Reading and driving...
September 25, 2012 3:46 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend region-specific literary or fun or literary-fun audiobooks for a long road trip. Thus far I have The Great Plains by Ian Frazier, for when I'm driving across the Great Plains. And American Gods by Neil Gaiman, for when I'm headed to the House on the Rock in Wisconsin. Driving from NYC to LA to Portland, Oregon. Anything but James Michener would be very welcome! (Not knocking James Michener, he's just not my favorite)
posted by troublemenot to Writing & Language (17 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Sometime a Great Notion by Ken Kesey when you get to Oregon.
posted by perhapses at 3:51 PM on September 25, 2012

Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather for driving across New Mexico.
posted by purpleclover at 3:51 PM on September 25, 2012

Desert Solitaire for Utah.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:00 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Grapes of Wrath for going westbound from Oklahoma or in California.
posted by Jakey at 4:24 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

What's the route? That affects things.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:27 PM on September 25, 2012

Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock if you're driving through rural southern Ohio. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson if you're on the Ohio Turnpike west of Cleveland.

O Pioneers! and My Antonia by Willa Cather through Nebraska.
posted by plastic_animals at 4:55 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Housekeeping for Idaho. The Jungle for Chicago. Leaving Cheyenne for Wyoming. Bill Bryson for Iowa.
posted by mareli at 5:52 PM on September 25, 2012

If you have any interest in geology (or good stories about it), John McPhee's Annals of the Former World would be great for that trip -- especially any segments along Interstate 80. Start out with In Suspect Terrain, then Basin and Range, possibly Rising from the Plains if you're heading through Colorado and Wyoming (or finish Basin and Range with time to kill), and of course, for the trip from LA to Portland, Assembling California. The people he meets and describes are just as much fun as the geology. In particular, I'll always remember David Love's stories of growing up on the western frontier.
posted by brianogilvie at 6:01 PM on September 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

Bad Land: An American Romance by Johnathan Raban was a fantastic read, but i don't see it anywhere as an audiobook except on cassette. Possibly his newer book, Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings, is also good? It's on, if you happen to be headed to Alaska.
posted by Wretch729 at 6:42 PM on September 25, 2012

For Kansas, Geoff Ryman's Was

Or perhaps Jane Smiley's The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton.

I thoroughly enjoyed both.

posted by RedEmma at 6:55 PM on September 25, 2012

Powell's bookstore has an interesting list of employee picks for the Pacific Northwest, and I suspect many of their fiction and some non-fiction picks are available as audiobooks. Those would be good options for Oregon and driving around here.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:55 PM on September 25, 2012

Jasper Fforde novels make for some silly literary fun. Actually didn't enjoy them in dead tree form, but as audio books for a long trip, they were wonderful.
posted by colin_l at 8:03 PM on September 25, 2012

Any Steinbeck for California (generally Salinas and Monterey area). My favorites are East of Eden, To an Unknown God, Grapes of Wrath, and Tequila Flats.
posted by ruhroh at 8:09 PM on September 25, 2012

Tim Powers' "Fault Lines" trilogy:

Las Vegas: Last Call
Southern California: Expiration Date
Northern California: Earthquake Weather
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:49 PM on September 25, 2012

Cassette-only, as far as I know, but William Least Heat-Moon's Prairyerth is perfect for a long drive across the Plains.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:55 PM on September 25, 2012

William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:02 PM on September 25, 2012

Map of route in Blue Highways.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:03 PM on September 25, 2012

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