It’s finally summer! I can’t believe that we are almost halfway through the year, and halfway through 2018’s reading challenge. Today I have sixteen books to recommend for this month’s theme, On the Road. When I chose this theme, I was thinking about all the great road trip memories I have from my childhood. Since summer vacation is so often the time we hit the road, I figured I’d compile some of my favorite books about traveling, journeys, or adventures. With each little summary, I’ve also tried to include what type of vacation day this book might be best for. Some of them are great for the beach, and others might be better suited for a rainy day in. Whatever books you choose, you can shop all of these books here!
- The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
- This slow-burning travel story tells the tale of a British butler journeying across the English countryside to reconnect with an old coworker. This one’s perfect for parking it in the air conditioning–maybe follow it up with an episode of Downton Abbey or two!
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Another American classic, Twain’s novel follows Huck Finn as he runs away from home to float down the Mississippi River. When he meets Jim, a runaway slave, his adventures really get started. This classic is full of things to think about, but it’s engaging enough to read on the beach!
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- This short classic is perfect for the hottest days of the summer. Guy Montag’s journey from book-burning fireman to outlaw will be sure to inspire you!
- The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
- This lighthearted story is an easy read. It follows the adventures of Arthur Pepper as he traces his late’s wife life story. This one’s perfect for poolside reading or a rainy day at the beach. It’s sweet and somewhat predictable, but will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy!
- No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
- This gripping, intense drama is not for the faint of heart! Be warned that this is a violent story with a gratuitously violent villain. But y’all, it is SO GOOD. And that’s coming from me, the girl who cried during Finding Nemo. This is also a great beach read–just be careful you don’t get so drawn in that you stay on the beach all day and get sunburnt!
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- Another McCarthy classic, The Road is a post-apocalyptic drama that follows an unnamed father and son as they walk down the eponymous road. This one is also dark and intense, but it will keep you up at night! Keep it on your bedside for those late summer evenings.
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- This love story is set in the circus, but don’t think The Greatest Showman, think gritty, sometimes violent train rides from state to state. This book is a perfect beach read–romantic, attention-grabbing, and a unique look into circus culture.
- So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Lief Enger
- If you’re planning a great American road trip to the Wild West, be sure you pack this book. I loved Enger’s insight and wacky characters. If you’re a fan of his novel Peace Like A River, be sure to give this one a try, too.
- Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
- If you’re up for a challenge this Summer, try O’Connor’s first novel Wise Blood. This novel is full of religious symbolism, and it’s weird in the best possible way.
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Marukami
- If you have plans to literally hit the road in your running shoes this summer, pick up this memoir about running, writing, and life. I loved listening to this book, and I learned a lot about my own running and writing in the process.
- In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
- There aren’t a lot of roads in this book, but there is a lot of traveling. In the Heart of the Sea is the true story of the whale ship Essex, which provided the inspiration for Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick. Even though this book is nonfiction, it will keep you up at night. Maybe don’t read this one if you have any plans to go deep sea fishing…
- How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson
- This pick is a loose interpretation of the month’s theme. This was the first audiobook I ever listened to, and it remains one of my favorite. Johnson writes about six seemingly small innovations that changed the modern world. So I guess you could say these six things put us on the road to modernity? It’s a stretch, I know!
- Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
- Headed to the UK in June? Get ready for your trip with Bryson’s funny book about traveling across the United Kingdom on foot, train, bus, and plane.
- The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
- This is one Bryson book I haven’t read, but I’m adding it to my Audible list to purchase in the near future. Bryson’s book capture such amazing slices of life, and I can’t wait to read what he experiences in small town America.
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
- If you’re planning on going camping this summer, check out Bryson’s funniest book, a chronicle of his attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail.
- Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
- I haven’t read this Steinbeck classic, but I am adding it to my list. A series of essays, Travels with Charley follows Steinbeck as he travelled across America with his poodle, Charley. I’m hoping this book will give me some insight into Steinbeck’s America!
Happy Summer! Let me know in the comments which books stick out to you, or which travel books I’ve forgotten. Don’t forget that you can purchase all of these books by shopping this list. Plus, there might even be a few extra books listed for you to check out!