Enjoy the ride
In novels and in life, the road trip is a great way to have an adventure, to try new things, or to simply get away. With spring finally here, it’s the perfect time for such a journey, so we’ve rounded up some books to get you in the getaway spirit. In these 10 road trip novels, characters travel across cities, countries, and borders in the past, present, and even apocalyptic futures.
On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
An American classic and a staple of the beatnik movement, On the Road is a fictionalized version of Kerouac’s own travels with friend Neal Cassady. The odyssey of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty takes them across the country, hitching rides and experiencing the rawness of life on the road. Get a copy here.
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
Kristen Raymonde can remember a time just before a plague devastated the country and ended civilization as we know it, back when she was a young child actress. In the present, she lives with a traveling theater group that goes from town to town preserving Shakespeare and art for a broken new world. Get a copy here.
As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
One of Faulkner’s classic American tales, As I Lay Dying follows the Bundren family as they journey to Jefferson, Mississippi, to honor matriarch Addie’s last wish, to be buried in her hometown. The novel is told in alternating perspectives of each member of the Bundren clan as they trek across rural Mississippi. Get a copy here.
The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolaño
Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima set out on a quest to find the vanished poet Cesárea Tinajero, but when their trip goes horribly awry, the duo are forced to flee. The Savage Detectives is told from the perspective of those they encounter in their life on the run, across countries, oceans and borders. Get a copy here.
On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-Rae Lee
In a distant future divided strictly by class, descendants of those brought to America from provincial China work as laborers to provide for the elite charter villages. One such laborer, Fan, abandons her post to track down the man she loves when he disappears, a quest that will take her through the anarchic Open Counties and beyond. Get a copy here.
Paper Towns, by John Green
Quentin Jacobsen’s longtime unrequited crush on his neighbor Margo pays off suddenly when she climbs through his bedroom window and brings him along for a night of pranks and adventure. When Margo disappears the next day, Quentin and his friends decide to follow her trail based on the clues she left behind. Get a copy here.
Census, by Jesse Ball
A widower diagnosed with a terminal illness decides to become a census taker so that he and his son, who has Down syndrome, can travel the country together. Along the way, they meet new people and experience the world while grappling with the meaning of the mysterious census and the effect it has on the lives they touch. Get a copy here.
Angels, by Denis Johnson
Jamie is a mother who runs away from her husband with her two baby girls; Bill is a wannabe criminal mastermind dreaming of making it big. When the two meet, they decide to team up, setting in motion a dark and twisted journey that will take them through the underbelly of America. Get a copy here.
The Wangs vs. the World, by Jade Chang
Charles Wang, a Chinese immigrant who achieved wealth and success by building a cosmetics empire, loses everything in the financial crisis, compelling him to abandon his Bel Air home and bring his family on a journey to the East Coast. The Wangs grapple with their sudden change in circumstance and numerous obstacles along the way, which threaten to send their road trip hilariously off course. Get a copy here.
Find Me, by Laura van den Berg
Joy is one of the few people immune to an apocalyptic illness that ravages the country. That immunity will change her small, isolated life forever, eventually taking her on a journey from being a test subject in a Kansas hospital to Florida, searching for the family she never had. Get a copy here.