Wednesday, 10 December 2008

What do you take on a trip to read?

I'm back! By that I mean, our buses went on strike at midnight and I only take buses - neither my husband nor I drive; we had a major snowstorm yesterday and through the night, so my ride cancelled today, and I can't get to work; and the buses can only be legislated back to work by the federal government, who of course are suspended at the moment until Jan 27. What happens when things get difficult? I find my sense of humour again! Plus, I had lots of sleep - Sunday I ended sleeping for 2 hours in the afternoon - so I feel much better. All I can do is laugh, and count down the days until our trip and we are out of here!!!

Middlemarch Update: I think the excitement for our trip is reaching a crescendo because I find myself unable to concentrate on anything for long. I am still reading Middlemarch, but still have over half the book to go and am running out of time before we go. I'm on page 265, just ending Book 3. I do love it, I just can't seem to read for any length of time. I find myself thinking of what we still have to do, and mentally getting things sorted for packing - bring this, forget that, etc - and suddenly realize I'm staring at the page but not seeing it.

One of the many dilemmas facing me about what to bring is, of course, what books do I bring? So I thought I'd ask this question of you today: when you are going on a fairly long trip, what books do you bring? do you bring any? does size matter? Author? Kind of book? What do you bring with you on holiday?

So far, I have a shortlist of books I might be bringing, and my real question is, which one will make it on the airplane with me in my bag?
Susan's Shortlist
The Wood Wife - Terri Windling
In the Woods - Tara French
Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin
Stalin's Ghost - Martin Cruz Smith

Do I bring a book that I really really want to read, that I would be devastated if my luggage got lost? I usually try to pack so that if my baggage does go missing - and this has never happened before, so it's more a 'what if' scenario - I'm not heartbroken. Or do I bring books that are easily replaceable?

I'm going to a country where most of the books I love to read are published anyway, so I don't really have to bring many. I will be buying books in England, this is not even a question, and my husband is just pleading that our luggage isn't overweight by too much on the trip back. So, my real question I end up posing to myself is, do I bring many books with us? I need 2 or 3, just as a safety blanket in case I can't get to Charing Cross Road right away. My in-laws do not have any novels, only a few cookbooks and bird-watching books. The idea of being caught somewhere with some time available for reading, and not having a book to hand, gives me the chills. That would not be a holiday! I'd be more stressed without a book to read, than I would be by bringing too many and not reading any of them!

So if you see me gazing out into space and I'm not catching a quick nap, I'm musing on what to pack. Thus, the trials of life in Ottawa today (strike, suspended government, a foot of snow) recede into the background. 5 sleeps until we leave for England!

I also confess here, Gentle Reader, that I love to travel. I like airports, and train stations, and bus stations, cars packed to the top of the interior with luggage and supplies, cruise liners, anything that goes somewhere. Going someplace different, seeing new things, and revisiting family and friends in far away places - there is magic in travelling, the potential for anything to happen, wonder and surprise. I am so excited by the idea of getting out of Ottawa!! And then, that we are going to England, which I love
as much as I love Canada,and have family and friends waiting for us over there - I almost cannot wait for this trip to start! Postings here might be a bit scarce in the next few days as we get ready, but I will be back, as often as I can, and also while we are in England. I have a plan, but it all depends on my in-laws computer, so I won't say anything yet. I will try to keep getting to the Advent Blog Tour as often as I can also. I am really enjoying this advent tour, it is wonderful to meet so many new bloggers and from different countries, and see all the different ways we greet the holidays.

And I will post again before we go. I can't leave you hanging with the question of what books I might be bringing with me!!! So please do let me know how you approach books and travelling, dear Gentle Reader. I hereby confess that I do bring too many books with me, and I can't recall any trip I have ever taken where I read ALL the books I brought. Only a few times do I recall wondering why I pack so many,though!


Lezlie said...

I vote for Mistress of the Art of Death. I loved that book!


bigSIS said...

I'm not familiar with any of those titles at this moment...but they sound like books I'll be looking up! My rule is to never, ever bring a book that I'm not sure of. Why bring a book that will just sit cuz it doesn't grab you? U know? Ok...I like to bring sequels. I'm usually bursting to get the answers to the previous story so it's a definite read. I try for smaller editions, compared to hard cover, book club sized books. My mom often makes that mistake and we end up carrying her bags a lot! LOL I also need books that will forgive know, one that if you have to go back and reread, you know exactly what you were into??? Can't wait to hear what you're bringing! Enjoy your trip.

Care said...

