Bookish Confessions: Vacation Obsessions

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…



Bookish Confessions: I buy books AFTER I’ve read them.

It’s not as bad as it sounds, really.

It’s not like buying a fancy dress, wearing it to prom, and then returning it after the weekend.

Nope. It’s actually much more innocuous than that.

Especially since I started blogging, I’ve become much more careful about spending my precious book dollars. The more I read, the more I’m tempted to buy… but because I read so damn much, my piggy bank could end up empty if I’m not careful!

book order pic

I’ve always been a library fan, and now I get totally excited when I get approved for an ARC that I really, really want to read. BUT — the problem arises when I read a book and end up loving it, and then I start feeling all mournful about the fact that I don’t have a nice copy of my new love sitting on my shelf, where I can pull it out and admire it, or just say hi when I walk by.

(Do I have an unhealthy relationship with my books? That’s a topic for another day.)

Book quote plato

So lately, I’ve mostly been reading borrowed books or ARCs… but then I end up falling in love, or else realize that the finished book is so gosh-darn pretty, or just can’t handle the fact that the book I just cried or laughed over lives on my Kindle, so it’s hard to pick up and hug.

Case(s) in point:

I fell in love with The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin — and couldn’t rest until I’d spent my Amazon gift card on a hardcover of my own.

I read an ARC of The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore, and really was feeling pretty satisfied about the whole thing… until my friend showed me her hardcover, with its maps and red letters and blue edges… and well, I was a goner. Bought. Done. On my shelf.

Is it a bit silly to buy a book I’ve already read? Well, maybe. Will I ever read it again? Why exactly do I need it on my shelf?

Well, it makes me happy. And yes, some I will read again. But mostly, it just warms my heart to know that the books I love are living in my house where I can see them whenever I want to.

*Humming with happiness* Why, hello there, Outlander. How’s your day going, Gone With The Wind? Wassup, The Sparrow? (Yes, my family does think I’m weird, to put it mildly.)

What about you? Do you have any odd habits when it comes to buying books? Do you ever buy books you’ve already read?

Share your bookish confessions in the comments!

Bookish Confessions: What would you give up for a bit more time to read?

When it comes to priorities, reading is right up there at the top of my list (along with food, shelter, and hugs).

I can and often do give up sleep (desperately needed, I might add) for the sake of another half-hour… or hour… or two of reading time.

Several years ago on a family camping trip, my son informed me that I didn’t know how to have fun — because while he and my husband were going out on the lake in a motorboat for an hour, I decided to stay on the lakeshore with a book and a blanket, and had a wonderful time reading in the sun instead.

Reading_woman_2 quote

Last week, I’d planned to go to a group exercise class on my lunch break… then skipped it when I realized I could put that time to better use finishing the book I was reading.

And over the weekend, my husband and daughter invited me to join them for a movie on cable… and I declined, because I’d been planning to read my book for an hour or so.

So, yes, I’m guilty of ducking out of exercise AND family time for the sake of reading.

book quote

How about you?

What have you skipped for the sake of more time to read? Share your bookish confessions in the comments!