I’m on vacation for the next few days. It’s my first grown-up vacation that has nothing to do with work or books or librarianship in quite a while. I’m taking the opportunity to indulge and relax, since these are things I so rarely get to do.
Of course, one of the things I always angst over when it comes to traveling is picking the right books to take with me. I know my habits quite well, but since it’s been so long since I’ve traveled for myself, I’m a little rusty. Without fail, I pack too many books, with the intent of doing a ton of reading while in flight, but when I get to the airport, I end up picking up a copy of Entertainment Weekly and reading that instead. But…now I get EW delivered to my house and I read it every week, so that option is off the table.
So my packing strategy has to be a little more thoughtful, since I know whatever it is I pack will be what I have with me at the airport and at the condo I’m renting (and you bet I’ll be scoping out what books, if any, are in that condo). I want to read only things that are enjoyable, and I don’t want to pack a single thing with the thought of it being something I feel compelled to talk about — unless I really, really want to. More, I don’t want to pack something that takes up space that doesn’t earn its keep, so I’m leaning toward one print book and then going with my nook/phone for the rest of the books.
And these are the books that I think have made the cut.
I may have found Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me? out early at a bookstore last weekend and made a pretty ridiculous noise when I did. I picked it up and walked out, intending to read it over the weekend. But then I thought it would be a far better read while on vacation, so this print book — which is hardcover, but not particularly heavy — will be getting some precious space in my carryon. I can see this being a perfect in-flight read. I really liked Kaling’s previous memoir, with the right blend of humor and seriousness, and I just like Kaling herself.
Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies has gotten so much positive buzz around Book Riot, and generally, when an adult literary novel does, I tend to like it (that’s how I picked up Station Eleven last year and it was totally up my alley). But the thing that really made me want to pick up this book was this post about how it’s a great read for fans of Lana Del Rey. I gave up my print ARC of this at BEA to a coworker, but I snagged a digital galley. It’s a novel about a doomed marriage, told through both members of the couple, and it has a bit of a mythological thread to it.
I’ve been told about E. Katherine Kottaras’s How To Be Brave (November) for a while now — it’s a story with a fat main character where weight isn’t her story. It’s a book about grief and how one can choose to really live life, even when one’s life has been permanently altered. I’m hopeful it’s a solid rendering of a fat girl with a full life, so as much as it’s the kind of book that could be a little heavy for vacation reading, it sounds like the kind that once I’m hooked, I won’t want to put down. This one I’ve got loaded on my nook, so it won’t take up luggage space, which I appreciate.
Okay, I’m probably a liar about “light” reading, since I’ve also loaded E. K. Johnston’s Exit, Pursued By A Bear (March 2016) on my nook too, and it’s a story about rape and rape culture. The pitch is that it’s Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare. I’ve probably consumed more books on this topic this year than is healthy (and indeed, also ordered Louise O’Neill’s Asking for It from the UK to read after vacation) but I’ve been thinking about writing something relating to these books, and I’ve heard positive things about Johnston’s take. The cover of this one reminds me of Queen of Secrets from a few years ago. I know this will be a tough read, but, like I said above, as long as I can get into it pretty quickly, I find tough reads are fine for “relaxing” reading.
I do a little work for Panels, which means reading a lot about comics. While I’m not a huge superhero comics reader, I’ve found myself pushing beyond my comfort reads when it comes to comics. I loved Black Widow, and I have been loving Ms. Marvel. So when Panels writers were raving about Squirrel Girl, I had to snag some single issues to see what it was all about. Now that they’ve been sitting on my shelf for a few months, perhaps it’s time to actually read them. The nice thing about single issues is that while I have to pack the physical copies with me to go on my trip, I don’t have any attachment strong enough to feel I need to bring them home when I’m done. They can be recycled.
Now that I’ve meticulously planned my reading to be packed . . . I bet I end up hitting a bookstore or two and buying entirely different things to not read while I’m actually doing vacation-y things.