Thursday, June 19, 2014

What are you reading on your summer vacation?

It's the eve of our annual beach trip to Ponte Vedra, FL, and I'm wrestling with all the possible choices of books to bring.  We have taken this trip for the last nine years, and every year I bring way too many books.  I pack as though I'm going for six weeks, when in fact I'm going for six days.  I always fantasize about spending long hours under a tent, reading 500 or 600 pages in an afternoon--probably would be hard for me to do, since I read 30-40 pages an hour on average.  It's also much hotter on the beach than I remember when planning at home, so I rarely want to spend long stretches out of the water, which means I spend lots of time in the water, and thus not reading on the beach.  So much for 600 pages.

Still, even knowing that I'm likely to bring too many books, I always feel like I'm going to get to the beach and suddenly have a powerful urge to read the last book I decided to leave at home.  In this age of instant gratification, the danger is that, in my impatience to read it (six whole days!  how could I make it that long?!), I'd download a book I already own on my Kindle.  Not a good spending strategy. 

I've decided definitely to bring two books Henry James.  Not exactly vacation reading, but reading I want to get done nonetheless.  But what about actual vacation reading?  I've got the Kindle loaded up with options, and I'm leaning towards finishing Lauren Owen's novel The Quick.  I also borrowed from the e-library Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle, and have made a start on it.  I also want to bring a few more  physical books:  I like them for my 20 minutes of daily beach reading.  I'm thinking about adding a John Le Carre novel, and maybe the final book in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Regardless of what I decide tonight, though, I'll inevitably cram a last-minute inspiration into my bag tomorrow as I'm walking out the door.

So what are you reading on vacation, and how do you decide which books to pack?

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