Summer reading goes traveling

By Michelle Alexander

Intertwine your love of travel and a good book with a travel-themed book club.

During each month this summer, residents are invited to read the specially selected book picked out by Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s 50 Plus Program staff and conclude the month at the Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse, 9101 Nall Ave., Prairie Village, with a group discussion on how it relates to your travel and how it may inspire your wanderlust.

In May, the book of choice is “Off the Rails: A Train Trip Through Life” by Beppe Severgnini. This witty and entertaining collection of travel tales comes from an acclaimed journalist that explores his obsession with trains and what his rail journeys have taught him about culture and identity. Book club conversation meeting date is 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 31.

Next, the Emmy-winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent, Conor Knighton, chronicles his year traveling to every one of our national parks, discovering the most beautiful places and most interesting people that America has to offer in “Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park.” Discuss this book with the club at the clubhouse at 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 28.

The pick for July is “Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other” by Sam Heughan. From their faithful camper van to boats, kayaks, bicycles and motorbikes, book club participants can join stars of Outlander Sam and Graham on a road trip with a difference as two Scotsmen explore a land of raw beauty, poetry, feuding, music, history and warfare. Dive into discussion on this pick at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 26.

Wrap up your summer reading adventure with “A Sailor, a Chicken, and an Incredible Voyage: The Seafaring Adventures of Guirec and Monique” by Guirec Soudee. Here, a man and his chicken sail 45,000 nautical miles in this powerful story of following your dreams no matter what stands in your way. When Guirec Souďe was 21-years-old, he bought a 30-foot sailboat and set out across the Atlantic Ocean, despite having only sailed a dinghy before. His only companion? His plucky pet hen, Monique. Bring your cluckiest comments to share with the club at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30.

If you need even more books to indulge in this summer, read through Larry Laverentz, “The Not So Ordinary People on the Roads I’ve Traveled.” He grew up on a farm in Kansas and then went on to work in Vietnam in 1961. Then join us for a free Meet the Author event at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, at Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse as the author shares his insight and inspiration behind the decision to pen his book.

Cost for each month’s book club meeting is $5/$6 nonresidents. Book purchase is on your own. Advanced registration for each month’s book club meeting and the author event is required by calling 913-831-3359 or online by visiting the Enrichment Classes page at

Michelle Alexander is the 50 Plus Program manager at the Johnson County Park and Recreation District.