Wayward Women: Great Books Where Women Hit The Road

Bored by chick lit and misery memoirs?

Had it with housework, carpools, cubicle politics?

Women of America, three words: hit the road.


The Journal of Madam Knight

by Sarah Kemble Knight

A New England business-woman's 1704 horseback journey from Boston to New York yields the first U. S. road-trip book. Still among the best, thanks to Kemble's high spirits and sardonic eye.


S. M. Fuller's Summer on the Lakes in 1843

by Sarah Margaret Fuller

Touring the Great Lakes in 1843, a hard-to-please Transcendentalist melds reportage, diary, verse, and rant into travelogue both inner and outer. (Her personal low points: swampy, dull Chicago, pop. 7,000; and Niagara Falls, which looked exactly like the postcards.)


Vanished Arizona: Recollections of My Army Life

by Martha Summerhayes

An Army wife becomes the first white woman at Fort Apache once she follows her husband from Boston through the "glittering misery" of the frontier Southwest, where she must survive giant tarantulas, sandstorms, raids by Geronimo, and a harrowing solitary childbirth.


Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist

by Brooke Kroeger

A doorstop biography of the Victorian celebrity journalist who circled the world in 72 days, traveling by steamer, camel, rickshaw and private train. Her luggage: one overcoat, one dress, a notebook, and a bag of gold around her neck.


Dreams and Thunder: Stories, Poems, and The Sun Dance Opera

by Zitkala-Sa, edited by P. Jane Hafen

A bi-racial musician/writer journeys from South Dakota's Pine Ridge reservation to Manhattan — and back. Opera composer, schoolteacher, political gadfly, proud pagan: Bonnin battles injustice and indifference but never gives up, or gives in.


My Double Life: Memoirs Of A Naturalist

by Frances Hamerstrom

Inspired by their grad-school professor Aldo Leopold, biologists Fran and Frederick Hamerstrom escape Eastern blueblood upbringings to save Wisconsin's endangered birdlife. After Hammy's death, Fran carries on alone: witty, eccentric, impassioned. Don't miss her recipe for pie crust (secret ingredient: bear lard.) A great globe-trotting naturalist; an even greater love story. See also Mice in the Freezer, Owls on the Porch, a delightful joint biography of the pair.