I know, we have not been very good at writing posts the last few weeks. We have been a bit distracted with the sale of the house, work, and all the decisions/options/thoughts around the move. We will be going to the D.C. area later this month to poke around and I am sure we will write about that next week.
After last week’s musings about cars and transmissions, I was reading a moderately interesting book, The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott, about George Remus, a bootlegger during prohibition. (I haven’t finished it yet, so I can’t tell you if it is worth reading, but I will try to remember to mention it once I am done.) There are numerous mentions of the cars he owned and drove. It made me think about my favorite books about cars and driving and figured this was a good forum to list a few of my favorites.
First, of course On The Road by Jack Kerouac. It is a brilliant book about road trips and living the beatnik lifestyle. There is something about his writing style that defined a generation and introduced me (and maybe others) to the brilliance of Alan Ginsberg, Ken Kesey (who is forgiven for Bonfire of the Vanities—I guess he needed the money) and William S. Burroughs. I long to go back to the time before I was born, to live a life that didn’t really exist, and to do things which I never would really have done. Oh, I am wearing only the best of rose-colored glasses
Next on my favorites list is Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent. My first contact with this book was hearing the author read a capture of it live on BBC. I was, appropriately enough, in my car (A metallic blue Citroën BX19 GTI) driving to work. It was so funny and so enjoyable, that I sat in my car in the parking lot waiting for him to finish before going into work. I went out that afternoon and bought the book and read it all that day. It is fabulous. Please do me a favor, follow the link and read the first paragraph of the book, it is that good. Full disclosure—I have read everything Bill Bryson has written and I love all his books.
Third is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. It is a deeply personal and disturbing account of a man and his son riding a motorcycle across the country. I read it a long time ago and still think about it. It is one of those books that just stays with you—at least it did for me. Mark Richardson wrote Zen and Now in 2008, which followed the same route as Pirsig and tracked down many of the people from the book. It is worth reading too, but I would classify it as an homage rather than a critique or covering new ground.
I would welcome you comments and any suggestions on good road trip books.
2 thoughts on “Car & Reader”
I also enjoy Bill Bryson. Thank you for introducing him to me.
If Kerouac is really your bag, Dharma Bums is way better than On the Road, especially if you think women and Mexicans are people. Dharma Bums is a road book too. With hiking. But when I’m looking for a book to take on the road, I seek out the voice of a writer with whom I’d like to spend a few weeks. The last book I took on a long trip was Wanderers by Chuck Wendig, which does end up being a road novel (!). Totally worth it. Apocalypic sci-fi for the road.