Jack Kerouac's On the Road is perhaps the quintessential road trip book. I read it during my trip to New York this summer and it filled me with a romantic longing for the road. The narrative jumps around a lot, but it's filled with fascinating people, interesting stories and an unabashed love of freedom and adventure. This is one of those books that makes you want to quit your day job and follow the call of the open road. (At least for a moment.)
Lucy Knisley's graphic novel French Milk is filled with tantalizing descriptions of French food and culture. It's a quick read. You can start and finish the whole thing in an afternoon. I loved every minute with this book and found the main character's fresh-out-of-college unsureness about life highly relatable. While reading it, I wanted nothing more than to live in a tiny Parisian apartment, shop at the market every day and wander lazily around museums.
I was inspired to read Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast because of its mention in French Milk. This book definitely does not disappoint. One of my favourite passages reads as follows:
"Let's walk down the rue de Seine and look in all the galleries and in the windows of the shops."
"Sure. We can walk anywhere and we can stop at some new cafe where we don't know anyone and nobody knows us and have a drink."
"We can have two drinks."
"Then we can eat somewhere."
"No. Don't forget we have to pay the library."
"We'll come home and eat here and we'll have a lovely meal and drink Beaune from the co-operative you can see right out of the window there with the price of the Beaune on the window. And afterwards we'll read and then go to bed and make love."
"And we'll never love anyone else but each other."
"What a lovely afternoon and evening. Now we'd better have lunch."
Isn't that delightful? This book revels in beautiful moments that come from the joy of simply living. You'll also get a decent dose of advice on writing from the likes of Hemingway and Gertrude Stein and some hilarious stories about American ex-pat writers living in Paris in the 20's. If you've seen the movie Midnight in Paris, Hemingway wrote Feast about his life during the time period that Gil (Owen Wilson) dreams about and travels to in the film.
These are just a few of my favourites. If you're able to recommend others, please do so in the comments!