My best friend and I have a running bit about packing for vacation. Whenever one of us asks how many books to pack, the other says to keep adding books until you’re physically unable to lift your suitcase. We say this in jest, but there is an embarrassing degree of truth to our approach.
Every time I go on vacation, I end up lugging way too many books along and still neglect to bring that perfect combination of genres to satiate my literary appetite on any given day. But not this time. This time I have a plan. This time I’m making a list of bookish packing guidelines guaranteed to work for any vacation.
3. Stick with what you know. Bring books by authors you already love. This is a great way to ensure you’ll enjoy the books you’re bringing and to avoid wasting space on a dud. Loved SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN? Throw THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE in your bag.
Ann Patchett’s deep research and lush worlds are nowhere more evident than in this novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice. Set in the Amazon, where pharmaceutical researcher Marina Singh investigates the enigmatic Dr. Annick Swenson, whose mysterious research is being jealously guarded in the most remote areas of the rainforest.
8. Match your destination. Be it the beach, the mountains, or a magnificent European city, it can be really fun to read a book set where you’re vacationing. It may also teach you more about the history of the place you’re touring. I’m sure reading BEAUTIFUL RUINS in Cinque Terre is a magical experience.
Hailed by critics, loved by readers of literary and historical fiction, and featuring what is arguably one of the most iconic covers of recent years, Beautiful Ruins is the story of an almost-love affair that begins on a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline in 1962. Funny and romantic, the beauty and wisdom of Jess Walter’s writing in the last chapter alone will leave musical lines of prose engraved in your memory.
If your favorite character is Nancy Wheeler
If you’re a Nancy supporter at the end, you loathe a “traditional female character.” You appreciate Nancy for being a natural gunslinger, choosing the thick-haired hottie over the greasy paparazzo, and not letting her grandma-closet-raiding friend slut-shame her. THE NIX follows a whole gaggle of odd characters but centers on the mystery of a woman who is an intellectual, mother, student, daughter, protestor, lover, and—most of all—recluse.
10. When in doubt, load up an e-reader with any other books you just couldn’t resist packing. This is a sure-fire way to make sure you never run out things to read without punishing your back. You should probably download DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY. I just read the e-book and it’s incredible.
Safe travels and happy reading!
DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY asks how one goes on after the worst happens. This tender novel shows how we are all connected and how that very connection is the basis for redemption and hope. We won’t lie; you might need Kleenex for this one.