I never take hardbacks (I mostly read tradebacks anyway) but paperbacks are fine and small and lighter to take. I also take books that I know I can leave there if I finish! This means I (sort of) give friends and family gifts as I leave my trail of books around the country. I actually do take books I want to read that have been hard to pat attention to. Maybe if I had 5 hours of airport time, I could really get through some of those chunksters - but those are usually too long and heavy for traveling so that violates my first sug! Do have a great trip!! I just got back from a 9 day tour of 6 states in the midwest - I got a lot of reading done. :)

Nymeth said...

Hmmm...I think I'd take only 2 or 3 books, and also, I'd plan to read short ones. When I have much less time for reading than normal I like sticking to short books, because they give me the illusion that I'm reading a lot still :P

I love travelling too, for reasons very similar to yours!

Nymeth said...

Oh, also, I vote The Wood Wife :P

Kailana said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! I will have to add yours to my bloglines. :)

Oh, and I am not married...

Debbie said...

I take the same thing for every holiday. the book I'm currently reading. The book I want to read next. An extra book,just in case. A cookbook and two magazines.
I've tried to vary this, but it always ends up the same.
DORK...that's what I am.

Jeane said...

I always pack too many books. Afraid I'll get bored with what I'm reading and not be able to find something else. Or that I'll change my mind of what I want to read next. Definitely I would take paperbacks along, and nothing I'd be devastated at loosing (I left a book in a rental car once and never saw it again).

Susan said...

Lezlie: everyone I know who read it, loved it! So I think I am going to take it. I'm just afraid of leaving it someplace; i'd have to replace it then!

bigSis: I really do want to read all of these, that's why I'm torn about bringing them, in case they do get lost, left behind, etc. I don't want to be bored by what I'm reading either. I think it's that I dont' want to drag them across the ocean and not read them, when if I left them here I could read them in January. What a delightful quandry, to read them now or not to!! lol and I always travel with softcover paperbacks now.

Care: a 9-day tour of six states! Whew! what kind of books can you read for those kinds of trips? I think I'd want Bridget Jones kind of books, easy and lite reading. i like the idea of a trail of books, it's just that my in-laws don't read so it wouldn't be a book that found a home if I left it behind by accident.

Nymeth: I am toying with bringing poetry, maybe Ted Hughes (its' fairly light) because anne Sexton's books is so heavy. I take paperbacks only, especially because I tend to come home with hardcovers!! lol I'm really hoping I can find some of Ted Hughes' early poetry books while over there. Among many, many other titles! And my husband just brought home the Wood Wife and I took a quick peek and it's top of the pile along with Mistress of the Art of Death....maybe I'll bring both on the plane....

Kailana: sorry, I meant to say 'special friend/significant other', not assume you were married. Though there was a sense of familiarity with that seafood exchange! lol

Debbie: I'm with you on everything but the cookbook! I already have magazines bought for each of us but the daughter :-D and I am choosing my books...I do pick two or three for the entire trip because I need to know there's one 'just in case'!!! I think we are all Dorks!

jeane: I'm with you, that's why I thought, hmm, flying to an English speaking country, can't I travel with just two or three and know that i will be buying more? But I really want to read all 4 titles!! then again, I know I will find more over there.....this is a much better decision to wrestle over than, say, reasons to hate our PM (they are growing by the day!) or worry that the bus strike means NO ONE will be here for our cat every night as we'd like.....

Chain Reader said...

I have trouble concentrating on much in December! When traveling, I usually bring way more books than I need since I don't know what mood I'll be in. But I usually don't travel by air where I should pack light or could lose the books. It sounds like you have a great list of ideas!

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, suspense author said...

I like to take fast-paced thrillers and mysteries when I travel. I like them because they keep me engaged and the trip seems far shorter if I read. Plus I usually find that if I have to put it away for a bit, I can usually pick up right where I left off.

Novels that are too "deep" make it hard to read during holiday or business travels. For me, any way. :)

I never worry about losing books. If needed, I can always buy another copy. I always leave books behind--on purpose. I leave any I have finished reading and I usually bring some of my own novels to leave anonymously to people as "Random Acts of Divineness", like I did when I was in Mexico last spring. :)

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

Bybee said...

I'd go with In The Woods -- I heard it's pretty gripping.

I'm trying not to be jealous. England seems like the perfect place to do Christmas.

Sue F. said...

I would definitely go with In The Woods...excellent story! However, today I just finished Sarah's Key and I have to say, it is one of the best books I have read this year!

I will be blogging about it tonight on my blog A Life of Books.

