Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Travel Tuesdays: Choosing Books to Bring

I'm back with a Travel Tuesdays post today. More guest bloggers will be appearing on future Tuesdays.

In the weeks leading up to a trip, one of my favorite rituals is the selection of books to bring. I know many of you are thinking I wouldn't need to choose books if I just used an e-reader. True enough. I could bring a boatload of books and even download more if I wanted. That's certainly convenient. It also makes selection much less important. But it takes away the intention that normally goes into my book selection. If I know I'll be away for several weeks and can only realistically fit 3 books in my bags, I think carefully about what books to bring.

And so, I start mulling over my choices roughly 1 1/2 to 2 weeks before I plan to leave. I love this phase. It forces me to consider my goals for the trip. Do I want to do informational reading? Read a book about the area I'll be in? Dig into a longer work I've been meaning to read? Read something less heavy? Perhaps I should bring a book I don't think I'll want to keep when I finish so I can leave it for another traveler to enjoy?

Sometimes I already know the answers to these questions as I begin scanning. Other times, I realize how I feel as I read a book jacket.  I start by scanning my bookshelves for titles I've been meaning to read. Any title that jumps out at me goes in a pile. Then I sit down and review the titles I selected. Maybe I'll read the back, look at the blurbs, or read the first few pages. That usually leaves me with a stack of 6 - 9 titles.

Which brings me to the titles currently in my stack:
A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey by Robert V. Camuto

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
A Woman's Path: Women's Best Spiritual Travel Writing Ed by Lucy McCauley, Amy G. Carlson, and Jenifer Leo 

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I need to narrow this down to maybe three titles. I'm already feeling like Natural History of the Senses (How have I not read this book, yet?) has to be one of my choices but I don't know what else I'll choose. 

What do you think? Have you read any of these books? Do you have suggestions?

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  1. When I travel I love to read books that have some connection to the place I'm visiting -- historical, geographical, meeting a character with some connection to the place.
    Something that comes to mind as a suggestion is Louis de Berniere's Captain Corelli's Mandolin -- fiction, but historical (WW ll). I think most of the novel takes place in Greece, but Cptn Corelli himself is Italian and a character worth getting to know.

    Have you read An Equal Music by Vikram Seth? I recall some of it taking place in Venice.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions, Andrea.

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