The State Centers for the Book linked by US Route 1, which extends from Fort Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida, are joining together to promote books that illuminate important aspects of their states/commonwealths for readers travelling the major and meandering highway. Read more about it at 


Empire State Center for the Book Selects Book for 2016 Route One Reads Initiative

May 10, 2016—Albany, New York—­For the second consecutive year, Empire State Center for the Book will participate in the Route One Reads initiative, a program under the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. In 2016, the theme of the initiative will be mysteries, and the selected book to represent New York State is The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout .

Stout’s classic character, Nero Wolfe, is hired to force the FBI to stop wiretapping, tailing and otherwise harassing a woman who gave away 10,000 copies of a book that is critical of the Bureau and its then director, J. Edgar Hoover.

“All of the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout (1886-1975) are excellent mysteries set in New York City,” says Ira B. Matetsky president of the Wolfe Pack, a  Stout fan club.   “The Doorbell Rang (1965) is especially memorable for its strong plot, its fine characterizations, and its outspokenness for its time as Stout and Wolfe took on the excesses of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover.”

“The Empire State Center for the Book is delighted to shine the spotlight on Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe series,” says Rocco Staino, Director of the Empire State Center for the Book.  “Stout is a member of the New York State Writers Hall of Fame and detective Nero Wolfe and New York appears in over 30 books.

The diverse reading list created by Route One Reads highlights each individual State Center for the Book while celebrating the East Coast as a whole. By participating in Route One Reads, readers can travel across 15 states and the District of Columbia without taking a single footstep, or load selected books into the car for a literary road trip. The full list of featured books for the 2016 Route One Reads initiative is available along with a map of participating states at


Route One Reads is a partnership between the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and its affiliate Centers for the Book in the following states: Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Virginia; and, Washington, DC.


For 2015, the Empire State Center for the Book’s RouteOneReads is John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley, In Search of America.   It is a travelogue written by Steinbeck. It depicts a 1960 road trip around the United States made by Steinbeck, in the company of his standard poodle, Charley.  His travels start on Long Island’s Sag Harbor when he leaves on the Shelter Island ferry and roughly follow the outer border of the United States. 




Additional Reading about Travels with Charley

A Cocktail in Celebration  of Travels with Charley

Baron's Cove resort in Sag Harbor, NY has created a cocktail in honor of Travels with Charley. The book begins with Steinbeck leaving his home in Sag Harbor with his poodle Charley.  If you are in the EastEnd of Long Island stop in at Baron's Cove and toast Steinbeck. If not here's the recipe created by Gregory Seider.



Travels with Charley : 
Cocktail Origin Whisky Sour
Bourbon, Peach Rooibos agave, Lemon Juice, Mint
Created by: Gregory Seider
2 oz Virgil Kaine high rye bourbon
1 oz lemon juice
.75 oz peach agave (see below)
Splash club soda
Glass: Rocks
Garnish: Mint sprig
Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker except club soda. Fill with ice. Hard shake for 8 to 10 seconds until snowball cold to touch. Add splash club soda. Double strain over ice in large rocks glass. Garnish with mint sprig
Peach agave makes about 750 ml
2 tablespoons loose leaf peach tea or about 8 bags
13 oz light organic agave syrup
13 oz water 
Mix all ingredients in pot and stir to blend agave and water
Bring to light boil. Remove from heat. Cover for 30 min to hour. Strain out tea into bottle.
Keep refrigerated.  Lasts 4 to 6 weeks

National Steinbeck Center


Thank you to the National Steinbeck Center for this photo of Rocinante, the truck used by Steinbeck for his Travels with Charley roadtrip.



Route 1 Reads from other States



Maine - The Precipice by Paul Doiron
New Hampshire - Colorful Journey by Sue Anne Bottomley
Massachusetts - Revere Beach Elegy by Roland Merullo
Rhode Island - The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
New York - Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
New Jersey - The Great American Roadtrip: U.S.1by Peter Genovese
Pennsylvania - Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigues and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
Washington, DC - The Big Blowdown by George Pelecanos
Maryland - Kindred by Octavia Butler
Delaware - Brewing Up a Bsuiness: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery by Sam Calagione
Virginia - Backroads & Byways of Virginia: Drives, Day Trips & Weekend Excursions by Bill Lohmann
North Carolina - Bob Garners' Book of Barbequeby Bob Garner
South Carolina - Minnow by James E. McTeer II
Georgia - Farm Fresh Georgia by Jodi Helmer
Florida - Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed and Ocean by Les Standiford