June 25, 2014

Road Trip Reads: Rec Me

Okay, so the title of this post may be a tad misleading. The thing is . . . the thing is: by and large, I do not connect with road trip books. I know. But it's the honest truth. When it comes down to it, transportationally-dependent books in general are a wash for me. Outside of a number of epic quest novels (I mean, The Two Towers is my favorite Lord of the Rings book), if the entire thing is set in a carriage, on a boat, in a van, or astride a horse, I tend to steer clear. Because if I don't, the story and I get mad and start throwing things at each other. Interestingly, spaceships seem to be the exception to this vehicular rule. Perhaps when the characters and I are on a spaceship together, I'm removed enough from my own reality at that point not to be bothered. So bring on the space opera, sentient ships, and warp drive. It has ever been thus.

I'm really not sure why I'm immediately put off by road trip narratives. It's not that I don't enjoy it when characters travel. On the contrary, I adore a good journey, a jaunt off to parts unknown, a lone girl set down in a foreign clime. If the trip is one part of a larger whole, then I am just fine. It's when the trip itself is the end all, be all that I start to twitch. Perhaps it's the limits or confines the narrative imposes? I realize good things can happen when the external is pared down, but I twitch nonetheless. I want to get to know my characters, to be in their homes with them, with them when they're thrown into that dungeon, when they wake up on that unfamiliar planet, in that unfamiliar bed, or are walking to that certain doom. And it's not that I can't get to know them while they're in a car, boat, plane, train, what have you. It's just that if that middle-of-nowhere, neither here nor there glimpse is the only one I get of them, I tend to feel cheated.

So. When I say I want you to rec me a road trip book, what I mean is I myself am going on an epic road trip in just over a week and I want a nice healthy stack of vacation reads I can devour in the car. And when I say "epic," I'm not actually referring to distance traveled (though we will be covering upwards of 2,000 miles round trip). What I mean is that my three children will be in the car with me. My youngest just turned three. A very forceful and personality-drenched three. Any prayers, thoughts, or general good feelings you have to spare would be vastly appreciated. In the meantime, do me a solid and leave a comment with the book you'd take with you if you were embarking on a two-week-long road trip in the middle of summer. I'm ready to crack the window, prop my feet up on the dash, and let myself be carried away.

28 comments:

  1. Marisha Pessl's "Night Film" would be awesome - it's long, and it features plenty of travelling without being about travelling :)

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  2. Praying for a safe journey and good times with your family! As for books, have you read The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery? The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud? Did you read the latest Mercy Thompson, Night Broken? Three very different books :) Maybe one will catch your interest!

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  3. "The Book of Bright Ideas," by Sandra Kring. The Hannah Garvey series, by Suzann Ledbetter. Melina Marchetta's Lumatere Chronicles. At least, these are the books I really want to reread this summer, so maybe one will catch your fancy too, if you haven't read them already :)

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  4. Do re-reads count? Laura Florand's books, Kate Meader's Hot in the Kitchen series, and Nalini Singh's latest book, Shield of Winter, and the rest of her Psy-Changeling backlist :)

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  5. I think you would enjoy The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison.

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  6. I am currently reading Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, and I love it. It is very good read for the summer. Unfortunately, the stuff I am really waiting for (Kate Daniels!) doesn't come out until July.

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  7. I really loved The Calling by Amber Foxx. An unusual book that I found difficult to put down. Here's the description from the author's website:

    Obeying her mother’s warning, Mae Martin-Ridley has spent years hiding her gift of “the sight.” When concern for a missing hunter compels her to use it again, her peaceful life in a small Southern town begins to fall apart. New friends who accept her unusual talents push her to explore them further, but as she does, she discovers the shadow side of her visions— access to secrets she could regret uncovering.Gift or curse? When an extraordinary ability intrudes on an ordinary life, ready or not, everything changes.

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  8. If you're in the mood for SF, I had a lot of fun reading Rachel Bach's Paradox trilogy - SF opera with a heroine who takes no prisoners. Doesn't take itself too seriously, but it's a bit of a page-turner with a touch of romance as well.

    Hope you have a lovely holiday!

