Top Ten Tuesday: Planes, Trains & Automobiles: Top Ten Books Featuring Travel

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week.

This week’s theme is Top Ten Books Featuring Travel In Some Way (road trips, airplanes, travelogues, anything where there is traveling in the book) . Great topic for kicking off all that summer reading we’re just dying to get to… and for getting in the mood for summer vacation!

I may be stretching a bit for some of these, but here are the top ten books I’ve read that involve planes, trains, automobiles… ships, horses, spaceships… So long as it’s a form of transportation, it counts! (Note: I’m providing links to the books on this list which I’ve reviewed here at Bookshelf Fantasies. Click if you want to find out more!)

1) Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. Book three in the amazing Outlander series features a whole boatload of travel, literally, as our heroes make a perilous Atlantic crossing, back in the days before luxury cruise ships. 18th century sea voyages were not pretty, people.

Voyager (Outlander, #3)

2) Morgan’s Run by Colleen McCullough. Another sea voyage! Another really uncomfortable, unhygienic, and altogether awful sea voyage, in this case transporting prisoners from England to the newly established penal colonies in Australia. Terrific book, terrible travel conditions.

Morgan's Run

3) Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Think of a cross between Drop Dead Gorgeous and Survivor, and you get an idea of the weird zaniness that is Beauty Queens, an amazingly funny young adult novel about a group of teen beauty contestants stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash.

Beauty Queens

4) Changeless by Gail Carriger. Speaking of air travel — the 2nd book in Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series features a delightful journey (or float, to use the correct parlance) by dirigible. Very proper, very Victorian, very fashionable.

Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)

5) The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison. This affecting, sad-with-a-touch-of-humor tale of a caregiver and his young charge includes an ill-advised road trip through the American West, with stops at bizarre roadside attractions such as the world’s biggest pit. (review)

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

6) Snow Mountain Passage by James D. Houston. Talk about a terrible journey. You really can’t get much worse than the horse and wagon caravan crossing the Sierra Nevadas in the middle of winter. Yes, this book is about the Donner party — but quite a bit of it is about the caravan’s ill-fated early stages as the wagons cross mile after mile of wilderness in hopes of making it to the golden land of California before first snow.

Snow Mountain Passage

7) Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. My only non-fiction title on this week’s list, Wild is a travelogue within a memoir — or is a memoir within a travelogue? Take one terribly unprepared hiker, put her on a months-long journey by foot from Southern California to the Washington/Oregon border, and you get a riveting tale of travel and self-discovery. And lots of drama about the condition of the author’s feet. (review)

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

8) NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. Maybe not an obvious choice for a list about travel, but this super-creepy horror novel revolves around several key vehicles: a Rolls Royce Wraith,  a Triumph motorcycle, and a Raleigh Tuff Burner bicycle. Hell on wheels, indeed. (review)


9) Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn. Main character Elizabeth (as in, her royal highness the Queen of England), bored one day, decides to get on a public train and go visit her decommissioned yacht. Mrs. Queen quite enjoys her train voyage, rubbing elbows with her unsuspecting subjects and visiting the snack car. Quite a remarkable outing, all in all. (review)

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train

10) I did say something about spaceships, didn’t I? For my #10 entry, it’s a toss-up between several sci-fi books that feature long and important journeys by spaceship to far-off worlds. Hey, it’s a kind of travel!  My favorite space travel books are:

The Sparrow (The Sparrow, #1)Children of God (The Sparrow, #2)RedshirtsAcross the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)

  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (and the sequel, Children of God) — for serious questions about faith, with truly unforgettable, heartbreaking characters
  • Redshirts by John Scalzi — if you want to laugh out loud (review)
  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis — for a bit of YA romance mixed into a mysterious space adventure

Honorable mention:

Because I never seem to be able to stop at just ten, I’ll include a few other books that popped out at me before I could hit “publish”.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightJust One Day (Just One Day, #1)Where'd You Go, BernadetteLife of Pi

  • The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith — on an airplane!
  • Just One Day by Gayle Forman — on a train! on a boat! (review)
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple — on a cruise to Antarctica! (review)
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel — on a lifeboat! With a tiger!

Okay, stopping now. What did I miss? What are your favorite books featuring travel? In looking back at my list, I see an awful lot of awful travel experiences. I hope you came up with a cheerier batch of books than I did!

Happy trails!

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37 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Planes, Trains & Automobiles: Top Ten Books Featuring Travel

  1. I can’t believe I didn’t mention Voyager on my list! I love the Outlander series – and I just can’t wait for Written in my own Heart’s Blood to be released!

    You have a great list, I haven’t read many of the books on it, but several are on my TBR.

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT post earlier.

        • Oh, no, I’ve definitely read Echo in the Bone!!! I just need to re-read it before the new one comes out… and since it’s 1000+ pages, it’s going to take some time. But I can’t wait for the new one!

          • Oh, get it! I agree – sometimes I want to re-read, but they are SO huge, so I’ll just jump right into Written in my own Heart’s Blood cold…

    • I really liked Revised Fundamentals (even though I’ve had to explain to people that it’s a novel, not a textbook!). Thanks for stopping by!

    • Thanks Lianne! I did really enjoy Mrs. Queen — it’s fun, and quite sweet. This topic ended up being a lot more fun to think about than I expected!

  2. Thrilled to see Changeless and Across the Universe on here. I have mixed feelings about the Sparrow – I LOVED the space travel, but the ending left me cold! Still, such a good book. Stasitical and Life of Pi are definitely on my to-read list!

  3. Wow, what a great list! Sadly the only one I’ve read is Life of Pi. I hadn’t even heard about most of ones you’ve mentioned, but now I really want to read the Outlanders, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, and Just One Day. New follower 🙂

    • Yup, Redshirts just cracked me up, and I think all those interplanetary missions count as travel! Thanks for stopping by — off to read your list now.

    • Oh…. sorry, lost my ability to speak (type) for a second there! 🙂 I LOVE Outlander with a passion, so yes, I absolutely recommend it! And I’d be happy to talk with you about it any time at all.

  4. I love the Outlander series! It’s been a long time since I’ve read them but I consider including them in my own post 🙂 I still haven’t read Echo in the Bone yet though… oops.
    And I totally forgot about the awesome air travel in Changeless! I loved the scenes on the dirigible 🙂
    Great picks! Thanks for checking out mine yesterday 🙂

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