submitted by Debbe

On road trips my husband and I always listen to audio books to pass the time. My husband enjoys non-fiction, so I make selections attempting to entertain us both. I’m usually successful and some of our favorites have made long trips seem much shorter. We both like U.S. social history and some of our favorites are:

The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough tells the tragic story of one of the worst disasters in U.S. history. The history behind the creation of the dam and its subsequent failure is typical of the excellence we have come to expect from McCullough. His research is comprehensive and his ability to tell a clear and coherent story is without equal.

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan is another favorite. The book tells the story of Teddy Roosevelt and forester, Gifford Pinchot’s drive to create the National Parks Service. It vividly recreates the largest ever forest fire in the U.S. that destroyed and built on the groundwork they set.

On a trip with our then, 15 year old daughter in the back seat, we listened to The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester. Thirteen years later she still recounts this as when we tried to bore her to death and performs a comedic routine reciting the OED definitions that head each chapter. Her dad and I enjoyed the book and don’t feel bad at all about listening to it. After all, she had her Walkman and her earphones.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson is the tale of the Chicago World’s Fair and the serial killer that blended into the excitement. Although this is true crime story the fascination lies in the work of the architects that designed the “White City.”

Three books we’ve listened to are laugh out loud funny:

I think most of us have wondered if we could ever hike the Appalachian Trail. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson almost convinces you it is not only doable but really not that hard. Lest I forget to mention, his companion on this hike is former college friend, Stephen Katz, who is clearly out of shape. Actually maybe it was harder than it seemed.

Have you ever been on a multi-generational road trip in an RV? If so you will want to listen to The Ride of Our Lives: Roadside Lessons of an American Family by Mike Leonard. The initial chapter’s description of the RV in the gas station hooked us immediately. As the family travels the U.S., their interactions and adventures greatly entertained us.

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan is funnier on audio than the movie. If you have ever been around a dog with no manners but thought he was great anyway, you will love this book.

The library’s collection of fiction on CD, non-fiction on CD, Playaways, and downloadable Audio Books can help you enjoy getting to and from your destination.

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