Sunday, September 18, 2011

Meandering in America

William Least Heat Moon perfected a genre of the wandering traveler.  He called what he did ambling or moseying.   It's never the destination, always the journey. 

1.  Blue Highways: A Journey into America, William Least Heat-Moon (1982).  Least Heat Moon lost his teaching job in a college and outfitted his Ford van with a cot and a few supplies and began wandering America's back roads--marked as blue highways on maps.  He has an eye for getting strangers to talk and telling their stories. The result is a magnificent, intimate tour of America.   Along with Paul Theroux, deeply influential my fascination with good travel writing.  Bought used at a Church book sale.  

2.  Roads to Quoz: American Mosey, William Least Heat-Moon (2008).  Similar to Blue Highways but broader in scope.  Least Heat-Moon covers 16,000 miles to all the regions of the country with poetic insights and a sense of humor.  Bought used but can't remember where.  A discarded library book from Millerton, NY public library.

3.  Small Places, Thomas Rawls (1990).  Rawls seeks out small towns focusing on their traditions and how they are being changed by the outside world.  Bought used at Second Story Books, Washington, DC.

4.  Travels with Charlie: In Search of America, John Steinbeck (1962).   Steinbeck set out with his Poodle Charlie and his truck/camper to in his truck to explore and experience America in the 1960s.  Recently, the authenticity of his trip is open to series doubt in Bill Branch's book, Long Way Home: On the Trail of Steinbeck's America.  Bought used somewhere.

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