10 April 2012

Vacation Reading: What to Bring, What to Leave Behind?

Ahhh, Anguilla!
I love planning my vacations almost as much as I love the vacation itself. One of the best things about planning vacation, after that small, pesky detail of location has been settled upon, is choosing which books will earn a space in my bags--that, and whether to purchase an e-reading device before we travel. Since DH and I have settled upon 16 glorious days in Anguilla, I can now move on to the other most important items.

I brought home a stack of books from work the other day.  Most of them are ARCs, with a handful of finished copies.  I have become better about only asking my sales reps for books I am reasonably certain I will read, but that doesn't mean that publishers don't send me dozens of books each week that languish on my shelves.  So I've brought home bunches & bunches of them, and I think this year I'm going to prioritize books I actually really, really want to read for myself over books I really, really ought to read for work.  That might sound like a no-brainer for most of you, but there's this bizarre bookseller guilt that accompanies any book I crack open that has already been published or is, gasp, an honest-to-goodness backlist title.

I do have some guidelines to make sure I don't end up with too many books that are same-same.  There's always at least one YA title, one nonfiction title, and one collection of short stories.  I also really enjoy reading travel writing when I myself am traveling. Otherwise it's all fair game.  Here's the stack that I took with me last year, which includes two 20th century classics, two YA, 8 not-yet-published works, 11 already-published, 2 short story collections, one travel memoir, and 14 adult novels:
Guess I'll need more books this year for the extra 2 days we're down there!
Here are some of the titles that I am considering for the summer vacation. Anybody read any of them that you recommend? Light or dark, I'm happy to tackle just about anything.  Let me know!

On the Outside Looking Indian (memoir) by Rupinder Gill
Diving Belles by Lucy Wood
The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood
By Love Possessed (stories) by Lorna Goodison
Divorce Islamic Style by Amara Lakhous
The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny
The Green Shore by Natalie Bakopoulos

Not sure what to bring for other nonfiction.  Maybe 360 Degrees Longitude, a memoir about sailing the world.  I'm also hoping to score an ARC of the new Barbara Kingsolver book and the sequel to The Last Werewolf before my trip. And if I get to go to BEA, there might be some goodies there to choose from, too.  My YA will likely be another John Green book, because I want to jump his bones on his bandwagon after reading The Fault in Our Stars and meeting him at Winter Institute earlier this year. 


  1. Unfortunately, I've not read any of these, so I can't be of help. Have a great vacation though! I can't wait to read about it.

  2. I've not read any of your picks but Divorce Islamic Style sounds very good. When do you head to Anguilla?

  3. Yay, more Anguila posts! I do enjoy your travel writing, madam.

    I don't think I've heard of any of those books, but I'm not so up on 20th/21st century fiction.


  4. Ah, yes. Vacation picks. I flip flop until the very last minute, literally switching books as I'm walking out the door!

    I'm curious about THE BELLWETHER REVIVALS and just got in UNINVITED GUESTS and THE BOOK OF MADNESS AND CURES, so I'd say take those along for sure. Have fun choosing!

  5. So excited to hear you are going on vacation again because that means a trip report is in store for your readers! If your Barbara Kingsolver selection happens to find itself left behind in Anguilla, let me know as we plan to be down there in two months! ;)

    May safe travels and wonderful memories lie ahead for you.


    p.s. Thanks again for The Fault in Our Stars review, I spent the best day ever reading it on SBW last March. It was like heaven on earth to read such a beautiful book on such a stunning stretch of beach.

  6. Oh, the options! I've been doing a good job this year of reading more books that I want to read rather than should read, and it has been quite rewarding (I recommend it!) but a good balance is always helpful. I hope you settle on an assortment you're happy with!

  7. I spend equal amounts of time packing my bag and filling my e-reader!
    I only take 1 or 2 physical books these days, relying on the the resort's bookshelves for books I wouldn't normally have picked myself. E-books are good, but sometimes can get boring and that makes you look up at the scenery more :)

    Dee from e-Volving Books


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