Independent Publishers Group Logo

Sign up today...
for featured pop culture and science reads, books for kids and teens,special offers, bestsellers, and more, in your inbox!

Select topics of interest:
In Search of a Course
In Search of a Course

In Search of a Course


236 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $16.95 (CA $22.95) (US $16.95)

Publication Date: January 2021

ISBN 9781646030132

Rights: WOR

Regal House Publishing (Jan 2021)

Price: $16.95


In Search of a Course recounts the events of a fateful road trip through the American Southwest

In Search of a Course recounts the events of a fateful road-trip through the American Southwest. When Mark Cladis embarks, he is spiritually lost, shaken by a failed marriage, and disillusioned by the academic life he has chosen. When his spiritual foundation gives way, he is wholly unprepared to rebuild it. He needs guidance—and not the academic or intellectual sort. He needs open air, a change of scene, a friendship, and an education. This is how Paul Kane and Mark Cladis, two Vassar professors, find themselves on a road-trip through the Southwest desert. During the trip, Cladis encounters several teachers—Native American educators, local artists, Paul, and the desert itself—who inspire revelations about the land, education, friendship, and the ways of love. Cladis returns considerably healed, spiritually revived, and possessed of a new hope for his life and vocation. On this journey, equally thrilling and healing, he encounters dangers and seeming miracles. He climbs mountains and sits on Hogan floors and dodges dust devils, barely. He learns that Paul, his closest friend, would risk his life for him. From these experiences he receives a distinct feeling of belonging—to the earth, to a spiritual and intellectual ancestry, to a friendship. He begins to see this spiritual, embodied connection as innately tied to teaching, to environmental commitment, and to love. It initiates his deliverance from grief. It becomes the most important gift he could impart to his students. In Search of a Course is a memoir about those days in the desert that saved his life. It discusses the emotional and embodied strategies he learned in the desert to mitigate suffering, find peace, and repair his life. These lessons and experiences will be relevant to all who have ever felt spiritually shaken, unfulfilled by their choices, or in need of rebirth.


"Cladis has written an honest and beautiful book about finding a course after losing one's way. 'There are seasons of change that we must accept, even embrace,' he writes. Yes—the challenge is doing so in horrible weather. Through fractured love, through divorce, through religious crisis, through professional and academic upheaval, through deep seated anxiety—Cladis charts his course so that we might weather life's seasons more gracefully." —John Kaag, author of New York Times bestsellers American Philosophy: A Love Story

"What a rich feeling it is to fall under the spell of a truly compelling book. Mark S. Cladis layers introspective study with a thoughtful journey of personal loss and continuing discovery. His honesty and narrative grace combine with his gift for quoting from other writers to create a text of immense care and comfort. His long friendship with the poet/scholar Paul Kane shines as a bright thread tying the years together. A profound and meaningful book for students, teachers, people in transition, writers and friends—which is to say, everybody. I love it". —Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People's Poet Laureate of the United States (Poetry Foundation) 

"In Search Of A Course is a refreshingly ambitious and illuminating account of Cladis's impassioned confrontation with nothing less than the central questions of nature, religion, love, and education. This is a brave and important book." —Ronald A. Sharp, Acting President emeritus, Kenyon College

Author Biography

Mark Cladis is the Brooke Russell Astor Professor of the Humanities at Brown University. He was named a Carnegie Scholar and has received research awards from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowments for the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He teaches various courses on philosophy, religion, and environmental humanities. In Search of a Course is his fourth book, but his first trade book and memoir. He lives in Barrington, Rhode Island, with his wife and three children.