Eccentric Islands is a literary expedition across the map to islands both actual and imagined. Part traveler’s journal, part philosophical exploration, the book asks whether islands encourage eccentricity and genius in humans, as scientists argue they do in the natural world. Essayist Bill Holm journeys to five physical islands: Iceland, Madagascar, Molokai, Isla Mujeres, and Mallard Island in northern Minnesota. He also visits islands of ideas, including the Necessary Island of the Imagination and the whimsical piano island, located in the man-made lake under the atrium-sky of an upscale hotel in the remote interior of China. Writing with the mind-set of a 19th-century traveler, for whom the journey is as important as the destination, Holm introduces wonderful characters and cultures.
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