Get Your Kicks with This 8 Book Tour of Route 66

As the summer months stretch in front of us like treasures for plundering, a familiar restlessness takes hold. You may find yourself dreaming of a cross-country adventure to destinations yet unexplored. Why not embrace your wanderlust and take a trip down historic Route 66? Read your way across America with these eight books, stopping all along the road from Chicago to L.A.

Route 66: The Mother Road
by Michael Wallis

Route 66: Before you embark, get a taste for America’s most beloved thoroughfare. A love letter and a tribute, Wallis’s masterpiece takes us on an unforgettable journey through the secret corners and hidden towns along Route 66.

The Devil in the White City
by Erik Larson

Chicago, IL: At your first stop, enjoy the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death.

Meet Me In St. Louis
by Sally Benson

St. Louis, MO: As you move west, return to the World's Fair with this classic novel-cum-film. This is the heartwarming saga of St. Louis’s exultant, glittering take on the World’s Fair at the turn of the twentieth century.

The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck

Tulsa, OK: You may want to spend more time in Oklahoma than the Joads, who were driven from their homestead during the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s. Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of the American classics.

All the Pretty Horses
by Cormac McCarthy

Amarillo, TX: This winner of the National Book Award for Fiction tells the story of John Grady Cole, who at sixteen finds himself at the end of a long line of Texas ranchers. He sets off from Texas to Mexico on a sometimes idyllic, sometimes comic journey.

House Made of Dawn
by N. Scott Momaday

Albuquerque, NM: In this novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1969, protagonist Abel is a Native American teenager struggling to reconcile the traditions of his father’s people with the demands of modern industrial America.

Animal Dreams
by Barbara Kingsolver

Flagstaff, AZ: At the end of her rope, Codi Noline returns to her Arizona home to face her ailing father, with whom she has a difficult, distant relationship. There, she meets a handsome Apache trainman who tells her, “If you want sweet dreams, you’ve got to live a sweet life.” Filled with lyrical writing, Native American legends, a tender love story and Codi’s quest for identify, this is literary fiction at its very best.

Play It As It Lays
by Joan Didion

Los Angeles, CA: Set in a place beyond good and evil—literally in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the barren wastes of the Mojave Desert, but figuratively in the landscape of an arid soul—this is a profoundly disturbing novel, riveting in its exploration of a woman and a society in crisis, and stunning in the intensity of its prose.