Vacation reading

For my one-week trip — five days with a pretty full day of flying and layovers on each end — I packed four books. I figured I’d only get three read (we were traveling to see people). I finished the first one shortly after arriving at our destination, with the bulk of the reading done en route. Boo by Rene Gutteridge.

Then I picked up the next. Promise the Moon by Elizabeth Joy Arnold. But I didn’t like it. I was about 50 pages in when I put it down, never to pick it up again. It may be a good book, but it was just too sad for me.

I moved on to the third. The Disappearance of Lyndsey Barratt by John Wilson. Yikes! Awful. I could see where it was heading, and I didn’t want my fiction diet to consist of this. Next. This was mainly a failure in selection. I knew next-to-nothing when I picked it up for a song.

So I, with trepidation, reluctantly started the fourth and final traveling book. Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. I was worried that I would finish it early and be stuck with nothing to do while traveling. My kind husband assured me we would find something if that happened. I was still worried, though, since I couldn’t figure out a time in our schedule that would allow that without taking away from our scheduled activities. So I read slowly, rationing my reading time in hopes that I’d be fine with my present books.

I’ll post later, separately, about the books I finished.

The point to this post, though, is a question: How do you choose what books to take on a trip? I don’t often reread books, so that’s out (for me). It seems like there’s such a fine line between over researching and researching too little.

I know some readers just take tons of tomes. That’s not really a solution when you’re flying, and you pay for each bag, though, is it? I sometimes use this approach when driving to my destination. But when you’re going to have to carry them all, this doesn’t seem like the most moderate approach.

A Kindle would be another obvious solution, but I don’t have the money for that at this point. I don’t travel often enough to make it worth it.

I ran out of books earlier this year while traveling.

So, what’s your answer? How do you choose what books to take on a trip? Criteria: They need to be books you’re pretty sure you’ll like (or at least be able to finish), and they need to be at least semi-light reading (I can’t concentrate terribly well in distracting environments).

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6 responses to “Vacation reading

  1. I don’t have a method, really.

    I try to suit the ‘mood’ of the book with the place I’m going, in a general way.

    When we went to FL in June, I took just the right amount of books, for the first time ever, I started on the final book the night before we headed home.

  2. “Light” is the key word for me, so I usually end up taking YA books on a trip.

  3. @Shana: Way to go, getting it perfectly right! Hooray! What did you take when you went to Florida?

    @Suey: YA books seem to disappear faster for me. For you, does taking YA reading mean you have to take more books, too? (I’m hoping for the other kind of light, too!) :p

  4. Pingback: Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott « Word Lily

  5. I take the Evelyn Waugh approach and pack as many as I can possibly carry even that means another bag. Fortunately I don’t travel much. But I do this even while backpacking which is true dedication.
    Here is the minimum I pack. I try to take something thick and slow like a really long classic, something fun and interesting like a topical non-fiction title or a highly recommended novel, something rich and meaningful like a religious work and an old favorite for re-reading. So it might be “Moby Dick”, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, “The Attributes of God” by Arthur Pink and “That Hideous Strength” by Lewis. And the longer the trip, the more multiples in each category. I take at least four books for a two-three day trip and eight or ten for a week. When backpacking each day counts double because of all the extra down-time for reading.

  6. Pingback: Boo by Rene Gutteridge « Word Lily

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