The serious countdown has begun to a family trip in early June, and it’s quite telling to check out each family member’s vacation obsessions:
My husband can’t stop talking about power converters and adaptors… except when he’s focused on SIM cards, calling plans, and whether our GPS will work at our destination. (Quick answer: It won’t.)
My son has asked about five times so far if he can bring his boogie board. And we have yet to get a decent answer from the airline about whether we can, in fact, check it through without spending the equivalent of a pile of gold ingots.
(Sadly, my son does not seem so worried about whether his math textbook or any other books will fit in his soon-to-be stuffed suitcase. I wonder why.)
Me? It’s obvious, isn’t it?
I’m obsessing over my reading choices.
Sure, I spent the day yesterday frantically driving to shops and malls in search of a swimsuit that fits (ugh), a decent beach cover-up, and an outfit for the family party I just heard about that should be nice, not too dressy, but reasonably able to hold up to packing. But all that is secondary.
I’ll be traveling for almost three weeks. What to do about books?
Thank heavens and the universe and the powers that be and all of nature for the advent of e-books! Remember those ancient olden days, when you had to pack enough books to last your entire trip, and then throw in another 3 or 4 “just in case”? Because the gods forbid that you run out of reading material before you get home! (This happened to me once on a plane, where I’d read a book too quickly and then had two hours to go of just staring out the windows and reading in-flight magazines. Oh, the trauma!)
On my upcoming trip, we’ll be spending a lot of daytime hours at the beach. My kid and husband and various other family members will mostly be in the water. Sure, I’ll join them… for a bit, and then go back to my beach chair and umbrella and sit down to read. Kindles and beaches are probably a bad combination, though — I don’t think my handy little e-reader will be a fan of sunscreen, sand, and salt water. So, some paper books will need to come along, too.
What to read? Well, I’ve been meaning to re-read some older favorites this year, so I think my battered old copies of Rebecca and To Kill A Mockingbird might be great for beach time. Then again, because it’ll be noisy and hectic and I’ll be constantly distracted, maybe a book of short stories might be a good choice. I still haven’t read my copy of Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things, so now might be the time.
Less planning is required for my e-reading adventures. But do I continue trying to catch up with all the ARCs and upcoming new releases that seem to be constantly forming a logjam on my device — or take a break from so-called obligations, and use my vacation time to read whatever happens to suit my mood at the time?
And then there’s the biggest bookish issue of all for me: The book I’ve been waiting for for years is coming out in June — and I’ll be away. Book #8 in the Outlander series, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, will be released on June 10th. I have it preordered for my Kindle, and assuming the wifi where we’re staying works as promised (which may be an overly optimistic assumption), I should be able to download it that morning and dig in. BUT… well, I am on a family vacation and all, and maybe should focus on family? If I allow myself to start the book I’ve been dying for, will I actually want to do anything else at all until I get through all 1,000 pages? (Correction: Amazon lists it at 848 pages — that’s practically tiny, compared to some of the others in the series!) I suppose I should at least consider holding off on reading the book until the flight home… but I think I may literally shrivel up and die (yes, literally! I swear it!) if I have to wait one more day than necessary for this book! Plus, then there’s the issue of being careful online to avoid spoilers, and that just never works out for me. What to do, what to do?
I haven’t even solved the big question of what to read on our flight on the way there in two weeks, when I’ll have about 10 or so hours to fill. (I suck at sleeping on airplanes. Good books are essential.)
I’m spending more time than is probably necessary looking over my Kindle contents, then standing in front of my bookshelves staring at all the books I haven’t read yet. What will get me through the flights? What have I been wanting to read when I have more time? What would be a fun way to spend my reading hours away from home?
I don’t have any answers yet, but hey — I still have two weeks to obsess about it!
Meanwhile, I just learned that sunscreen expires after three years, so off I go to see what’s still usable and what needs to be replaced. Vacations are exhausting… and I’m not even there yet!
How about you? Do you obsess over your vacation reading? What’s your approach toward deciding what books to bring on trips? If you have any tips for me, please share!
I’ll just be sitting here figuring out how many more books I can put in my suitcase before I start going over the weight limit…