Reads for the Road – Summer List

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Summer is so close I can smell it. And let me tell you, it smells like lemonade and pine trees, and a whole lotta sunscreen. But it’s not cabin season yet, which means summer hasn’t officially arrived… so luckily I still have time to make lists of trails to hike, things to grill, and more importantly, books to read.

I wrote about a few of my favorite reads for the road here, and gushed over another book here, but this is a little different.

Summer is always a season when I reach for books with more enthusiasm than the rest of the year. Probably because in school it always meant I could read what I wanted to read instead of what I was supposed to read… and now it means cabin afternoons and time to kill in airports or while being the most boring road trip partner (sorry Jesse, but, books) (and naps).

This summer, my list is shaping up to look like this:

1. Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro

Dear Life“With her peerless ability to give us the essence of life in brief stories, Alice Munro illumines the moment a life is shaped – the moment a dream, or perhaps a simple twist of fate turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into another way of being.

These stories paint a vivid and lasting portrait of how strange, dangerous, and extraordinary the ordinary life can be.”

I love the concept. Beauty found in the ordinary, profound in the mundane. We’ll see…

2. Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton

Journal of a Solitude“I am here alone for the first time in weeks,” May Sarton begins this book, “to take up my ‘real’ life again at last. That is what is strange – that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life, unless there is time alone in which to explore what is happening or what has happened.”

This book is a journal from the year in the life of this profound and creative woman…  and the reviews make me wish I’d read this in Yellowknife when I faced the most solitude I’d ever experienced and didn’t quite know what to do with it at first.

3. Love With a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

Love With A Chance of Drowning

“Torre DeRoche planned to spend a year in the US working and then return home to Australia. Instead she fell in love with an Argentinian and despite a fear of the sea, agreed to sail with him across the Pacific.”

Part travelogue, part poignant memoir, their journey is set against a backdrop of the world’s most beautiful and remote destinations.

From the book, “Some people die of old age without ever having lived their dreams. some people die without ever having loved. That’s tragic. We’ll both die someday, that’s a guarantee. If something happens on the ocean, we’ll die as two people in love who are living a remarkable adventure…”

This is right up my alley for so many reasons. Ugh, yes. I’ve got high hopes for this one.

4. Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Travels with Charley

“In September of 1960 an ailing, and out-of-sorts John Steinbeck, decided that his problem was that he had lost touch with America. He outfitted a three-quarter-ton pickup truck as a sort of land yacht and set off from his home in Sag Harbor, NY, with his dog, Charley, to drive cross-country.

The idea was that he would travel alone, stay at campgrounds and reconnect himself with the country by talking to the locals he met along the way.”

I’m a sucker for a good road trip, especially when discovery is at the heart of the journey. In this case, it seems like it’ll be about understanding people and place, and how the country had changed as Steinbeck traveled it for what would be the last time.


I can’t wait to dive into all of these books this summer! It feels like a good mix too. Some adventure themes are going on, and I’ve got some fictional stories in the mix with memoir (and Steinbeck blending both as he reportedly embellishes his trip a lot…).

Related to this, GoodReads is one of my favorite things these days. What an awesome tool to find good books and see what your friends are reading. (Have an account? Find me here!)


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