It’s Fourth of July weekend, which means we’re in the thick of summer. Road trips, camping trips, fishing trips, family trips — we’re all hitting the road at some point. Here are six novels to bring on your summer excursion.
The Sisters Brothers, Patrick DeWitt – This is especially appropriate for a trip down the west coast. Follow the Sisters Brothers from Oregon City to San Francisco and imagine yourself a prospector looking to strike it lucky during the Gold Rush. Bonus points if you travel by horseback.
On the Road, Jack Kerouac – The quintessential travel book. On the Road is based on Kerouac’s own experiences and features Beat Generation authors Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. Who wouldn’t want to read this in the passenger seat of their car from New York to California and back?
The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien – If On the Road is the quintessential travel book, The Hobbit is the same for the fantasy world. Tolkien’s classic set in Middle Earth is perfect for those road trips with friends, or when you can only focus for a short while at a time. For the full hobbit experience, only read this novel barefoot.
Last Chance to See, Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine – If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly going on the same long, boring car rides across the Midwest. Live vicariously through Adams’ wit as he travels around the world – from Madagascar to Indonesia, from Zaire to Chile – discovering the endangered animals that live in each destination. In case you’re the driver on these long trips, Douglas Adams recorded a five-part radio series in 1997, reading through the book and talking about his adventures.
The Infinite Tides, Christian Kiefer – A novel for returning home. In this modern Space Odyssey, astronaut Keith Corcoran returns to find his house empty, his wife and daughter gone. A novel that has been described as an astronaut stranded on earth, The Infinite Tides will keep you thankful for what you are returning to at home.
The Vacationers, Emma Straub – A book to begin on your way to the beach, and a book to finish while you’re there. Straub’s 2015 novel explores the life of a suburban family on vacation in Mallorca. As the Posts attempt to celebrate a 35th wedding anniversary and their daughter’s graduation from high school, secrets are revealed and their vacation goes awry. Straub’s witty thriller will keep you turning pages until you’re sunburned.
by Cole Meyer