A Blog Unboxing of the Summer Road Trip Book Box

This week on Pretty Literate LIVE I spilled all the beans.

I let the cat out of the bag in a big, BIG way.

I gave the game away.

I came clean.

I blew the gaff.

I blabbed.

I squawked.

I told it ALL.

And that is unusual for me. 

One of the things that make Pretty Literate unique is the thrill of the surprise. Not only do I keep the contents of each of my book boxes top secret, but I keep on keeping that secret til the boxes sell out before I will unbox one.

Who doesn't love birthday surprises? Or the anticipation building up to Christmas morning?

That's the feeling I dearly love to engender with all of my book boxes, whether they are the Monthly Book Club boxes or the Seasonal Book Boxes.

And that is why it went completely against type for me to divulge ALL THE THINGS that went into the Summer Road Trip Book Box earlier this week on Pretty Literate LIVE. 

And even more surprising that I'm doubling down on dishing it right here on the Pretty Literate Blog.

(Rather watch? You can catch the replay of this week's Pretty Literate LIVE right here.)


If you've been insanely curious about the Summer Road Trip Book Box, pour yourself a cuppa something special and get ready to be WOWed by my first unboxing right here - A Blog Unboxing of the Summer Road Trip Book Box.

The Inspiration:

The Summer Road Trip Book Box was inspired by a road trip that I took with my husband in January of this year. The weather was great, and we decided to pack our dogs into the car and go on a day trip to somewhere a little more remote, a place where our playful pooches could run around with a little bit of freedom. We live in a pretty big city and because of that, unless they are confined to our small backyard, our 48-pound Aussie and 80+ pound German Shepherd have to be on a leash at all times, and let me tell you, these big dogs long to run faster than their owners' legs can carry them. They love to run ahead, scouting the trails in front of us. They love to zoom back past us to check out what we've left behind, investigating every smell along the way. If there’s water, they will be in it – regardless of the temps. Our Aussie, Rosie (named after Rosie Cotton in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings) especially loves to swim and play fetch in the water, so that unseasonably mild Saturday morning in January definitely begged for adventure.

Since we had the dogs in tow, I decided to download a Steinbeck novel for us to enjoy together as we drove the miles because I had read that it was based on a road trip the author took with his own dog and I love when fiction and reality collide. 

Let me tell you, that particular fiction hooked both of us from the very first chapter! 

We were ALL IN. 

As we racked up the miles & found ourselves deeper into the audiobook, our day trip took a more leisurely pace. We found ourselves taking the roads less traveled and meandering rather than driving straight to our destination.

Not having finished Travels with Charley in Search of America on Saturday, we found ourselves back in the car on Sunday driving for the sake of driving so that we could listen to the last half of Steinbeck’s All-American classic. 

Steinbeck is the original #vanlifer in my book.  

The Perspiration:

Once we knew we had to share Travels with Charley in Search of America as a Seasonal Book Box, we began the nitty-gritty process of what would best complement the novel.

And let me tell you, that process goes in so many different directions when we’re first starting it! 

A lot of lists are made.

A lot of online browsing happens.

Until eventually we come across "the item" that is the anchor, the one thing that we have named "The WOW Factor." The WOW Factor is the first piece for the book box that sets the direction that all the other novel treasures will follow. The one that (literally!) will make you go "Oh, WOW!" as you are unboxing.

For the Summer Road Trip Book Box, The WOW Factor was a jewelry travel case. Not just any run-of-the-mill jewelry travel case, but one with a distinctly vintage vibe that mirrored the era in which Steinbeck's book was set.

Once I found this one, I knew I had to have it for this book box. The vintage feel. The color. The one-to-one correlation of packing luggage (of any kind!) for a road trip. The practicality. I was all in when I found this little gem. 

Now that The WOW Factor had been found, the direction for the rest of the bookish souvenirs was obvious - to provide a vicarious vacation inside each of the Summer Road Trip Book Boxes.

The next question was, What would someone take on a road trip with Steinbeck around the U.S.A.? 

Our answer was...

Luggage ✔

(a.k.a. the CUTEST teeny-tiny travel case to transport your treasured trinkets) 

Tote. ✔ 

(an absolutely awesome take-along tote ready for a road trip!)

Tumbler. ✔

(a truly TERRIFIC tumbler that delivers Steinbeck's woody, campy vibe in spades!)

Goodies. ✔

(because what road trip would be complete without Steinbeck's staple item in bite-size form?)


Dog. ✔

(a Bourbon brown leather pooch to serve as your faithful traveling companion as you read your way across America with Steinbeck & Charley)


The Exhilaration:

I love, love, love curating these big, huge Seasonal Book Boxes. I love all the background reading that I get to do, constantly scrutinizing titles and authors in order to find just the right classic to feature. Like Goldilocks, a novel has to hit the sweet spot – not just for me, but for you, too!

And that is exactly what Steinbeck’s Road Trippin book, Travels with Charley in Search of America, did - not only for me but for my mostly non-fiction reading husband.

When a book hits home like that, it's a no-brainer.

This is why I think it is a no-brainer for you to consider taking an epic road trip with the author yourself inside our Summer Road Trip Book Box.

And there are only TWO left!

I hope you'll take a short detour today to check it out for yourself because you could be taking the road trip of a lifetime with one of America's greatest authors in only a few days.  

The Monthly Book Club

All the careful, thoughtful care that went into the Summer Road Trip Book Box is the same careful, thoughtful care that goes into every one of our Monthly Book Boxes, as well.

I shipped August's Monthly Book Club boxes just this week. Since I know my members love to get a sneak peek, I thought I’d share a little sneak peek via a collaboration I did with Heather – this time in the form of her amazing artwork. 

Heather had no idea where we were going to travel in August’s featured novel, but I told her exactly what I was looking for in the postcard and once again, she nailed it. So, if you are curious about where we’re heading inside the August book box, here is your sneak peek at the postcard.

I know there are a handful of my Monthly Book Club Members – and maybe even some that haven’t yet joined us in our growing little community – that are super sleuths and love dissecting the clues I share, so I hope you have just enough to get those grey cells moving, but not so much that it’s too easy for you. 

What would be the fun of that?

Think you know where we're heading inside our last destination read of the summer? I hope you'll share your guess in the comments.

And if you have been on the fence about whether or not to join us in the Monthly Book Club, I want to encourage you to just do it.

We are a small, close-knit community and we’d love to welcome you as one of our new bookish friends. Check out the Monthly Book Club to learn more, but do it before the end of the month because we’re closing the door on July 31.

Got Questions?

I've got answers! Feel free to email me at ericka@prettyliterate.com. Let's talk. 

Leave a comment