Have a hankering for a road trip with a literary bent? Here are a few spectacular global locations that have been the inspiration for, or the home to, some of history’s finest writers.
The glorious Pacific Coast Highway must be one of the most iconic and well-documented drives on the planet. Start in the north and head out from John Steinbeck’s beloved Monterey. Then, hug the dramatic coastline described by authors and inhabitants Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller and Richard Brautigan.
Road trip reads: "Cannery Row," "Big Sur," "Trout Fishing in America" and "Big Sur and The Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch"
Discover the beautiful banks of Ullswater lake, where William Wordsworth spotted his famous daffodils. Then, get in touch with your inner child as you visit Beatrix Potter’s humble home near Lake Windermere, and refamiliarize yourself with the Walker and Blackett families from Arthur Ransome’s seminal series.
Road trip reads: "A Guide to the District of the Lakes," "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" and "Swallows and Amazons"
Explore sprawling Mexico City, onetime home of Carlos Fuentes and Roberto Bolano and the inspiration behind the work of Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz. Then, head south into the state of Morelos. It's a vast land that, thanks to its gentle climate and carnival-like atmosphere, has attracted both native and émigré writers like Malcolm Lowry and Elena Garro.
Road trip reads: "¿Águila o sol? (Heads or Tails)," "Where The Air Is Clear," "Under the Volcano" and "Memories of the Future"
A literary scene has flourished in this breathtaking part of Italy since the 13th century, when noted poets such as Dante and Petrarch proudly called it home. The landscape has enamoured key literary figures throughout the years, including greats such as Charles Dickens, E.M. Forster and D.H. Lawrence.
Road trip reads: "Inferno," "Genoa (The Chimes)," "A Room With a View" and "Looking Down on the City"
The tranquil landscapes of the northeastern United States have have been the settting for books that investigate the darkness beneath the glamour — F. Scott Fitzgerald’s "The Great Gatsby" and Richard Yates’ "Revolutionary Road." Poets such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson also were inspired by the rugged terrain. Stephen King used the sinister characteristics of Maine for some of his scariest books.
Road trip reads: "The Great Gatsby," "The Maine Woods," "Carrie" and "It"
This vast, arid area — home to intriguingly titled towns such as Alice Springs and Coober Pedy — has always possessed a mystical, unearthly quality that has stoked the imagination of many writers. Peter Carey, Thomas Keneally and Patrick White have all written about the area.
Road trip reads: "True History of the Kelly Gang," "The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith" and "The Tree of Man"
Shared by Argentina and Chile, this enormous region compromises many different environments, including deserts and arctic areas. The often inhospitable landscape has attracted many writers, including Gerald Durrell, Paul Theroux and Bruce Chatwin.
Road trip reads: "The Whispering Land," "The Old Patagonian Express" and "In Patagonia"
From Florida to Texas, America’s Deep South has influenced a wealth of writers — from the comedic adventures of Mark Twain to the southern Gothic of Flannery O’Connor. Take the I-40 from east to west and immerse yourself in the land so richly described by William Faulkner, Carson McCullers and Harper Lee.
Road trip reads: "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "To Kill A Mockingbird," "The Sound and The Fury," "The Heart is A Lonely Hunter" and "Wise Blood"
Head east out of Cape Town to this mesmerizing mountainous region, birthplace of prominent politicians Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo. It also is the setting for classic cultural literature from J.M. Coetzee and is home to such eminent South African writers as Athol Fugard and Dennis Brutus.
Road trip reads: "Long Walk to Freedom," "Disgrace" and "A Simple Lust"
Food and drink are an important part of the American South, but it's not somewhere you go to eat light.
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