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Summer Reading 2017: Travels With Charley

Find the book you want to read this summer!

Clarke want you to read this book because...

Travels with Charley put you out on the road to see what it means to discover the country and oneself. John Steinbeck's unique perspective take the reader through personal and national political reflections mid 20th century 'Muhhrica. Buckle up for a thoughtful, introspective journey to your own heart as well as that of our fine country. 

About the book

Travels with Charley
by John Steinbeck

In September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante.
His course took him through almost forty states: northward from Long Island to Maine; through the Midwest to Chicago; onward by way of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana (with which he fell in love), and Idaho to Seattle, south to San Francisco and his birthplace, Salinas; eastward through the Mojave, New Mexico, Arizona, to the vast hospitality of Texas, to New Orleans and a shocking drama of desegregation; finally, on the last leg, through Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to New York.
Travels with Charley in Search of America is an intimate look at one of America's most beloved writers in the later years of his life—a self-portrait of a man who never wrote an explicit autobiography. Written during a time of upheaval and racial tension in the South—which Steinbeck witnessed firsthand—Travels with Charley is a stunning evocation of America on the eve of a tumultuous decade. 

Applicable categories for the Urban Read Harder Challenge:

True Stories Well Told

For fans of

  • Classics
  • Stories about small town America
  • Sherman Alexie
  • T.C. Boyle


About the reader

Clarke Weatherspoon, Dean of Equity and Inclusion

Previously recommended:

  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley