-Ellen and I entered an Orwellian reality in which the only thing guaranteed and expected was the unexpected. We broke the law, bought ice cream cones at a Buddhist temple, considered the possibility that we might be spies without knowing it, lived like Rudyard Kipling in the Savoy Hotel, and came within a New York minute of becoming Baptists and then prisoners of the state."