Good Minds Suggest: Steve Hely's Favorite Books to Take on Vacation

Posted by Goodreads on June 6, 2016

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Steve Hely is going places. The American author, TV writer, and podcaster, who established his comedic voice writing for David Letterman as well as American Dad!, 30 Rock, and The Office, has long been drawn to adventure. In 2008, he coauthored The Ridiculous Race, a hilarious travelogue about his around-the-world wager with fellow TV writer Vali Chandrasekaran. (Think The Amazing Race, with less preparation and a lot more laughs.) After dipping into fiction with How I Became a Famous Novelist, which won the 2010 Thurber Prize for American Humor, Hely has returned to his globe-trotting ways. His new book, The Wonder Trail: True Stories from Los Angeles to the End of the World, tracks his escapades in Central and South America. Peppered with snippets of history and pop culture trivia, the travel book-meets-comic memoir is his ode to the joy of the journey.

Hely shares the funny, heartwarming, and thought-provoking books that are perfect for your next vacation.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl
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"When you go on vacation, you can read children's books! That's allowed! Although to be fair, these seven wild, ridiculous stories—by one of the all-time masters of storytelling—are hardly just for kids. Amusement and delight packaged in perfect vacation-size form. Have to give a shout-out to my former coworker Mindy Kaling for recommending this to me. If you haven't read Mindy's memoirs (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and Why Not Me?), do that! Take her on your vacation (in book form)."

The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman
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"OK, maybe this doesn't sound like pure vacation fun, but this book made me legit laugh out loud more than any other in years. Truly, absurdly hilarious, not just 'funny' in a gentle literary way. Elif tells about the weirdos she encountered, adventures she went on, and odd explorations she undertook from California to Uzbekistan when she started learning about Russian literature."

The Last Interview series
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"Why not go on vacation with Lou Reed, Nora Ephron, Ernest Hemingway, or Philip K. Dick? I love interviews and books of interviews. These sleek, pretty paperbacks collect a few intimate, revealing interviews with writers and artists. A great size for tucking in a backpack—why not take two?"

Earth vs. Everybody by John Swartzwelder
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"Reclusive, hilarious Swartzwelder is a legend. He wrote 59 episodes of 'The Simpsons,' then retired to self-publish comic novels so dense with jokes, it's like reading a cartoon. Earth vs. Everybody is the first one to pop into my head, but I also recommend The Time Machine Did It, and How I Conquered Your Planet. Since Swartzwelder publishes these himself, I believe they are only available on Amazon."

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
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"For me, Bryson's the king of funny, friendly, informative travel writing. All of Bill Bryson's books are great—Notes from a Small Island, about a walk around England, is another winner—but this one, where he puzzles fondly over the weirdness of the wildlife, history, and people of Australia, is the tops."

Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Best Vacation Reads

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