The proof copy of Once Around the Room: Discovering Estonia arrived today! Even better still, there weren’t any errors! The book, written by Jennifer Doherty (who blogs at It’s Your Adventure), took a little over a year to produce, and I’m delighted to have it as the first book from this micropress. Look for it in paperback on August 8th from Amazon.com, BN.com, and Indiebound.org; Kindle and Nook formats will come shortly thereafter.
The book’s title refers to an Estonian proverb: “If you only go once around the room, you are wiser than he who sits still.” Here’s a taste of what the book’s about:
In the autumn of 1995, while still in college, Jennifer Doherty applied to a program that would change her life. Winning a spot on the International Four-H Youth Exchange program, an immersive homestay experience abroad, she left behind her rural Colorado ranching roots and a close-knit college community in the South to travel to Estonia for six months, staying with host families and learning the country’s language, traditions, and charms.
Arriving in Estonia fewer than ten years after the fall of Communism, Doherty describes a country straining to catch up with the West while wrestling with its turbulent history under Soviet rule. Through her travels around the country and the Baltic region, striking contrasts emerge, captured in candid detail: women sweep the sidewalks in front of Soviet-era concrete apartment buildings with twig brooms while tourists hustle to the medieval Old Town a few blocks away.
As it spirits readers around Estonia on a journey filled with long talks at kitchen tables, sauna soaks, blueberry-picking in the forest, and haymaking in the countryside, Once Around the Room offers an intimate look at the delights and quirks of becoming immersed in a foreign country. Chronicling the struggle to understand the philosophical and practical goals of cultural exchange as well as the struggle to strengthen one’s faith in a foreign country, Doherty composes a sensitive and poignant portrayal of the risks and rewards of fully immersing yourself in another culture, heart and soul.
A founding faculty member and the assistant principal of an award-winning charter high school in Colorado Springs, Jennifer Doherty has worked in secondary education for the last twelve years. In addition to writing and teaching English, she loves traveling, skiing the Rockies, scrapbooking, and visiting her nephews on the cattle ranch that has been in her family for six generations. Recently married, Jennifer and her husband live in northern New Mexico.
A portion of the proceeds of this book will benefit the International 4-H Youth Exchange program.