Whether you want a book for the road, need to travel vicariously through a good read, or even want to plan a road trip of your own—you can kick off summer with these fantastic road trip reads!
Books that Cross State Lines:
Lady Be Good by Amber Brock
Set in the 1950s, Lady Be Good sweeps readers into the world of the mischievous, status-obsessed daughter of a hotel magnate and the electric nightlife of three iconic cities: New York, Miami, and Havana.
Kitty Tessler is the only child of self-made hotel and nightclub tycoon Nicolas Tessler. It seems like the fun will never end until Kitty’s father issues a terrible ultimatum: Kitty must marry Andre, her father’s second-in-command, and take her place as the First Lady of his hotel empire and Kitty is forced to come up with a wily and elaborate plan to protect her own ideas for future.
Then Kitty meets Max, a member of a band visiting New York from her father’s Miami club, and follows him, Andre, and the rest of the band back down to Miami—and later to Cuba. As Kitty spends more time with Max, she begins waking up to the beauty—and the injustice—of the world beyond her small, privileged corner of Manhattan. And when her well-intended yet manipulative efforts backfire, Kitty is forced to reconsider her choices and her future before she loses everyone she loves.
The Midnight Line by Lee Child
Follow Reacher on a journey through the upper Midwest, from a lowlife bar on the sad side of small town to a dirt-blown crossroads in the middle of nowhere, encountering bikers, cops, crooks, muscle, and a missing persons PI who wears a suit and a tie in the Wyoming wilderness in this tantalizing read.
Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not?
The deeper Reacher digs, and the more he learns, the more dangerous the terrain becomes. Turns out the ring was just a small link in a far darker chain. Powerful forces are guarding a vast criminal enterprise. Some lines should never be crossed. But then, neither should Reacher.
Travel by Reading:
The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age by James Crabtree
A colorful and revealing portrait of the rise of India’s new billionaire class in a radically unequal society.
India is the world’s largest democracy, with more than one billion people and an economy expanding faster than China’s. But the rewards of this growth have been far from evenly shared, and the country’s top 1% now own nearly 60% of its wealth. In megacities like Mumbai, where half the population live in slums, the extraordinary riches of India’s new dynasties echo the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers of yesterday, funneling profits from huge conglomerates into lifestyles of conspicuous consumption.
James Crabtree’s The Billionaire Raj takes readers on a personal journey to meet these reclusive billionaires, fugitive tycoons, and shadowy political power brokers. From the sky terrace of the world’s most expensive home to impoverished villages and mass political rallies, Crabtree dramatizes the battle between crony capitalists and economic reformers, revealing a tense struggle between equality and privilege playing out against a combustible backdrop of aspiration, class, and caste.
Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin
A Texas map marked with three red dots like drops of blood. A serial killer who claims to have dementia. A mysterious young woman who wants answers. What could go wrong?
An obsessive young woman has been waiting half her life for this moment. She has planned. Researched. Trained. Imagined every scenario. Now she is almost certain the man who kidnapped and murdered her sister sits in the passenger seat beside her.
Carl Louis Feldman is a documentary photographer who may or may not have dementia—and may or may not be a serial killer. The young woman claims to be his long-lost daughter. He doesn’t believe her. He claims no memory of murdering girls across Texas, in a string of places where he shot eerie pictures. She doesn’t believe him. Determined to find the truth, she lures him out of a halfway house and proposes a dangerous idea: a ten-day road trip, just the two of them, to examine cold cases linked to his haunting photographs.
Is he a liar or a broken old man? Is he a pathological con artist? Or is she?
“A rich hybrid work that’s at once . . . a murder mystery, a road novel, a pair of psychological case studies and a meditation on photography.” —The Sunday Times (U.K.)
Swimming Between Worlds by Elaine Neil Orr
From the critically acclaimed writer of A Different Sun, a Southern coming-of-age novel that sets three very different young people against the tumultuous years of the American civil rights movement.
