The best novels about life and it's changes – the what, where, and why

Why am I passionate about this?

At 13 years old I told my father that “I will be travelling around the USA as soon as I graduate college." It took 10 days to prepare but prepare and depart I did. I worked my way around the USA for 6 months and on the way home I told my Dad, “Next is Europe.” A year later I traveled with the son of the richest man in the world and the adventures we had driving 19,865 miles through 12 European countries for 10 weeks were both mind-blowing and life-changing. My passion for traveling and life shows throughout my book, and I assure you that you'll enjoy travelling along with me. 


I wrote...

Travels With Maurice: An Outrageous Adventure in Europe, 1968

By Gary Orleck,

Book cover of Travels With Maurice: An Outrageous Adventure in Europe, 1968

What is my book about?

The hard-to-believe but true story of a once-in-a-lifetime mind-blowing trip. Driving 19,865 miles through 12 countries of Europe for 10 weeks with the son of the richest man in the world in 1968 brought us many adventures that you're sure to enjoy.

He turned a ship around in the middle of the ocean, we dined with Kings and Queens in Belgium, we gambled with the Shah of Iran in Monte Carlo, and I was even rescued out of handcuffs by Shirley Temple Black during the Russian invasion of Checkeslovokia, and Brigitte Bardot even asked me to dance. That doesn't even scratch the surface of our adventures, and when you read it, you'll come to realize that this story must be true because nobody could make this story up, “Nobody!”

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

Gary Orleck Why did I love this book?

I love this book because it is a true-to-life story, which makes the characters so much more real as they come across just like you or me, with many good characteristics while also demonstrating many real human flaws.

It is not about the 2,000-mile hike along the Appalachian Trail, but rather about the people who accomplish this amazing feat while in the untamed wilderness, preparing to face the real world now called home - all over again.

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked A Walk in the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of "Notes from a Small Island" and "The Lost Continent" comes this humorous report on his walk along the Appalachian Trail. The Trail covers 14 states and over 2000 miles, and stretches along the east coast of America from Maine in the north to Georgia in the south. It is famous for being the longest continuous footpath in the world. It snakes through some of the wildest and most specactular landscapes in America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.


Book cover of The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

Gary Orleck Why did I love this book?

This is a true story about different people on a majestic but dangerous journey traveling cross country in America during the 18th century in a covered wagon, hoping to escape to a better life.

We see how travel in this new world is full of harrowing adventures which helps to bring them together instead of tearing them apart. Ordinary people shine bright to survive this treacherous journey, and I learned that the people, not the wilderness, are the winners in this travel journal rich in personal stories.

It is a book with a big heart.

By Rinker Buck,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Oregon Trail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • #1 Indie Next Pick • Winner of the PEN New England Award

“Enchanting…A book filled with so much love…Long before Oregon, Rinker Buck has convinced us that the best way to see America is from the seat of a covered wagon.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Amazing…A real nonfiction thriller.” —Ian Frazier, The New York Review of Books

“Absorbing…Winning…The many layers in The Oregon Trail are linked by Mr. Buck’s voice, which is alert and unpretentious in a manner that put me in mind of Bill Bryson’s comic tone in A Walk in the Woods.”…


Book cover of An American Traveler: True Tales of Adventure, Travel, and Sport

Gary Orleck Why did I love this book?

This is a collection of a dozen essays allowing us to feel the fun, the drama, the craziness of travel, and the effect it can have on both our personalities and views after the journey. In other words, this book teaches us to feel these stories, which show us the more you risk the more rewards you will gain from your travel adventures.

It also reminds us to worry or at least be concerned for whom you are traveling with. After reading this, I believe it is not what we accomplish by traveling but what we take away from traveling.

By Randy Wayne White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An American Traveler as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A scintillating new collection from one of America's premier travel writers.


Book cover of Around the World in Eighty Days

Gary Orleck Why did I love this book?

After you remind yourself that this story is taking place in 1872, you can just sit back and have fun with it as you will come to see that it is a very clever story and true to the time period it is set in.

I advise that you should let your mind wander, and you will very easily fall in love with the well-defined characters and the suspense of the story. Have we not all raced against time in our own lifetime? It is a really fun read, especially if you use your imagination to join in, and that is why I believe that everybody should read this classic story at least once in their lifetime.

By Jules Verne,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Around the World in Eighty Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Some novels are considered classics of children literature, read by numerous generations of young readers who made them immortal. That is the case with Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, a true prototype for many later adventure tales. The thrilling race against time of eccentric Phileas Fogg and his manservant Passepartout, having to run around the planet to win a bet, is here presented in a modern and original way, thanks to the splendid drawings by Francesca Rossi, an artist able to capture the vivid atmosphere of the story.


Book cover of The Cafe on the Edge of the World

Gary Orleck Why did I love this book?

This book was inspirational in making me want to write my own story in order to look into my life-changing adventure, which changed me as a person and gave me a new awareness about myself. I am sure the author would be delighted that his words affected my life that way.

Isn't that why we as authors slave to do our work in order to be heard and change the reader's thinking about life and what it means to them? Well, this author accomplished that and I assure you it will have a similar effect on you if you read it.

Simply put, this may well change your perspective of your own life. 

By John Strelecky,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Cafe on the Edge of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gifted by millions to those they love. The simple yet profoundly life changing story for anyone struggling to find their place in life. Seven time winner- Bestseller of the Year.

In a small cafe at a location so remote it stands in the middle of the middle of nowhere, a visitor finds three unusual questions on the back of a menu.

Why are you here?

Do you fear death?

Are you fulfilled?

With this food for thought and the guidance of three people at the cafe, the visitor embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Along the way discovering a new…


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The Circus Infinite

By Khan Wong,

Book cover of The Circus Infinite

Khan Wong Author Of The Circus Infinite

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Creative expression has been one of my most cherished values since childhood. I've always had a creative hobby of some kind since I was a kid. Not sure how that happened – my parents were tolerant of my interests at best. I made my day job career in the arts, fostering the creativity of community members and supporting the work of artists. Art (in the general sense of all forms of creative expression) is, to me, a defining characteristic of humanity, it makes life worth living, and the way it’s devalued under Capitalism both saddens and inspires me as a creator myself. I’m a writer of speculative fiction and I write about creative people.

Khan's book list on how art is more than art

What is my book about?

Hunted by those who want to study his gravity powers, Jes makes his way to the best place for a mixed-species fugitive to blend in: the pleasure moon where everyone just wants to be lost in the party. It doesn’t take long for him to catch the attention of the crime boss who owns the resort-casino where he lands a circus job, and when the boss gets wind of the bounty on Jes’ head, he makes an offer: do anything and everything asked of him or face vivisection.

With no other options, Jes fulfills the requests: espionage, torture, demolition. But when the boss sets the circus up to take the fall for his about-to-get-busted narcotics operation, Jes and his friends decide to bring the mobster down. And if Jes can also avoid going back to being the prize subject of a scientist who can’t wait to dissect him? Even better.

The Circus Infinite

By Khan Wong,

What is this book about?

Hunted by those who want to study his gravity powers, Jes makes his way to the best place for a mixed-species fugitive to blend in: the pleasure moon where everyone just wants to be lost in the party. It doesn't take long for him to catch the attention of the crime boss who owns the resort-casino where he lands a circus job, and when the boss gets wind of the bounty on Jes' head, he makes an offer: do anything and everything asked of him or face vivisection.

With no other options, Jes fulfills the requests: espionage, torture, demolition. But…


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