Kevin J. Hayes could use a little assistance. He’s working on a book titled American Literature: A Very Short Introduction, much of which will deal with fiction, of course. “For example, Chapter 7, the first chapter I drafted, presents an overview of the novel refracted through the idea of the ‘great American novel,’” he writes. But he’s also trying to make room to mention great American travel writers. Figuring out who those might be isn’t my bailiwick, though I’m sure Hayes has already considered the wonderful WPA guides and their hefty cousin, John Gunther‘s Inside U.S.A. As far as books that take a more personal view, the first title that popped into my head is reflected in this post’s title: Ted Conover‘s excellent first book is his story of riding the rails and learning about the peculiar sociology of hobo living.
More, better examples?