Friday, May 02, 2014

Friday Reading Assignment: what to read while traveling

I love to select books to take on a trip, although it is a slightly anxious process.  What if you arrive at your destination and don't like the books you brought or run out of reading material before your trip is done?  I generally over pack when it comes to books and will sacrifice other things, like shoes, to make room for more books. On our flight to Rome, I had a dreadful moment when I realized I'd accidentally brought Persuasion instead of Sense & Sensibility.

I have a habit of packing something that I ought to read and I've spent several trips struggling with books like Midnight's Children and Women in Love.

Yes, I did fit all of these into my suitcase


Here is a list of what I'm packing for my trip to Cape Town.
  • The Thirteen Gun Salute by Patrick O'Brian.  I'm reading this one now and hoping there will be a stop in Cape Town, as there sometimes is in the Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin series.
  • Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold.  "A novel inspired by the life and marriage of Charles Dickens."  
  • August Folly by Angela Thirkell.  Pure indulgence.
  • Something by Jane Austen.  Maybe I'll try to pack Sense & Sensibility again.
  • Crime & Punishment.  It sounds crazy, but it's on deck for the Fifty Classics project.  It's very likely that I won't even open it, but maybe our old paperback copy will become more interesting simply because it traveled needlessly to Cape Town and back.
  • The Rough Guide to Cape Town.  Of course I'm packing guide books!  I haven't traveled with one of the Rough Guide series before.  It's interesting how different guide books to the same place give such different information.
  • Fodor's Exploring South Africa.  I got this one at the library.  I've never been impressed with Fodor's, so I might leave it at home.
  • Wallpaper City Guide Cape Town. I've just discovered Wallpaper guides.  This series is focused on design, and I was excited to discover that Cape Town has been designated the world design capital for 2014.  Wallpaper books are marketed as "discreetly packaged" and before I bought my copy from Amazon, I had to look them up and make sure they weren't focused on where to find the sex industry.  They simply have plain colored covers and don't scream "guide book."
  • Eyewitness Travel South Africa.  The Eyewitness Travel books are my absolute favorites.  I got my copy at the public library.
Am I going to read all this?  No, but I will be spending thirty-six hours in flight (round trip) so I will need something to keep myself occupied. These are all paper books (although not necessarily paperback) mostly from the library.  I have no interest in a kindle, not even for the guidebooks, and especially not in Cape Town, where it is unwise to be seen with electronics.  I'm leaving for the airport in a few hours and I may jettison Fodors and Crime & Punishment, because, come on.

What do you like to read when you're on vacation?

11 comments:

  1. I usually bring secondhand paperbacks that I jettison along the way as I finish them, and buy a few new books for the Kindle.

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  2. I rarely read on vacation. I'm a watcher.

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  3. I didn't realize other people did this too! Erma Bombeck gave me this travel tip I've never forgotten: "Bring half the clothes you think you'll need and twice the money." Edited for me, "Bring half the books you think you'll need and twice the money," because I often completely forget such essentials as pants while deciding which books to take.

    I actually have a travel book, "The Origins of Totalitarianism" by Hannah Arendt.I took that with me on every trip outside my house I ever went on throughout my twenties until I'd finished it a couple of times. Now I'm not quite so dogged, but I do have books that I only read outside of the house. It encourages me to get out of my cocoon and venture forth into the world, so I can find out what happens next.

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    1. That's awesome! You're right, something about travel takes you out of your usual reading habit

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  4. i do this too! i went on a solo trip to madeira two years ago and took a large suticase filled with two bikinis, a sundress, and the rest was books galore!

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  5. I'd scrap C&P because traveling through airports can be enough to endure without that kind of tedium.
    Still have a hundred pages left in that thing and I am ONLY reading it out of contractual obligation.

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  6. I tend to reread The Lord of the Rings on vacation. But I have to admit that an e-reader of some kind is a beautiful thing while traveling, even though I hardly ever use mine at home: 50 books on a device smaller than one hardcover? Yes please.

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  7. In the end, this is why I bought a kindle. Mine has 500 books on it, so plane rides are never a worry.

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  8. O'Brien is always good. Enough detail to keep you engrossed, but still light enough to enjoy.

    I must say like some of the other commentators I have almost fully switched to ebooks now. Especially since i found so many free out there on the web.

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  9. I always pack a Nook loaded with new books for travel. (And then keep my electronics hidden when not in use.) I usually also pack one paper book just in case the electronics run out of charge -- often something non-fiction that I won't burn through too quickly.

    For guidebooks, I read them in advance and then pack only one that I've marked up, annotated, and generally added to with bits and pieces from other books and websites.

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  10. My husband bought me a kindle after he got tired of lugging my suitcases full of books everywhere. I still bring one or two (I can't help it), but with 75 books on my kindle, most of which are unread, I just take that.

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