1. Travels with Charley by: John Steinbeck
Anything written by John Steinbeck is a classic and Travels with Charley is no exception. Steinbeck writes about a road trip he took later on in life with his standard poodle, Charlie. While part of the book is based on his personal experiences Steinbeck had while traveling, some of the places and characters are fictionalized making Travels with Charley another great American novel.
2. Blue Highways: A Journey into America by: William Least Heat-Moon
Sensing a theme here? Recommend from my fellow co-worker and bookseller, Rick, Blue Highways is a non-fictional account of William's journey across America. William refused to follow current maps that depict roads in red ink. Instead he opted for following only the old blue ink roads along the map. He traveled across the U.S. using only the back roads and avoiding interstates at all costs. This longer wandering pays off in rich experience and story telling. Read about America through the eyes of a man who strayed off of the nicely paved path and listened to the stories the locals had to tell.
3. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by: Robert M. Pirsig
Robert M. Pirsig and his young son took a 17-day motorcycle from Minnesota to California and along the way had many philosophical discussions which centered around the concept of quality. Pirsig believes that "quality" is undefinable and throughout the ride he tries to understand the world through two different view points: rational and romantic. A philosophical read for the every-day bookworm, Pirsig tries to find zen in a world of rationality. Don't expect to find any motorcycle advice in this book but do expect to find yourself having internal-philosophical debates during your trip after reading this book. It's worth it.
4. The Road Not Taken: A Selection of Robert Frost's Poems by: Robert Frost
This particular edition that we carry in the store includes an introduction and commentary by Louis Untermeyer. Of course Robert Frost is an extremely well-known poet but his nature poems are the ones that earned him a spot on our "Road Trip Reads" list. His poems aren't too long or too short and are great for carrying around and reading leisurely. I love bringing a collection of poetry with me on my trips and think Frost fits the bill nicely.
5. The Bean Trees by: Barabara Kingslover
The Bean Trees is Kingslover's first novel and is often labeled as a "modern classic." It's easy to get stuck in a small town and Taylor Greer has grown up trying to avoid the same life her mother has gone through. After successfully avoiding teenage pregnancy and getting stuck in the small town lifestyle, Taylor takes her rusty old car on the road and heads for a new life out West. With her rural town of Kentucky in the rear view mirror, she sets out to embrace her Cherokee heritage. But no road map could predict the stop that causes Taylor to inherit a 3 year-old Native American girl named Turtle. Together Turtle and Taylor travel through Oklahoma and Tucson to Arizona. Taylor knows it's not going to be an easy trip but is it going to be worth the gas? I fell in love with this novel and can't wait to read more of Kingslover's works.
The Book House also carries a large range of travel guides, maps, hiking books, Mad Libs, crossword puzzles and other games for your road trip needs. We also received a shipment of lovely walking sticks that come in a range of sizes perfect for summer hiking.
Here's a picture of a younger
Sully on his first road trip!