Author 2019-12-23T10:59:45+00:00


I’m the author of nine books.

A novel:

Born Slippy: A Novel

Two books of travel writing:

And the Monkey Learned Nothing: Dispatches from a Life in Transit 

Drinking Mare’s Milk on the Roof of the World: Wandering the Globe from Azerbaijan to Zanzibar

Two trade books of cultural history:

Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums

Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears

Two academic books of literary and cultural history:

Cosmopolitan Vistas: American Regionalism and Literary Value

American Nervousness, 1903: An Anecdotal History

And two books about to come out:

Aimlessness: An Introduction is a philosophical essay.

The Kindness of Strangers is the third in my series of travel books.

Both are arriving in the next year or so.

My books have been translated into 12 languages and have appeared on NYT and LAT bestseller lists.

Doing Nothing received the American Book Award in 2008. American Nervousness, Doing Nothing, and Crying were New York Times Notable Books. Cosmopolitan Vistas was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. Crying and Doing Nothing were NY Times and LA Times bestsellers, and American Nervousness was a NY Times bestseller.

You can read more about each of my books here: My Books. 

My fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, Chicago Tribune, Die Zeit, ZYZZYVA, Exquisite Corpse, Salon.com, Black Clock, and other newspapers and literary venues, as well as in dozens of books and academic journals.

You can find a selection of my shorter form works on the following pages: Articles & Chapters, Op-eds & Reviews, and Interviews with Writers.

I have also written a number of screenplays for film and television.  My latest is a limited series historical drama set in the 1920s.