The theme of today’s Top Ten Books, hosted as always by The Broke and the Bookish, is travel:
Top Ten Books Featuring Travel In Some Way (road trips, airplanes, travelogues, anything where there is traveling in the book!)
I had a hard time deciding where to draw the line of what constituted travel in a book. Are short, but memorable, trips in a book ok? I decided yes, so my top ten list includes a few of those:
- Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone and its sequels by J.K. Rowling: The scarlet Hogwarts Express so inspired my imagination that on my first trip to London, I sought out Platform 9 3/4 at Kings’ Cross Station.
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg: I first encountered this story when read aloud by my high school French teacher. The train, which takes needy (in one way or another) children to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, is wonderful in any language.
- Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis: A London painting of a ship at sea suddenly becomes a ship at sea — in Narnia.
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein: So. much. walking. (Whenever I find people who don’t like this trilogy, it’s almost always because 2/3 of the narrative is filled with endless, hopeless walking.)
- An Abundance of Katherines by John Green: If Hassan had never convinced Colin to embark on a post-high school graduation road trip, they never would have met Lindsey and he certainly never would have figured out his
- Swallows & the Amazons by Arthur Ransome: The Walkers and the Blacketts captain their respective vessels around a lake during summer holiday. Their adventures are epic and remarkably free of adult supervision. (Today’s parents could take a lesson.)
- Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder: Crossing the open territory in a covered wagon (which they then had to dismantle when they got where they decided they were going to Pa and a very pregnant Ma could use its bones to build their house.
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: A non-fiction account of hiking the Appalachian Trail, filled in with Bryson’s trademark humor about appropriate gear, fellow travelers, and the countryside he’s traversing.
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: I wouldn’t want to float down the Connecticut, the Potomac, or the Anacostia, let alone the mighty Misissippi — and on a raft!
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling: Rowling hooked me with a magical train, then pulled me in with a car enchanted to have expandable seats and trunk, invisibility, and flight.
Honorable mentions go to John Steinbeck’s fictionalized cross-country memoir Travels with Charley; Madeleine L’Engle’s Austin Family camping excursion, The Moon by Night; and Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees, because without a road trip Taylor would never have encountered Turtle.
Did I forget any crucial ones?