Road Trip Stor-Es
June 16, 2011 | Permalink
If you’ve joined the travel-light crowd, you’re probably working on building your library of e-reading material. Maybe you’ve already downloaded some favorite authors onto your Kindle or Nook, added an app for The Wall Street Journal to your smartphone or even subscribed to Cosmopolitan or Sports Illustrated on your tablet. Have you, however, built up your road warrior bookshelf? If not, here are some great ones that are available electronically—most through Amazon’s Kindle store and/or Barnes and Noble’s Nook store, as well as a few other sources.
Classic Road Stories
Many of the most famous road trip stories are now available in electronic form, so there is no longer any excuse not to enrich your travel time with old standbys like the following:
- Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thomspon
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
- Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck
- Lord of the Rings trilogy (and The Hobbit prequel) by J. R. R. Tolkien
Newer—but destined to be classics—travel books available for your e-reader include the following:
- All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (1992 National Book Award winner)
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman (a fantasy road trip)
- The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America by Mike McIntyre
- Roads by Pulitzer winner, Larry McMurty
In the early 1900s—at the dawn of the road trip era—adventurous young people were quite the craze, and book series promoting such jaunts as The Motor Boys, The Motor Girls and The Motor Maids were wildly popular. You can download some of these free through Project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page. Another fascinating historical road trip book—this one nonfiction—is Barbara Fox’s 1957 Bedpans and Bobby Socks: Five British Nurses on the American Road Trip of a Lifetime.
Laughs and Tears Along the Way
If you enjoyed the movie version, Sideways and its sequel Vertical, both authored by Rex Pickett, are entertaining reads. For out-and-out hilarity (even the titles are a crack-up), check out the following two semi-fiction, semi-memoirs:
- Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own by Doreen Orion
- Cross Country: Fifteen Years and 90,000 Miles on the Roads and Interstates of America with Lewis and Clark, a Lot of Bad Motels, a Moving Van, Emily Post, Jack Kerouac, My Wife, My Mother-in-Law, Two Kids, and Enough Coffee to Kill an Elephant by Robert Sullivan
If you want something to read aloud for whole-family laughs, consider Barfing in the Backseat #12: How I Survived My Family Road Trip by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver.
Information, Hints and Guides
Of course, you can get maps, restaurant guides and sightseeing suggestions through apps. Sometimes, however, it’s fun to actually read live-experience advice or reflections of regions and sights. Three such favorites are:
- Route 66 Backroads: Your Guide to Scenic Side Trips & Adventures from the Mother Road by Jim Hinckley
- The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O’Connell
- 101 Amazing things to do in the USA by Harry Warraich (great lists of quirky and fascinating stops)
And, since no road trip is complete without several greasy-spoon stops, be sure to download Diners, Drive-ins and Dives: An All-American Road Trip, based on Guy Fieri’s hit show.
One last note: Remember that many best sellers are also freely available in e-book form from public libraries and library organizations. While Kindle does not have the capability to read these (but will later this year!!), Nooks and most other e-readers do.
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Harry Warraich's travel guides are awesome. I used the 101 USA guide for my trip round the states last year.
Cheers for the tips :)
Posted by: Jason Harvard | Mar 20, 2012 10:50:42 AM