I read John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley, which I had begun a long time ago yet never finished, and finally did. Wonderful book, explores a lot about America -- good for anyone interested in politics and travelling.
In September 1960, John Steinbeck and his poodle, Charley, embarked on a journey across America. A picaresque tale, this chronicle of their trip meanders along scenic backroads and speeds along anonymous superhighways, moving from small towns to growing cities to glorious wilderness oases. TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY is animated by Steinbeck's attention to the specific details of the natural world and his sense of how the lives of people are intimately connected to the rhythms of nature--to weather, geography, the cycles of the seasons. His keen ear for the transactions among people is evident, too, as he records the interests and obsessions that preoccupy the Americans he encounters along the way.
Synopsis (from Powells.com)
Steinbeck chronicles his attempts, as he travels from Long Island to California and back, to define what it is to be American. In the end, he concedes failure: it is impossible to generalize about his complicated homeland. However, his experiences add up to a delightful account of an eager and curious human being on the road--and of Charley the aging French poodle, an excellent and civilized companion and a memorable character in his own right.