This is my last Millions: A Blog About Books post for a while. I have a funny feeling that I won’t be as willing to write two articles a month about the books I’ve read, you know, because of kids and stuff.
Anyway, for this last one (for now) I touched upon travel lit, specifically Travels with Charley.
If there was one thing the book renewed, it was the wanderlust feeling of adventure that a travel novel can bring out. I found that old feeling of vicarious living, meeting and getting to know people from around the country right along with the author, as if acting as a resident intern assigned to proof the pages as they are being written.
And these pages, older as they might seem, are far from dated. Good travel literature touches upon more than just the sites and scenes – it frames the human condition at the point of travel. This point – the late 50s in the United States, shortly after the Interstates were designed but far before they stretched from coast to coast – is brilliantly illustrated in Steinbeck’s attempt to find the America he thought he had forgotten. After living in New York, sheltered from his people and as far away from native Salinas as possible, he sought out the real American voice.
So yeah — go check it out.