By John Steinbeck
I love John Steinbeck. Like Updike, he is one of the great observers of American life. This is a chronicle of a trip Steinbeck took with his dog, Charley, in 1960 when they traveled cross-country in a camper van. Steinbeck watches a school anti-desegregation demonstration in the South and gives a firsthand account of how ugly things were. Other passages are more rueful and funny. His companion, the dog, has his own opinions about everything. It's such an intimate tale of these two souls going across the United States.