First of all I should say that I drove around the country alone in a Van approximately 1970. I think this book was one of the reasons I did it. I was approximately 23 years old at the time. It was Just like he says in the book:
you don't take the trip, the trip takes you.
I have now reread it at the age of 66. At this time in my life it was pleasant, albeit somewhat rambling, containing some humor, some profound insights, some lighter insightful comments and some parts that made the book longer without adding value at least to me.
I think not. There is really no story to it. While some of the observations are interesting, his trip happened a long time ago and much seems dated. Having said this my number one piece of advice for young people who are single is to save up a little money and drive around the country, or at least out west (I live in Ohio) so they can have their own experience of this type. However, I am not sure a 23 year old today would read this book and get filled with desire to save a few bucks and drive their car alone around the country. Perhaps If I run into a recently retired friend who is hinting about doing something like this I can suggest he read this book.
for me, yes. for the average reader, no
Hearing descriptive writing of the characters Steinbeck encounters.
Charley, the poodle
I was hoping for more detail about American life in the sixties. Steinbeck does touch on aspects of this time, but I was hoping for more. It is a straight account of Steinbeck's trek across the country, and it is good, but it's not a story story as you may expect. It goes a little long about Charley, Steinbeck's poodle, however, it is certainly worth a listen. For me, the ending is hilarious, and I found myself laughing about it several times for weeks after my listen. (I won't say here though!)
There seemed very little characters development. The author should have added life to the people he encountered along his travels.
The narrator spoke so slowly it was almost painful to listen to. I had to listen to this at 2x speed.
The scene where Steinbeck kicks the jerk out of Rocinante.
Both moments with hitchikers, the young man and the old man.
Steinbeck's prose paints such vivid scenes that I felt as if I was in the front seat of Rocinante.
This was an interesting story. I read that there is controversy over whether or not he really went "on the road" and met all the characters he described in the book. But I thought he did a good job describing America of the 1960's.
I loved when he talked about his poodle, Charley. I thought those parts were highlights!
Gary Sinise gave an excellent performance. I'd listen to other books he narrates, if there are any!
Thoughtful. Representative. Insightful.
"A Walk Across America" because both are individuals setting out to find out if culture in America exists beyond corporate capitalism or if it is all just a myth. Steinbeck is a far better writer, more descriptive and frankly much wiser than the Walker Across America, but I'd still clump them together as travel books.
He could be John Steinbeck, as an old exasperated man making this trip and sharing these experiences around a table with his friends and family.
Maine, with the immigrant farm workers drinking whiskey. Montana- couldn't agree more. Most beautiful state in the lower 48.
This book will renew your love affair with the world that Steinbeck sees and writes about. You will want to gobble up whatever literature you can find by him in order to learn more about the world through the eyes of this man.
Its not my favorite book as I don't normally read much non-fiction, but I enjoyed this as much as any other of Steinbeck's work, which is to say I loved it.
How it makes you feel like you are there on the road with the author and his dog exploring this vast and wonderful country. I often forgot that the narrator wasn't Steinbeck himself. I don't know whether that is due to the story being written in first person or that Gary Sinise did such a wonderful job of reading.
The people he meets and places he visits are the intended focus of this story, but I much more enjoyed the intimate view into the authors life, his relationship with his dog and his obsession with the over preparation of all things, including the venerable Rocinante. Knowing this, it was the scene where despite all his preparations the wheels bulge and blow out due to the entire thing being overweight that was my favorite. For in that instant, Mr John Steinbeck, author extraordinaire, Pulitzer and Nobel prize winner, joined the rest of us ordinary and humble mere mortals. I named my car Rocinante in honor, may she serve me as well as John and Don (and never blow a tire)!
The entire scene around the 'cheerleaders' was the most difficult to hear and enjoy as part of an otherwise happy travel. I was born and raised in the south in 1961, possibly as Mr. Steinbeck was traveling through. I was lucky to have been too young to experience much of what went on.
Surely the top 10% of the 200 books I've listened to.
I enjoyed reminiscing about life in the America of my youth.
First one that I can recall, but he did a super job.
I laughed a lot, but there were parts, mostly Steinbeck's travel through the South in the Civl Rights era that were disturbing.
John Steinbeck is certainly one of America's greatest story-tellers and social commentators, and both are displayed in Travels with Charley. Some of his reflections verge on the bizarre, but always worth hearing. How often do you find a book that is constantly entertaining while offering insights and food for thought. This is a book both for those who lived through those times and for those who would like to know what it was like. Makes you want to get in your pickup truck or RV and go to see America. Narration is excellent, you forget that the narrator is not the author.
I spend 90+ minutes a day in my car, Audible makes it enjoyable regardless of what's happening in traffic. My taste varies from endurance fitness to economics and from to combat stories and romance novels.
Some entertaining and interesting insights, a taste of a bygone era, and yet many of his insights apply as much today as ever before.
I really enjoyed is talk about the Russians. We'll always find an enemy to blame things on, if not the Russians, the terrorists, if not the terrorists, the 'other side of the aisle' (republicans or democrats). It seems we've always needed someone to demonize and blame, it's just the name of "them" that changes.
A good solid reading.
Gary Sinese brings both grit and subtlety to his reading of Steinbeck's colorful travel memoir. I listened to this as a vicarious summer getaway; it's a journey I won't soon forget. Steinbeck’s portrait of Texas and Texans remains spot-on, and the whole account is utterly believable. Mostly lyrical and personal, in its final chapters the book re-inserts the author into current events, where he becomes a deliberate witness to history.
With author and narrator in perfect synch, this audio book was a thorough pleasure, inspiring me to look back on my own travels in America, and forward to the destinations still to come. Recommended for anyone with wanderlust – from adolescents to shut-ins.