By Patti Hill
(B&H Fiction, $15)
When does settling down really mean settling? Answer: when you’re speaking of the main characters in last year’s The Queen of Sleepy Eye. It’s 1975 when Francie and her daughter, Amy, hit the road, bound for California, where Amy is to attend college. But their 1958 Pontiac Bonneville breaks down somewhere in rural Colorado. They eventually fix the car and return to their hometown of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota -- 33 years after being stranded. The lives they form and lessons they learn in those three interim decades … well, that’s where things get interesting.
The Leisure Seeker
By Michael Zadoorian
(William Morrow, $25)
John Robina is suffering from Alzheimer’s. His wife of more than 50 years, Ella, has chosen to cease the cancer treatments that could save her life. This tender novel, released in January, takes readers into the minds of this elderly couple as they escape the control of their children and doctors and reconnect during a road trip down Route 66 in their 1978 Leisure Seeker RV.
Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein’s Brain
By Michael Paterniti
(Random House, $19)
To get a sense of how offbeat this memoir is, examine the three main characters: Paterniti, a freelance writer; Thomas Harvey, an 80-something pathologist; and the brain of Albert Einstein. Harvey performed Einstein’s autopsy in 1955 and kept the physicist’s brain to study it. Some 42 years later, he decided to return it to Einstein’s granddaughter and asked Paterniti to come along for the ride. Driving Mr. Albert, originally published in 2000, is the result of their travels.