2020 Book Tour, By Amtrak…

This fall my new book Bonsai Heresy will be published, and next year, in April 2020, I’m leaping on a train to do readings and signings—barnstorming fashion, like days of old.

Our endearing Amtrak service

The book tour will be a big loop around the U.S. for roughly three weeks.

I have fond memories of long distance train travel, having visited family in Wisconsin a few times by Amtrak. In Glacier National Park, if memory serves, there’s a view of the lodge from the tracks. The last time I was in Glacier the train lost power near the end of December—we sat there on the tracks for quite some time, with snow building up outside like Murder on the Orient Express—and the fella running the cafe was starting to drink in preparation for a passenger insurrection. Memorable.

This time, definitely skipping the winter trip and trying a spring one.

A few initial details (many more later when my assistant and I iron this thing out):

  • Planned events: For readings, fair warning, I probably won’t be landing on club meeting dates, so they would be special events. Most of these will likely be pop up events in alternative spaces.
  • Spontaneous events: Even if there’s no club nearby for a presentation, fret not, if you live near the station where I’ll be stopping briefly we’ll have ways to be in touch. We can meet in the station for a bit, get books signed, share stories, and then I’ll hop back aboard.
  • Route: In another post there will be a map with the confirmed route. As a sketch, though, I’ll likely go south from Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, LA, then east through Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Houston, New Orleans, then north to Atlanta, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, Montreal, then west to Chicago, Twin Cities, and home to Portland. May not stop at all these cities, it’s just a rough route, and will likely stop at points in between.

Some of you continue to ask where in the process Bonsai Heresy is. You wouldn’t believe the number of steps involved in making a book, but I can report progress. Last Friday the manuscript editors—all ten of them—got the rough draft.

For more about the book, here’s a post about Bonsai Heresy.

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  1. Kevin Stoeveken says:

    Michael – This sounds like one of those dream trips !!! I have sent you an email regarding the possibility of including a stop along your tour… I hope you consider it !

  2. Ray says:

    Looking forward to it Michael

  3. Kevin says:

    Michael I’m so glad to hear that your book is getting closer to being finished. I look forward to reading it. Hopefully I can see ya if you decide to stop in Columbus Ohio. Have fun.

  4. Kathy McCabe says:

    Hello, fellow rail fan!

    We’d love to host a Michael Hagedorn reading and books signing here at the Museum! Are you ready to schedule a tentative date? Can’t wait to hear more about bonsai heresy…

    I’ve cc’d Aarin and our program manager Shayla Miles. Questions or suggestions? Please contact one of us.

    Thanks so much, Michael.

    All the best,


    • crataegus says:

      Hi Kathy, thanks so much for the offer, I can’t schedule a date yet but I appreciate the enthusiasm. I have noted the Museum as a possible stop and will try to make it work! Will be in touch-

  5. Pat Targgart Foldi says:

    Pretty exciting! So happy for you!

  6. Pauline Muth says:

    I would love to host you here at our studio. We are close to both the Schenectady and Saratoga Springs NY rail terminals.

    • crataegus says:

      Thanks Pauline, that’s great, I didn’t know you were that close– I’ll be in touch about the possibility once I get my head wrapped around the timing and logistics!

  7. I would love for you to come to Maryland. Maybe we could have you at the US National Arboretum.

  8. Gary Croft - Melbourne says:

    The cartoon is by Ron Tanberg of the Melbourne “Age” newspaper, here in Australia
    It was done some years back

  9. Young Choe says:

    Your book tour by Amtrak reminds me of the book I am reading “Aleph” by Paulo Coelho. What a great idea!! See you next month in Washington DC.

  10. Chris says:

    Hey Mr Hagedorn,

    The book sound very interesting. I think bonsai (specifically the horticultural part) is full of myths and pseudoscience. I was wondering if some of these topics will be part of your book. Can share a little bit more?

    • crataegus says:

      Hi Chris, thanks, yes, there are quite a few of them. The book has 57 chapters, each chapter covering a myth or something that I felt needed clarification. They range from technical chapters like the misunderstandings of winter dormancy issues in subtropical climates, the idea that wire left on branches in the winter kills them, the scuffles over organic or chemical fertilizers, and then on to part two with some aesthetic misapplications of rather good ideas, such as pocket branches, bar branches, age in bonsai, using dwarf varieties, the limitations of the five styles, and on and on. It’s a lot of topics and I hope it will be a resource for those seeking answers to confusions that have a deep history in Western bonsai.

      • William Lee Kohler says:

        Sounds really interesting(-;! Gotta have it. Will show off at our club in Eugene.

  11. Rick Short says:

    Utica, NY. The Mohawk Valley Bonsai Club.

    We’re right between Pauline Muth and Bill Valavanis. And Utica has incredible food!!!

    Let us know when you start planning your itinerary.

  12. Gabe Monetti says:

    Michael, any chance we could have you at the Triangle Bonsai Society in Raleigh, NC? The stop would be about half way between ATL and DC.

  13. Rob Giorgi says:

    Maybe you could stop in Cleveland, OH. We could arrange to have our members meet
    you at the station. Let me know your thoughts.

    Rob Giorgi

  14. Richard Dorfman says:

    Vermont IS trees. How can you not plan a stop here? 😎

  15. Susan Ronan says:

    I realize you plan only going as far South as LA at this time, but San Diego has a large and vibrant Club that would love to host you at a meeting if all the planets align!

  16. Elsie Andrade says:

    Your book sounds great! If you are stopping in the Phoenix area we would love to work something out.

  17. Kip Pierson says:

    Wait! No Bend, Oregon?!?!?!?!

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