Reading on the Road

I’m traveling for both business and pleasure starting tomorrow, so I’ve started thinking about what to read while I’m gone. There will be some work-related projects, of course, but I have a few long plane rides and a full week that’s technically vacation time, so I’m excited to dig into books that will remind me why I love to read.

Anyone who reads a lot for work can tell you that there’s a certain giddiness associated with reading for pleasure. I love books of all sorts, but there’s something elicit about stealing time to read just for me these days. I liken it to reading “naughty books” as a child, things you might not necessarily want your parents to catch you with, even if they never forbade you from reading them. Books addressing subjects that were a little too sexy, too violent, too mature… Reading for work is a pleasure as well, but it’s still work, and you maintain a critical focus from first page to last. And for agents, there are plenty of stories that fail on some level, that make you wonder, if only for an instant, why you like to read at all.

Choosing my vacation reading is the biggest challenge. I can pack my suitcase and my computer and my camera, no problem, but I will linger over my bookshelves trying to figure out what to take. Having a Kindle makes things a little easier, since there are always plenty of choices packed into its compact space, but I am, at heart, a paper book kind of girl. Besides which, you need something to read during take off and landing, when electronic devices are powered down.

I blame my indecision when the clock is ticking on my lack of free-reading time. The choice feels weighty, important. I want to take the right books with me, the books that will complement my travels without distracting from them. Books I can lose myself in completely, as is appropriate on vacation. And I worry about taking the wrong ones. Books that might be perfectly wonderful when read under the covers at home on a chilly Sunday afternoon but that will fail to hold up to the spirit of adventure inherent in a long journey.

The temptation to reread sets in a few hours before I have to leave. I’ll linger in front of favorite volumes, thinking how much simpler it would be to just take a few of them, knowing they’ll be perfect for the trip. Old friends tagging along as you discover new places. But again, there’s that time shortage thing rearing its head, reminding me that I should read something new, that I should take advantage of the time away to discover a new favorite instead.

Eventually I’ll decide. I’ll grab two or three books and shove them in reserved spots in my tote bag and my suitcase. Will they be the right choices? Only time can tell.

How do you decide on your vacation reading? Are there any books you’ve read on vacation recently that you loved? Any you’re looking forward to?