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Zoom!

January 9, 2023

    Whew. It's been a busy three years for me, mostly spent researching and writing about the pandemic virus, SARS-CoV-2, and its fierce journey through the human population. (See the article on Breathless, just to the left.) For most of that time, I stayed home in my little office, in Bozeman, Montana, interviewing virologists and other scientific experts remotely. I scarcely left home. I made it through the year 2020 on one tank of gas in my RAV4. During 2021 and much of 2022, I worked harder, here at the desk, than I've ever worked before (and also harder, I hope, than I ever will again). Then in September 2022 it came time to hit the road again: book tour time. So I flew to Seattle. And then toWashington, DC. And then to Memphis, Singapore, Milan, New York, back to Milan, Rome, Trieste, and Portland. Please don't tell Greta Thunburg. I'm aware of the carbon-footprint issue and I'm trying to deal with it. One method is Zoom. For the ninety-five interviews I did with my scientific sources while researching Breathless, the new book, I had traveled zero. But for some kinds of interaction, you simply have to show up.

    One thing that itinerary reflects is that book tours are not quite like they used to be, except in Italy. In the U.S., publishers have found that public-radio and podcast appearances are generally more cost-effective than sending an author to a city for a personal appearance at a bookstore. But in Italy, at least in my experience, there is still a great appetite for

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EBOLA: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus

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SPILLOVER: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

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THE CHIMP AND THE RIVER: How AIDS Emerged from an African Forest