Top Ten Tuesday is a book blogging prompt hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I don’t participate every week, but I join in when I find the prompt interesting. This week’s prompt is books that are travel related, but I’ve narrowed it down further to road trip books, and not just any road trip books, but road trip books on my TBR list.
I love road trip books. Some of my favorites are classics, like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (Incidentally, I read all of Thompson’s books the semester I took Intro to Journalism in college, and found them much more illuminating than any of my actual coursework). I got really into philosophy when I was in junior high (yeah, I’m not lying when I said I never read YA when I was an actual young adult) and loved Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig like only a 12-year-old could. When Mister BS took a Kerouac and Ginsberg class in college, I read On the Road. Though Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is not my favorite of Tom Robbins’ novels, it’s a fun (if controversial and polarizing) road trip book, to be sure. My favorite of the YA road trip novels I’ve read is Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie (my review can be found here).
But there are a TON of road trip books on my to-be-read list, and I thought this Top Ten Tuesday would be a great way to give me the kick I need to read them.
Homage to Catalonia – George Orwell | My One and Only – Kristan Higgins | The Road -Cormac McCarthy | In Honor – Jessi Kirby | Take Me There – Carolee Dean | An Abundance of Katherines – John Green | Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan Matson | Perfect Escape – Jennifer Brown | Going Bovine – Libba Bray | Zig Zag – Ellen Wittlinger
I’m fascinated by the Spanish Civil War and all the famous authors who were somehow involved, which is why I added the Orwell title (also I’m a big Orwell fan). I’ve been wanting to branch out into romance, and Kristan Higgans is an often recommended contemporary romance author. The Road is a classic post-apocalyptic father and son tale that often comes up in discussion, so I know I need to read it. The rest of the YA novels range from quirky to fun to more serious and I’d like to check out the range of young adult road trip novels.
I’ve also thought this would be a great opportunity to share a fascinating article I read a few months ago that I’ve been thinking about working into a Feminist Friday feature, but instead will just mention here.
In this article from The American Reader, Vanessa Velseka laments the lack of female road narratives:
“Siddhartha wants liberation, Dante wants Beatrice, Frodo wants to get to Mount Doom—we all want something. Quest is elemental to the human experience. All road narratives are to some extent built on quest. If you’re a woman, though, this fundamental possibility of quest is denied. You can’t go anywhere if you can’t step out onto a road.”
Women embarking on a journey into the unknown is seen as dangerous, while there is a certain romantic view of a guy doing the exact same thing. The entire article is fascinating and I encourage you to check it out.
Road trips seem so American, so tied to the coming of age experience, that I think they’ll always capture the imagination of readers. Of all the travel I’ve done, the times I remember most fondly are cross-country road trips, whether they were with my family as a child with a mini TV in the back seat of the van (before they were built in), through the mountains with my best friend after Freshman year of college, or with a busload of high school debaters during my coaching days. When given the choice and the time, I’ll always pick the road over the sky.
What are your favorite road trip books or memories?