Closing the Book: Travels in Life, Loss, and Literature> explores the intersection of literature and life in personal essays about traveling, teaching, reading, writing, living, and dying. Each essay's narrative arc is formed and informed by the act of reading literature that makes a reader feel like the book she's reading was somehow written specifically for her to read in that exact moment.

The article "Why I Broke Up With My Novel to Write a Memoir" by Joelle Renstrom on Literary Hub

“Joelle Renstrom brought back my grief at my own father's death, and finally, in significant ways, allowed me to move past it. She is a wise and honest writer, the most thoughtful of travel companions, and a brilliant interpreter of the ways in which literature and life connect. As I read, I found myself wishing she had been my teacher-then realized, gratefully, as I closed the covers, that she had been.” Eileen Pollack, author of The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still A Boys' Club

“Many of us use literature as a guide, an inspiration, a support in times of trouble and need. Travel serves some of the same purposes—as an escape into otherness, a way of learning, a standard for comparison with the world we live in ordinarily. But few of us have the knack Joelle Renstrom has of writing about how life, literature, and travel intersect and feed off one another. Closing the Book is both deeply personal and at the same time open and welcoming enough that we can find ourselves in these pages and learn something there about loss, grief and growth.” Richard Tillinghast

“This is the most beautiful book I have ever read. It's at once a memoir, an ode to favorite literature, a glimpse into teaching—and writing. Joelle Renstrom's new book, Closing the Book: Travels in Life, Loss, and Literature, is a work of art. ” Dr. Jessie Voigts, Wandering Educators

Joelle Renstrom is a writer living in Somerville, MA. Joelle's award-winning blog Could This Happen? explores the relationship between science and science fiction. Her work has appeared in Slate, Guernica, The Toast, and others. Joelle teaches writing and research with a focus on space, artificial intelligence, and science fiction at Boston University.