Reading Travel

Hitting the Road with Some of My Oldest Friends

Because gifted authors use settings as characters which are rich and alive, our road trip traveling through the South has made me feel like I was hitting the road with some of my oldest friends as many wonderful books were brought to mind.

Texas Friends

Traveling between Austin and San Antonio brought to mind Tres Navarre. Tres is the fictional detective and college professor in the Rick Riordan series.  Riordan’s settings are so precise, while reading, I put myself in the Texas sun drinking a Shiner with him.  Even though I’ve never had a Shiner and would likely never order one, I’m right there anyway.

Hap and Leonard from Joe Lansdale are Texas residents and I love those guys.  And they are nowhere without Texas all around them.

And what about Larry McMurtry winning all those awards? Texas is so alive in his stories.


Hitting the road in Louisiana, the Vampire Lestat and Michael Curry from Witching Hour are some of the scariest dudes in the Garden District and I could almost see them. 

Witching Hour was one of those giant tomes I could not put down.  For the record, the next in the trilogy weren’t as captivating. But Witching Hour is a YES.

DF Jill sent a pic of her with one of our favorites, Ignatius J. Reilly, at his home in NOLA.  A Confederacy of Dunces is all kinds of funny and I just love that guy.


And remember Biloxi Blues by Neil Simon?  Okay, technically a play and not a novel, but the film with Matthew Broderick is now on my list to rewatch.  My dad loved that movie and it makes me think of him.


Forrest Gump was from Mobile and the movie was filmed in Savannah.  Both stops on our trip.  Yes, I read the book, not just saw the movie.  And yes, it was good.


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil always sums up Savannah for me and I couldn’t help thinking about it as we took our tour and saw all the beautiful mansions including the house where the crime occurred. And the Bonaventure cemetery. Where the “bird girl” angel no longer resides. But there are other beauties there.

Out exploring in Savannah, and lo and behold, Flannery O’Connor’s house!  Wow, did she grow up in a nice place.  Everything that Rises Must Converge is one of my favorite collections.  Have I mentioned that one of my old college professors is a published expert on her?  Yep, it’s true.


But Florida.  Ahh, two of my oldest and dearest friends are from south Florida, and as we were driving through I couldn’t help but think I was in each of their neighborhoods. 

Archie McNally, the character by Lawrence Sanders, lives the playboy high life in Palm Beach.  He swims daily in the chilly Atlantic and one morning, my exercise took me to that place as well.  I’m not sure I met up with him, but it was a little earlier than he might rise so understandable.  He seems to stay up late at the Pelican Club and then retires with a “small marc.”

And the other love of my life from the Florida fictional world?  Dexter!  The handsome, charming Miami resident who happens to be a murdering sociopath killing off just the bad guys is delish and I miss him so much. Spoiler alert: he’s killed off. Dang it.

But it was nice being in his home town.

As we were driving to Charleston, I saw a sign for The Citadel and *gasp* how did I ever forget Pat Conroy? The South Carolina Lowlands.

Was Prince of Tides the best thing ever written in the 80s? I vividly remember my friends and me lamenting when Streisand cast herself as Lowenstein. Ummm no and still after all these years NO!

Last but not least – Reacher.  That guy gets around.  And no matter where I travel, I know Reacher has either been there or will get there and bad guys had better beware!

Being on the road so long I have channeled my inner Reacher. I might not be quite 6’5″ tall, but I do change my underwear every day so that has to count for something, right?

If you are a Reacher watcher and not a Reacher reader, you might not get that comment, but I challenge you to read one and then you’ll understand.

I have at least a dozen other examples of places we visited where talented authors have taken me over the years, but this post is long enough.

Fun times traveling with my fictional buddies and thank you for coming along with us.

2 Comment

  1. Oh Archy! The pre cocktail swim. One of life’s little pleasures in Florida. So glad you are there to visit.
    xxoo Fabulous picture of you BTW

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