Ladytink_534 said...

My husband drives but I don't. Somehow I've avoided buses so far! I'm actually going on a two week trip next Friday (we're driving- 6 hours in a car is not something I look forward to every year- well too much anyway) so plan on bringing all my library books and a few others that I really should read before the month is out but I don't really have a concrete list. My mom has some books and I always come home with at least 20 more from my in-laws and friends whenever I leave.

I've heard that The Wood Wife & In the Woods are both really good.

Penelope said...

What a dilemma! I always face the same thing when I go on trips: Do I bring something interesting that will take my mind away, or something easy that will let me concentrate on the trip; do I want a romance novel, so I can romanticize in a fun, new location? Ugh, I've never been one for making decisions.

One thing I've started doing is not taking any books at all. I know it sounds crazy, but I like discovering new books when I go places. I usually find bookstores and see what's on display, to see what the people from the place I'm visiting are reading. I usually find great new books this way.

Hope that helps!

Memory said...

I can't travel without at least five books. I once had a terrible, horrible trip where I ran out of books and couldn't get to a bookstore. It was hell. Never again.

Even if you decide not to bring many books, you won't have a problem finding more in England. I was shocked at the number of bargain bookstores there were when I was there in April. So many cheap books!!! I had to restrain myself.

Anonymous said...

Definitely the Franklin for the plane, for me. The French is a better book, but takes rather more concentration and should be given time when you are fairly certain you're not going to disturbed or have half your mind on other things.

What a mess Canada appears to be in at the moment. It seems to have missed the news over here. Let's hope your holiday makes up for it.

Bookwormom said...

I'm days and days late for this, but if you've room you might consider taking the Terri Windling book with you. Her work is exquisite. Have you tried Ellen Datlow? She and Terri Windling often edit fantasy together?

Susan said...

Chain Reader: This is a first for me, to only bring 3 or 4 books! That's not counting the magazines though lol.....

cheryl: thanks for dropping by! I'll have to look some of your books up :-) easy and lite is what I need when actually travelling, as you say, because I have to be able to be interrupted and then pick the train of ideas/plot back up when I get back into the book again.I've given up on serious books on holidays!

bybee: I know. what to read first? as for being jealous....this is my first trip back in 7 years since moving back to Canada, and my husband has been back twice since! I was thinking of posting pictures as we go through the holidays, sort of a come along with me tour :-) of London and York. *sigh* just saying it makes me wish we were there already!!! I do wish you and I could meet there too. Except we'd have to rent a hotel room right by central London and they'd drag us out of the bookstores every night!!

Sue F: thanks for coming by! I'll come read your post - I'm a bit behind here with all the last minute stuff and packing still to do, and I think I've come across Sarah's Key somewhere else, so I'm curious what you have to say! There's always room for one more book in my bags!!

LadyTink: oh yes, coming home with books is so wonderful, isn't it? and yes, I've left with library books before, but because we're leaving Canada I wouldn't dare bring any library books overseas! I'm hoping to come home with a suitcase just for me filled with books - ooh, did I say that out loud? Shh!!

Penelope: you are a braver woman than I am. I could NEVER leave without a book. The few times (and they are few indeed) that I have been outside the house without a book, I swear my heart seized for a moment and I couldn't breathe....and travelling 3,000 miles? uh uh, if I found myself without a book, I'd be buying at least two airport books so I could have a choice on the plane, lol!!

Memory: You ran out of books....isn't that every bibliophile's real, secret nightmare, especially when we know there are so many good books out there waiting to be read? I love your line, 'It was hell.' LOL! that's why I'm only bringing 3 or 4 books, because England is filled with lovely, lovely bookstores!!!

Table Talk: I actually heard the word 'entrenched' used by the media over here, one of Jane Austen's favourite words in Persuasion, when the Elliots have to move to Bath! Our use was referring to the two sides in the bus transit strike, as in 'both sides are firmly entrenched and no new talks are planned'....thanks for the advice on the books, I'll keep that in mind in the next 36 hours before we go! I still haven't chosen. My fervent hope is my holiday makes me think of castles and books, sights and London and family and - where's Canada again? :-D

bookwormom: I know, Wood Wife is sneaking in there because I can't decide between the two mysteries! I've read alot of Datlow and Windling books and have most of their annual collections, which are amazing collections of fantasy and horror! I really love their fairy tales collections too. Have you read them?

Bookwormom said...

I've read quite a few of the Datlow & Windling annual compilations, but the only one I own is Snow White Blood Red.