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9 Offbeat Books for Summer Road Trips

Pack these off-the-beaten-path books for a different kind of adventure.

From philosophical discussions on travel to recipes for wild edibles, take the road less traveled with these wanderlust inducing, nonfiction reads.


The Art of Travel

The Art of Travel,

by Alain de Botton

Most of the time you book a vacation in an effort to escape the daily slog. But have you ever wondered what other impulses, motivations, and curiosities are involved in the decision to travel?

In The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton dives into a philosophical investigation of that exact question. He takes queues from great minds like Vincent Van Gogh and Charles Baudelaire and shows readers a new way to tour—and that the act itself is much more than just a destination escape.

Download on AmazoniTunes, and Barnes & Noble.


The Adventurers Guide to Living a Happy LIfe

The Adventurer’s Guide to Living a Happy Life,

by Matt Mosteller

After the siren call of adventure wears off, those endless hours spent driving, chatting, sitting, sleeping, and living off rest-stop vending machine snacks can start to wear on a person. To get you ready, Matt Mosteller, a self-confessed outdoorsman and skilled life coach distills his knowledge and experience into this simple how-to guide guaranteed to keep your head in check for the long ride ahead.

Download on AmazoniTunes, and Barnes & Noble.


Eating Wildly

Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal,

by Ava Chin

Urban forager Ava Chin spends her days exploring New York City’s backyards and city parks for wild and rare edible plants in a mission to eat better, healthier, and more sustainably. The exploration, however, proves to be more than just a quest for a better diet: It leads her to intimately reflect on family, love, and life and come to revelations both spiritual and culinary.

Download on AmazoniTunes, and Barnes & Noble.


The World The World

The World, the World: Memoirs of a Legendary Traveler,

by Norman Lewis

The World, the World is a fascinating culmination of experience from a man who spent six decades traveling the globe. Norman Lewis retraces events that led him to pursue his worldwide adventures, and his accounts of travel extend to the far reaches—from the French Indochina to Latin America and Spain. But at the center of it all, his passion for people and the desire to see the beaten tracks shines through.

Download on AmazoniTunes, and Barnes & Noble.


Bicycle Diaries

Bicycle Diaries,

by David Byrne

Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne recounts his explorations, using a trusted fold-up bike to explore the deep corners of Manila to Sydney. On those two wheels, Byrne observes everything from the socio-economic landscape of metropolitan cities to random musings on fashion, art, music, and globalization.

Download on AmazoniTunes, and Barnes & Noble.


Ay, Cuba

Ay, Cuba! A Socio-Erotic Journey,

by Andrei Codrescu

During an assignment to cover Pope John Paul II’s visit to the Caribbean island in 1998, NPR commentator Andrei Condrescu jumped on the opportunity to explore the realities of life in a country that was struggling to define its socialist past and uncertain future. Along with photographer David Graham, the men captured a revealing portrait of Cuba through intimate conversations with people from all walks of life. Of course, there’s plenty of rum and cigars along the way.

Download on AmazoniTunes, and Barnes & Noble.


Killing Yourself to Live

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of A True Story,

by Chuck Klosterman

According to Chuck Klosterman, all you need for a road trip are dead rockstars and a GPS. For 21 days, the Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs author traveled 6,557 miles across the country in search of the graves and sites where America’s famed rock-and-roll musicians have died. With stops in the Iowa field where Buddy Holly’s plane crashed to Kurt Cobain’s Seattle home, Klosterman’s journey became a quest to unravel the meaning of death, love, and living. The book also doubles as a great inspiration for the soundtrack to your road trip.

Download on AmazoniTunes, and Barnes & Noble.


Bike Fever

Bike Fever: On Motorcycle Culture,

by Lee Gutkind

This is not your typical run-off-the-mill Easy Rider memoir. In the early 1970s, Lee Gutkind embarked on a cross-country motorcycle trip, documenting the trials and adventures along the way. Interspersed with his own personal experience, Gutkind explores the cultural and historical context that a motorcycle holds in the American psyche, including some musing on key figures like the Hell’s Angels. Against the backdrop of beautiful terrains, Bike Fever is an ode to the solitude, independence, and exhilaration of the open road.

Download on AmazoniTunes, and Barnes & Noble.


Survivors in Mexico

Survivors in Mexico,

by Rebecca West

In this historical exploration, one of the 20th-century’s greatest travel writers, Rebecca West, tackles Mexico’s broad legacy—intersecting between art, religion, history, and politics. From the intimate lives of cultural icons like Diego Riviera to exploring the region’s relationship with its native peoples, the travelogue is a perfect companion for those interested in the history of a country that is known equally for its rich culture and beautiful landscape.

Download on AmazoniTunes, and Barnes & Noble.

Published on 31 Jul 2015

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