10,000 miles, 10,000 pages: Scooter Diaries reading list


As I begin actual packing for my trip, which commences in a dizzyingly short number of days (ten)—including the downloading/uploading of some excellent playlists to listen to while on the road (thanks, friends; please keep 'em comin')—I've also begun to electronically pack away a small library of books to read during my many hours of relaxation by the campfire or café.

Below is a nearly complete list of what I'll be reading on my journey: some specifically chosen for this particular adventure (On the Road, for example), others works I've been meaning to get to for ages but regrettably have not found the time.

I offer this list to fellow travelers seeking a good read (to be fair, I haven't actually read any most of these just yet, so they could all be atrocious selections) while on the road—and as always, to solicit any recommendations that are an absolute must-read for the active transient.

On the Road, Jack Kerouac
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, Robert Pirsig
Blue Highways: A Journey Into America, William Least Heat Moon
Wanderlust: A History of Walking, Rebecca Solnit
Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
The Wild Trees, Richard Preston
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, Hunter Thompson

Philosophy and such
Small is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered, EF Schumacher
Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche
The Happiness of Pursuit: What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About the Good Life, Shimon Edelman
The Man Who Quit Money, Mark Sundeen
In Search of Time: The History, Physics, and Philosophy of Time, Dan Falk
The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body, Steven Mithen

Novels, letters, and poetry
The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt, Albert Camus
The Plague, Albert Camus
The First Man, Albert Camus
The Stranger, Albert Camus
A Happy Death, Albert Camus
Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Lev Tolstoy
Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
Ulysses, James Joyce
The Fifty Greatest Love Letters of All Time, David Lowenherz
Love and Other Difficulties, Rainer Maria Rilke
Poetry of the Taliban, Columbia University Press
Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

(Physical) packlist coming soon.


"It will be said that, while a little leisure is pleasant, men would not know how to fill their days if they had only four hours of work out of the twenty-four. In so far as this is true in the modern world, it is a condemnation of our civilization; it would not have been true at any earlier period. There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake." — Betrand Russell, "In Praise of Idleness"


  1. YES to East of Eden. I was going to suggest it if it wasn't on your list.

  2. You mean Kerouac, not Krakauer...

    1. Ah, you're right! I moved ITW down on the list but never swapped authors on the top line. :) Thanks for catching that.

  3. Ambitious! You might consider adding some light, short, contemporary fiction into the mix with the Camus, Tolstoy, and Ulysses. Ya know, to keep it leisurely. :) The good news I suppose that with kindle, a guilty-pleasure sci-fi is only a wifi click away. And thus began the sad demise of the backpacker-hostel book exchange.

  4. Given that you have some Steinbeck on your list, I highly, highly suggest "Travels with Charley: In Search of America" if you haven't already read it. It fits in with your travel list perfectly.

    This is a really amazing thing you're doing. Best of luck!

    Keith Fudge

    1. Indeed, I just finished "Travels with Charley" a few weeks ago to gear up for the trip. A wonderful book, and one I'll definitely be revisiting during the journey. :) Thanks for the recommendation and the encouragement, Keith!

  5. If you haven't read "Walking" by Thoreau, I would also recommend that.


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