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  9. I second the recommendation for The Goblin Emperor. Have you read A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan or Generation V by ML Brennan? Despite the names, they're two different authors, and along with The Goblin Emperor, those are some of my favorites I've read this year. (Well, technically, I liked Iron Night, the second of ML Brennan's books, better but that's not the book to start with!)

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  10. I'll second A Natural History and the Generation V series!

    We must have similar taste, Kristen.

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  11. My favorite road trip book from my childhood: The Moon by Night by Madeline L'Engle. It's the introduction of Zachary Grey, one of my favorite antiheroes. I always always want to redeem him.

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  12. Ooooh I'm excited for you! I adore road trips, but then again...I know what it's like having a handful a kids in the back seats. Try not to crash.


    I keep on thinking of all my favorite books for recommendations, but I than I remember that you've read them all. Every time I type a book onto goodreads, your rating is there! Thinking, thinking... If you are in the mood for some old-fashioned high fantasy, it would be amazing if you checked out the first two books of Kristen Britain's Green Rider Series (GREEN RIDER and FIRST RIDER'S CALL). It's fantasy written with a YA feel that vaguely reminds me a Tamora Pierce. They are flawed books, but there is a ton of humor and just absolutely fantastic main characters. It's the kind of series where you don't really fall in love until the second book, but you need the first in order to fall in love. (Unfortunately, the series kind of goes downhill after these first two, but I'm convinced there's something special in those two books.)

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  13. We must! :) Those are all enjoyable books.

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  14. Goodness, I had not heard of NIGHT FILM. Looks fascinating. Thanks!

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  15. Thanks so much! Do you know, I haven't. I thought I had, but I looked it up and I think THE BLUE CASTLE somehow slipped through the cracks. Thanks for the reminder! I definitely need to pick it up. I did read the latest Mercy, but not the Stroud.

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  16. I knew you'd come through for me. :) I hadn't heard of the Kring or the Ledbetter. Both look great. I have been flirting with picking of FROI for awhile now. I think I have enough distance from FINNIKIN to give it a go now.

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  17. Re-reads totally count. And Laura Florand re-reads are such good ones. Sigh.


    I hadn't heard of the Meader series. Looks fun! I've read two Singh books, both from the Guild Hunters series. I wasn't over the moon about the second, but I've casually wondered about the Psy-Changeling ones. Which would you suggest?

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  18. I actually have a copy of this one! Thanks for the reminder.

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  19. I have read all of one Sanderson book. It's embarrassing. It was ELANTRIS and I wasn't wowed by it, so that's probably what's kept me from going back for more. Need to remedy that.


    KATE . . .

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  20. That does sound unusual!

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  21. Thanks, Li! I have a copy of FORTUNE'S PAWN. Will definitely be taking it with me.

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  22. Lol. Awesome. Recs from both of you are high praise indeed. I have a copy of GOBLIN EMPEROR so I should take it with me. How had I not heard of GENERATION V? That's going on the TBR for sure.

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  23. NAN.


    I adore THE MOON BY NIGHT. How could I forget it? Possibly my favorite road trip novel ever. Zachary Grey . . . sigh. Me, too.

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  24. Ha! Will do. I love them, too, but we've never attempted one this long with kids, etc.


    You know, I read the first Britain book and then never continued on to the second. I'm glad to hear it's a strong second book.

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  25. Generation V is my favorite opening to an urban fantasy series, and the second book is even better. I hope you love it too!

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  26. I would suggest starting with the first book in the series, Slave to Sensation. Each book is generally a stand-alone but the series has an overarching plot development as well so it's even better if you follow the series. :) I was introduced to Nalini Singh's writing through her Guild Hunter series as well. And I did wonder about her Psy-Changeling series back then, if I would also enjoy reading them. At first I thought I wouldn't and passed on reading the first book. But was I wrong! :) After the first book, I just devoured the rest of the series. :) I hope you'll give this series of hers a try.

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  27. I'd recommend The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir. If it were a movie, it would be a cross between Castaway and Apollo 13. I don't generally read science fiction, but it was a very entertaining read. (It's too adult for a three year old though!) Happy travels!

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  28. I like this , i like this. Health World

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