LoveReading

Becoming a member of the LoveReading community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…

Find out more

30+ riveting road trip reads - Off the page and on the road

Joanne Owen

By Joanne Owen on 18th September 2020

Many stories involve journeys, of sorts. The teen rebel who comes-of-age and gets on track after setting-out down a rocky road. Characters in crisis who change paths and embark on journeys of self-discovery in later life. And a vast number of unforgettable stories - both on screen and on the page - centre around journeys in a literal sense, none more famous than Jack Kerouac’s 1957 classic On the Road. Sal and Dean’s hedonism and lust for life certainly set the beat for generations of literary road-trip adventures. Another - but very different - classic comes courtesy of Jules Verne’s continent-hopping Around the World in Eighty Days, a journey replicated by Michael Palin in recent years.

One of my favourite present-day novels happens to be a road-trip trailblazer - Neil Gaiman’s epic American Gods. It’s a dazzling feat of fiction that melds myth, magic and real-life drama to create a thrilling phantasmagorical commentary on contemporary America.

While road trips of both the movie and literary variety usually conjure images of open road, open top journeys across America, of red deserts framed by raging scarlet sunsets, and of raggedy rebellious youngsters finding their way in the world, some contemporary delights come from colder climes, and feature very different kinds of characters, like The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. This quirky, touching, Swedish rib-tickler sees the eponymous hundred-year-old man flee his retirement home and become embroiled in a criminal adventure, during which his pivotal role in key moments of twentieth-century history is revealed with witty hilarity.

Returning to America, mention must go to one of my top non-fiction books of the year, David Reynolds’s Slow Road to San Francisco. Documenting the author’s solo coast-to-coast road trip from America’s east to west coast, this is as enlightening on American history and politics as it is amusing and warm-spirited.

A host of Young Adult novels also take to the road to great effect, among them Emery Lord’s music-fuelled tale of rocky romance, Open Road Summer, John Green’s poignant Paper Towns and Kim Culbertston’s The Wonder of Us in which a protagonist teetering towards adulthood leaves California to take a lifechanging trip around Europe.

Without further ado, we invite you to buckle up before exploring our collection of road-trip reads – a sure-fire riveting ride lies ahead.

American Gods

American Gods

Author: Neil Gaiman Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/06/2011

Headline celebrates the 10-year publication anniversary of this extraordinary novel from a storytelling genius. After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the time until his release ticks away, he can feel a storm brewing. Two days before he gets out, his wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash, in adulterous circumstances. Dazed, Shadow travels home, only to encounter the bizarre Mr Wednesday claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving the murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town. But the storm is about to break...

ebook of the month
The Wangs vs the World

The Wangs vs the World

Author: Jade Chang Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/06/2017

harles takes his other two children out of schools that he can no longer afford and packs them into the only car that wasn't repossessed-along with their wealth-addicted stepmother, Barbra. But with his son waylaid by a much-older temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally, finally fulfilling his dream of China.

ebook of the month
Mosquitoland

Mosquitoland

Author: David Arnold Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/09/2015

When her parents unexpectedly divorce, Mim Malone is dragged from her beloved home in Ohio to the 'wastelands' of Mississippi, where she lives in a haze of medication with her dad and new (almost certainly evil) stepmom. But when Mim learns her real mother is ill back home, she escapes her new life and embarks on a rescue mission aboard a Greyhound bus, meeting an assortment of quirky characters along the way. And when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

ebook of the month
Notes from A Small Island

Notes from A Small Island

Author: Bill Bryson Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/07/2015

His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite; a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy; place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells; people who said 'Mustn't grumble', and 'Ooh lovely' at the sight of a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits; and Gardeners' Question Time. Notes from a Small Island was a huge number-one bestseller when it was first published, and has become the nation's most loved book about Britain, going on to sell over two million copies.

ebook of the month
The Road to Little Dribbling More Notes from a Small Island

The Road to Little Dribbling More Notes from a Small Island

Author: Bill Bryson Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/04/2016

Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation's heart and became the bestselling travel book ever, and was also voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain. Now, to mark the twentieth anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey round Britain to see what has changed. Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, by way of places that many people never get to at all, Bryson sets out to rediscover the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly unique country that he thought he knew but doesn't altogether recognize any more. Yet, despite Britain's occasional failings and more or less eternal bewilderments, Bill Bryson is still pleased to call our rainy island home. And not just because of the cream teas, a noble history, and an extra day off at Christmas.

ebook of the month
Once Upon a Time in the West...Country

Once Upon a Time in the West...Country

Author: Tony Hawks Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/03/2015

You can take the man out of the city, but is the countryside ready for him? Comedian and born and bred townie, Tony Hawks is not afraid of a challenge - or indeed a good bet. He's hitchhiked round Ireland with a fridge and taken on the Moldovan football team at tennis, one by one. Now the time has come for his greatest gamble yet - turning his back on comfortable city life to move to the wilds of the West Country. With his partner Fran in tow and their first child on the way, he embraces the rituals of village life with often absurd and hilarious results, introducing us to an ensemble of eclectic characters along the way. One minute he's taking part in a calamitous tractor run, the next he's chairing a village meeting, but of course he still finds time for one last solo adventure before fatherhood arrives - cycling coast to coast with a mini pig called Titch. In the epic battle of man vs countryside, who will win out?

ebook of the month

Comments (0)


Leave A Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.