Going the Distance: Three Summer Reads

July 16, 2018

Whether going Around the World in Eighty Days or on a slightly less ambitious journey, the best travel novels go the distance by taking the reader on a tour spanning miles, countries, and even continents. The great pursuit toward a final goal drives the narrative, but, of course, the ultimate destination is only as important as how one gets there. The best of these stories not only take the reader across the world geographically but also teach about the rich cultures visited along the way. In that spirit, here are some books to check out that go the distance.


A Long Way from Home

Peter Carey


From two-time Booker Prize–winning Australian author Peter Carey, this fast-paced novel follows the attempt of three people to complete the 10,000-mile Redex Trial race. The story hurtles across 1950s Australia and carries the reader on a thrilling adventure through history and geography along with humor and action. Each twist and turn brings the novel closer to issues of cultural identity, which Carey handles with ease and nary a bump on the road.



The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love

Per J. Andersson

Trans. Anna Holmwood


The winner of the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards’ Marco Polo Outstanding General Travel Themed Book of the Year for 2018, this love story follows Indian street artist PK—an “untouchable” according to the caste system—as he defies poverty and prejudice to reach Lotta, the tourist with whom he has fallen in love. His 7,000-mile cross-continental journey from New Delhi to Europe is one of struggle, perseverance, and joy. This true story warms the heart and inspires the reader through a deft delivery.


How to Stop Time

Matt Haig


Soon to be a major motion picture starring Benedict Cumberbatch, this novel takes the reader on a journey centered on time more than space. High school teacher Tom Hazard is not in his early forties as he appears—he has actually been alive for centuries, experiencing the histories he now teaches. The Albatross Society, a secret group dedicated to protecting people like Tom, has only one rule about blending in: never fall in love. After meeting Camille, a French teacher who seems mutually interested in him, Tom must face the choice of staying lost in the past or joining the present.

James Farner is a WLT intern studying English writing and religious studies at the University of Oklahoma. In his free time, he’s either listening to a podcast or working on The Aster Review, an OU student arts publication. He grew up in and around Minneapolis and is one of the frequenters of First Avenue who left flowers at Paisley Park after Prince died.