In 1960, John Steinbeck decided that he can't keep writing books about America before he gets himself re-acquainted with the country. So, he packed himself and his poodle Charley into a camper truck and set out on a 10,000 mile journey around the U.S.

Steinbeck's main goal was not to see the changes that the country underwent, but to feel the thoughts and spirits of the people. Using his dog, freshly brewed coffee and other ingenious tricks, he initiated contact with numerous people along his trip and struck conversations, trying to figure out how people feel about the political situation and life in America in general.

"Travels with Charley" is one of Steinbeck's books I liked the most, and I just wish it wouldn't be so short! It's rare that I lament the shortness of a book (over-size is a more frequent complaint) - but I was counting the pages hoping it won't end. Even as far as travel books go, this one stands out. In contrast to more modern authors who just wish to visit the most popular places, Steinbeck tries to avoid them and rather focus on the "real America", on the way providing interesting insights and thoughts about what he sees and hears. The style of Steinbeck's writing is, as always, beautiful. Perhaps what makes this book stand out is its being non-fiction, reflecting the author's real thoughts in first person, not through a book character.

Highly recommended!