Tacker Hart left his home in North Carolina as a local high school football hero, but returns in disgrace after being fired from a prestigious architectural assignment in West Africa. Yet the culture and people he grew to admire have left their mark on him. Adrift, he manages his father’s grocery store and becomes reacquainted with a girl he barely knew growing up.
Kate Monroe’s parents have died, leaving her the family home and the right connections in her Southern town. But a trove of disturbing letters sends her searching for the truth behind the comfortable life she’s been bequeathed.
On the same morning but at different moments, Tacker and Kate encounter a young African-American, Gaines Townson, and their stories converge with his. As Winston-Salem is pulled into the tumultuous 1960s, these three Americans find themselves at the center of the civil rights struggle, coming to terms with the legacies of their pasts as they search for an ennobling future.
Books for the Road:
The Glitch by Elisabeth Cohen
The fast, funny, story of a high-profile, TED-talking, power-posing Silicon Valley CEO and mother of two who has it all under control, until a woman claiming to be a younger version of herself appears, causing a major glitch in her over-scheduled, over-staffed, over-worked life.
Shelley Stone, wife, mother, and CEO of the tech company Conch, is committed to living her most efficient life. She takes her “me time” at 3:30 a.m. on the treadmill, power naps while waiting in line, schedules sex with her husband for when they are already changing clothes, and takes a men’s multivitamin because she refuses to participate in her own oppression.
But when she meets a young woman also named Shelley Stone who has the same exact scar on her shoulder, Shelley has to wonder: Is she finally buckling under all the pressure?
What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw by Leah Stewart
The celebrated author of The Myth of You and Me explores an untraditional love story through the lens of a character actor who must finally become the hero of her own story.
After a series of missteps in the face of his newfound fame, actor Charlie Outlaw flees to a remote island in search of anonymity and a chance to reevaluate his recent breakup with his girlfriend, actress Josie Lamar. But soon after his arrival on the peaceful island, his solitary hike into the jungle takes him into danger he never anticipated.
As Charlie struggles with gaining fame, Josie struggles with its loss. The star of a cult TV show in her early twenties, Josie has spent the twenty years since searching for a role to equal that one, and feeling less and less like her character, the heroic Bronwyn Kyle. As she gets ready for a reunion of the cast at a huge fan convention, she thinks all she needs to do is find a part and replace Charlie. But she can’t forget him, and to get him back she’ll need to be a hero in real life.
Plan Your Own Road Trip:
National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways, 5th Edition: The 300 Best Drives in the U.S. by National Geographic
The fifth and latest edition of National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways provides more than 300 possibilities for spectacular getaways in your local area and throughout the 50 states.
Whether you’re looking for a short day trip close to home or a several-weeks-long vacation, you’ll find a host of ideas in this beautifully illustrated, detail-packed book, which celebrates America’s regional diversity, rich history, and jaw-dropping splendor. Suggested drives include Maine’s rocky coastline, the Southeast’s mystical swamplands, the Southwest’s striking red-rock plateaus, the West’s majestic mountains, and many more. Veteran National Geographic authors with deep knowledge of each area employ superb storytelling techniques to enliven your journeys. Each drive features mile-by-mile directions, as well as all the practical info you’ll need to make your next road trip an experience to remember.
Road Trips: A Guide to Travel, Adventure, and Choosing Your Own Path by Jen CK Jacobs
The perfect guide to inspire a life of travel. Enrich your life, deepen your relationships, and discover the world around you—it’s all just a road trip away.
There is no one way to road trip. From introspective solo journeys to romantic weekend getaways, friend-filled excursions, and more, Road Trips presents eight stories that highlight different ways to explore the world. Packed with photos and personal experiences, this inspiring and practical book also has key tips for enhancing every part of your trip, from getting out the door (with essential tips on packing and eating on the road—including recipes for car snacks) to taking in new experiences (with ideas for journaling and photographing) and bringing memories from the road back home (through creative collecting).