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?

8 thoughts on “Reading on the Road

  1. My To-Be-Read list of middle grade and young adult novels is always packed, so it’s hard to figure out what to read next. Because I think of reading MG/YA books as part of my writerly education, I usually end up with a Sophie Kinsella-type chick lit novel on vacation or an interesting non-fiction topic. Those tend to really relax me.

  2. Having a Kindle has taken so much of the stress out of this decision for me. What I do now is bring a Kindle and then save getting a paperback until I get to the airport/train station. That way my choices are narrowed down and I get to buy myself something new and fun.

    Best book I read on vacation was hands down MOLOKA’I by Alan Brennert, which I bought on a recommendation and saved to read until I went to Hawaii. Was great to read to close to where the book was set and definitely made me want to take a book’s setting into account when choosing my vacation reading!

  3. I always bring something in print and on my reader. You never know when you’ll forget to charge your battery or misplace a charger. I usually look for books that share the same setting as the one I’m visiting, because it never fails to add to my travel experience. For instance, earlier this summer I was in Lowcountry South Carolina, so I read the YA novel The Magnolia League (set in Savannah). Perhaps the best thing I read, though, was an ARC of The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe. It reminded me of Downton Abbey…only with magic! I’m on a historical kick lately, so I’m looking forward to reading Grave Mercy this week.

  4. I always bring several books on vacation so I’ll have a choice depending on my mood — usually a difficult task! This year, I brought Anita Shreve’s “Light on Snow,” several books from Robert Johnson (“He,” “She,” and “We”) , Pema Chodron’s “Practicing Peace in Times of War” and John Mundy’s “Living a Course in Miracles.”

    My favorite go-to books are Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I read part of “Outlander” while on vacation, and that started the craze for me.

  5. Bon Voyage! We’re heading on holiday next week and I just got back from our local indie-bookstore to stock up on vacation reads. I have a bunch of books on the kindle–new reads and familiar friends, but the ones I picked from the bookstore were simply impulsive ‘this looks interesting’ choices.


  6. Steampunk paranormal comedy: I love the Soulless series by Gail Carriger. They make me laugh my @$$ off — because there’s so much fun with toying with Regency romance. It feels like a zany inside joke.

  7. I take two diametrically opposite books for the plane ride, so if I fall out of the mood for one kind of book, there is another choice. I also confine my choices to books that I can leave behind because of the weight restrictions. As much as I hate parting with my books, I find lots of solace in knowing they’re bringing pleasure to someone else I’ve passed them on to while on the road.

    Hugs, and have fun!

  8. Such a difficult decision! I’m reading the Song of Ice and Fire saga by George R.R. Martin. I love it! The best bit is it doesn’t have to end…yet!

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