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Reading Addicts Roadtrip: The Original Route 66

By June 10, 2016June 27th, 2018Literary Places

They say that reading is like travelling while sitting still, and with the travel season looming, we appreciate that not everyone can manage a getaway.

So with all of that in mind, we’re spending the next few weeks on the Reading Addicts Roadtrip, travelling some of the best destinations in the world, in literature! Rev up the engine, pack up the supplies, and let’s go!

Today, Route 66 is the destination, but because we’re doing this trip in literature, we don’t have to worry about parts of the road now being decommissioned. We can travel to the future, the past, or stay in the present so we’re taking the original Route 66 from California to Illinois!


The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler

The Big Sleep is a 1939 crime novel by Raymond Chandler, set in Los Angeles, California. An iconic novel it features in several 100 books of the century lists, and is set when Route 66 was still a fairly new road. The route number was assigned to the Chicago to Los Angeles route on 30th April 1926.

The Big Sleep US
The Big Sleep UK

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Half Broke Horses – Jeanette Walls

Walls’ beautiful and descriptive accounts in her writing are going to make you feel like you’re right there in Arizona during the 1970s, right at the heyday of the Route 66 obsession.

Half Broke Horses US
Half Broke Horses UK

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New Mexico

Bless Me, Ultima – Rudulfo A. Anaya

Bless Me, Ultima is a frequently challenged novel, released in 1972. Set in New Mexico it focuses on Chicano culture of the 1940s in rural New Mexico. It’s considered a seminal American work but does contain adult language and violence.

Bless Me, Ultima US
Bless Me, Ultima UK

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Giant – Edna Ferber

Giant follows a Texan family from the 1920s, to post WWII, and so we’re back to the beginning for Route 66 again! The novel, adapted into a much more famous James Dean movie is considered to be the perfect snapshot of ranch life in Texas during this time.

Giant US
Giant UK

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Dirty White Boys – Stephen Hunter

Set in Oklahoma in 1990, Dirty White Boys follows three boys as they bust out of McAlaster State Penitentiary as the boys meet again after their original reign of terror.

Dirty White Boys US
Dirty White Boys UK

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In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

A true story for our Kansas section of Route 66, detailing the 1959 murder of the Herbert Clutter family and the crime that shook not just the town of Holcomb, Kansas, but the whole of America.

In Cold Blood US
In Cold Blood UK

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Killshot – Elmore Leonard

Killshot is a 1989 novel by Elmore Leonard that tells the story of a married couple who find themselves in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, running from a pair of hitmen. It has thrills and excitement and covers the Missouri leg of our trip perfectly!

Killshot US
Killshot UK

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The House on Mango Street – Sandra Cisneros

Set in Chicago in the 70s, where Route 66 ends, The House on Mango Street tells the story of Esperanza Coredero growing up in Chicago. Told as a series of vignettes, it’s a beautiful novel and wonderful descriptive.

The House on Mango Street US
The House on Mango Street UK

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Bonus Selection

Parallel Roads (Lost on Route 66) – Dennis Higgins

In the spring of 1946 Katherine Callahan decides to leave her husband and travel the famous highway to visit her sister, but never arrives. Fast forward to the present, and you have a mystery that spans the decades.

Parallel Roads US
Parallel Roads UK

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We hope you enjoyed this week’s roadtrip, we’ll be back soon with more!

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