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Books About Quests


Did you love Cheryl Strayed’s Wild but aren’t ready to hop on the Pacific Crest Trail yourself? One of the easiest ways to travel is from the safety of a book. Armchair adventures abound within the doors of your local Henrico library. Some of these adventures are unlimited by time, space, the rules of physics, or any other bases of reality.  Others are real world quests to find riches, new lands, healing, or the meaning of life itself.  Perhaps one of these works will inspire you in your own life’s quest.

  • Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan (also available on Hoopla)
    • Young Xingyin grew up on the moon protected by her mother, a moon goddess, from the jealous Celestial Emperor. When Xingyin is discovered, she must flee and leave her mother behind. She goes into hiding in the Celestial Kingdom—right under the Emperor’s nose—in a quest to save her mother from the Emperor’s powerful clutches.
  • The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin (Print, Libby)
    • Essun is secretly an orogene, a person who can control the Earth’s forces. On the ruined planet where she lives with her husband and children, the Authorities keep a close watch on orogenes and their special powers. When her secret is revealed, Essun’s daughter goes missing, and she sets off to find her and resolve the secrets of her hidden past.
  • Fruit of the Dead by Rachel Lyon
    • In this modern retelling of the Demeter and Persephone story, Cory is a camp counselor who does not want to return to her high-strung mother after summer. But when a wealthy camp parent invites her to work on his opiate-filled private island, she takes the chance. Her mother, convinced something is not right, is on a mission to bring her back.
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A New Verse Translation by Simon Armitage (also available on Hoopla)
    • In this fourteenth-century poem, the legendary Green Knight appears one day before Sir Gawain, who chops off his head. In response, the Green Knight merely picks up his head and challenges Sir Gawain to a quest: at the end of a year and a day, Sir Gawain must find the Green Knight and receive an axe blow in return. Be sure to also check out the story in movie form: The Green Knight starring Dev Patel.
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fryby Rachel Joyce
    • Harold Fry lives with his irritable wife in a small, dull village. One morning, a letter from his old friend Queenie arrives. Queenie is in hospice and has written to say goodbye. Harold, convinced that Queenie will live as long as he walks, determines to undertake a 600-mile walk to deliver a final message to his friend.
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig (also available on Hoopla)
    • Pirsig’s classic chronicle of a motorcycle trip around the U.S. illuminates his quest for relationship, meaning, and wholeness after a serious mental health crisis. Through the passing landscape, his travelling companions, and motorcycle maintenance, Pirsig gains a new understanding of life and himself.

Want to venture beyond the armchair?  Henrico Library has a plethora of travel resources including guidebooks and even online language courses (access Rosetta Stone and Transparent Language Online for free with your library card).  Start prepping for your trip today!

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