Jen­nifer Traig, author of Well Enough Alone: A Cul­tur­al His­to­ry of My Hypochon­dria, is guest-blog­ging all week for MyJew­ish­Learn­ing and the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil.

This New Year I’ll be grate­ful if there’s very lit­tle new. Last year there was far too much. With­in a sin­gle week, I got mar­ried, got preg­nant, and pub­lished a mem­oir. Six weeks after that I was dragged across the coun­try to live in a house I’d nev­er seen, in Ann Arbor, a place I’d vis­it­ed just once.

I didn’t know what I was get­ting into at all. That sin­gle vis­it had been a Potemkin Vil­lage tour over a per­fect sum­mer week­end. My hus­band had only brought me to the nice places, the veg­e­tar­i­an restau­rants and bead stores he knew I’d like, and he’d coached his friends to lie about the weather.

But now we were liv­ing here, and I wasn’t very hap­py about it. I was also fierce­ly home- and morn­ing-sick. And so I spent the first few months sulk­ing in bed and read­ing, by which I mean watch­ing TV most­ly but also some­times read­ing. Usu­al­ly the book in ques­tion was a doorstop biog­ra­phy of Marie Antoinette. I iden­ti­fied with the roy­al teenage new­ly­wed. When she mar­ried, she also had to leave every­one and every­thing behind, even her name and under­pants. I, at least, got to keep those.

After a lit­tle while, I decid­ed it might be a good idea to go back on my anti­de­pres­sants and get out of bed. And when I did I was sur­prised to find that I actu­al­ly real­ly liked Ann Arbor. In the month or so before we left Berke­ley our block was cor­doned off because of an in-home mur­der; our car win­dow was bashed in and our things stolen; and a vis­i­tor found a small pack­et of hero­in on our stoop. That doesn’t hap­pen here. Yes, it snows a lot, but that just gives you a good excuse to stay home and read.

Which is the oth­er thing I like about Ann Arbor. This is a town of read­ers, the place where Bor­ders began. It’s also a town of writ­ers, home to Eliz­a­beth Kos­to­va and Phoebe Gloeck­n­er. Loads more pass through, like Ryan Har­ty, Julie Orringer, and Josh Henkin, whose love­ly Ann Arbor nov­el Mat­ri­mo­ny I’d read as prepa­ra­tion before my move and my marriage.

And then there’s Dan­it Brown. The month we moved she pub­lished Ask for a Con­vert­ible, a col­lec­tion of linked short sto­ries about a young Ann Arbor trans­plant that became my instant favorite. Sad­dled with a name that guar­an­tees years of class­room tor­ture, Osnat moves from Tel Aviv to this strange and snowy place with as much good cheer as I did, which is none. It’s a per­fect book, wry and fun­ny, and I can’t rec­om­mend it high­ly enough. I loved every word, but these most of all:

Maybe it would be like all those movies where the guy brings home a girl he hand­picked express­ly to piss his par­ents off. Her father, Osnat knew, had once pulled the same trick and brought home a Catholic woman, but he’d just want­ed mon­ey for a con­vert­ible. He was nine­teen, and this strat­e­gy had worked for two of his friends, he’d told Osnat. It didn’t for him. His mother―Osnat’s grandmother―had sim­ply tak­en the girl’s coat and fed her some brisket and some apple pie. You’re not mad?” Osnat’s father had asked her after­ward, and she’d said, Do you think I’m blind? Or maybe you think I’m stu­pid?” Then she added, My son, the pimp.” This always made Osnat’s father laugh. And this is why you should nev­er black­mail,” he liked to say. You want a con­vert­ible? Ask for a con­vert­ible.” And when Osnat final­ly did, he told her to get a job like every­one else. This is Michi­gan,” he’d said. You don’t need a convertible.”

The fun­ny thing is, now that I live in Michi­gan, I see con­vert­ibles all the time, way more than I did in, say, Cal­i­for­nia or Israel, places where the cli­mate actu­al­ly per­mits roof­less cars. I can only guess this is due to the same sen­si­bil­i­ty that leads Michi­gan to have more pub­lic golf cours­es than any oth­er state, although we have some of the worst weath­er. And that’s anoth­er thing I like about this place, and I won­der if it’s why Brown still lives here, too: there’s a cer­tain native con­vert-abil­i­ty, an eager­ness to seize the day when things are fair, and to adapt when they’re not. Osnat even­tu­al­ly fig­ures out how to do this, and I’m fig­ur­ing it out too.

You put the roof up. It’s not that hard.

Jen­nifer Traig is the author, most recent­ly, of Well Enough Alone: A Cul­tur­al His­to­ry of My Hypochon­dria, as well as Dev­il in the Details: Scenes from an Obses­sive Girl­hood, and Judaik­itsch: Tchotchkes, Schmattes and Nosh­erei, and the edi­tor of The Autobiographer’s Hand­book: The 826 Nation­al Guide to Writ­ing Your Mem­oir. She lives in Ann Arbor.