What to Read When You're on the Road

An Interview with Nancy Pearl, Author of "Book Lust to Go"

book lust to go!

In Book Lust to Go, her new book out Friday, the wildly popular librarian Nancy Pearl takes us way, way beyond Eat, Pray, Love toward a much more diverse adventurescape. From Afghanistan to Zambia, with stops at 100-plus locations, Pearl recommends charming novels, compelling biographies, contemporary mysteries, and you-are-there accounts that transport you, even if you’re not moving.

In Book Lust to Go, you write that you don’t care to travel, yet sometimes you do. Where’s your favorite place to visit?
I love Australia. I’ve been twice and want to go back. There are so many good books set there, the people I’ve met (who are mostly library folks) have just been wonderful, and the possibilities for things to do and see are seemingly endless. I’ve never been to Western Australia, despite the fact that one of my favorite novelists, Tim Winton, sets most of his novels there, including Dirt Music, which is a terrific read.

When you fly, what’s in your carry-on?
Many, many books. I can’t take just one, in case I’m not enjoying it, or my mood demands, say, a thriller, rather than a literary novel. And I always take along one or two prepub books, plus my iPod, loaded with music — Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffith, Son Volt, Girlyman, Steve Earle, the Eagles, early Jackson Browne — and audiobooks.

You’re stranded on a glacier. What one book do you want with you?
Impossible question to answer. I’ll wiggle my way out of it by saying The Oxford Book of American Poetry.

Name three authors (living or dead) you want at your table for four.
Currently it would be Wesley Stace, Paul Auster, and Gail Caldwell.

What new books do you look forward to most?
Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: the Epic Story of America’s Great Migration and George R. R. Martin’s fifth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series. Hurry up and finish it, George!

Kindle or iPad?
IPad. I’m a loyal Mac girl.

Write us a six word novel.
Girl discovers reading, then discovers life.

Book Lust to Go is available for preorder online at amazon.com, $12.

Photo: Courtesy of Sasquatch Books

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