Road trips are a great way to bond with your friends or family and are often really fun, but you might occasionally find yourself with nothing to do. What better way to pass the time than to dive into a good book, especially if the novel is relevant to your current state of mind. Here are our top 10 books to take with you on a road trip:
1. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
This one’s an obvious choice – On the Road captures the feeling of travelling across wide expanses of land. A great representation of Beat and Counterculture, this novel is a defining work of postwar America that you should definitely get around to reading. It’s even better when read on the road (literally).
2. The Cruise of the Rolling Junk, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Another book based on a road trip, this is a fantastic tale of Fitzgerald’s trip across the country with his wife Zelda and their car that he called “Junk”. It’s an incredible narrative that alternates between fact and fiction in a very memorable style. This book is a collection of Scott’s journalistic works that he wrote for Motor magazine during his earlier years.
3. Around the World in 72 Days, Nellie Bly
What can be more inspirational for a road trip than a book that describes a journey around the world! It is based on the travels of Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, a young journalist living in New York, who actually managed to travel around the world in 72 days. It’s an incredible recounting of her experiences and all of the interesting things she encountered along the way.
4. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
Contrary to popular belief, Lolita isn’t simply about a desperate pedophile – there’s a lot more to this novel, one of the things being the story of an American immigrant who embarks on a seemingly endless trip across the country. This road trip, however, is both beautiful and disturbing at the same time.
5. Under the Skin, Michael Faber
Most road trip novels are set in the US, but this one is a bit more adventurous – it is about travelling the roads of Scotland as an alien (yes, you read that right). The main protagonist of this book is actually an extraterrestrial creature who’s been modified to look like a human and is out on the road to pick up hitchhikers. What for? You can find that out for yourself.
6. The Wangs vs. The World, Jade Chang
A more recent book, The Wangs vs. The World is a great tale of loss and discovery that is set on the road. When an ex-multimillionaire loses all, he embarks on a road trip with his wife and kids. Even though he is heading for his daughter’s house in New York, the destination is only a small part of what this journey is about.
7. As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
Don’t let the title of this novel discourage you – considered one of the best books of the 20th century, it tells the tale of a poor American family’s journey across Mississippi to honour their dying relative’s last wish. By describing the different trials and tribulations that the family has to face, this novel forces you to consider the importance of family values.
8. The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson
Describing his own trek through small-town America, Bryson’s incredible novel is a great combination of reminiscence and discovery. One of the best things about this book is that is bypasses popular tourist destinations and instead introduces you to rural America.
9. Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
Traveling across the country can be intimidating enough, but what about embarking on a solo trip through the Alaskan wilderness? It’s both touching and somewhat unsettling, which makes it a great companion for anyone who’s out on the road. If anything, it’ll make you appreciate the comfort of your warm car.
10. In Pursuit of Spring, Edward Thomas
An incredible journey through the British countryside, In Pursuit of Spring chronicles Thomas’s search for that elusive season. It borders on the verge of fantasy as it explores the beautiful yet poignant relationship between man and nature.