As all devoted readers know, the most important part of packing for a trip is figuring out what books to bring along. Sometimes this is easy, sometimes it’s agonizing. For most trips, I rule out hardcovers just based on weight; that leaves paperbacks, and now e-books as well.
Here’s the shortlist. Not that I’ll read all of these in a week, but I have a terror of running out.
Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
Bloom’s Literary Guide to Paris by Mike Gerrard
Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman
The Carriage House by Louisa Hall
The Princess Bride by William Goldman*
The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Paris Was the Place by Susan Conley
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield
*These two are more for my travel companion, but I’m not above stealing them to re-read them if I run out of other books. Which seems unlikely, as I will have more books than days on the trip. But still.
Where to begin? I think I’m most excited about Rose Under Fire, as it’s a companion to Code Name Verity, which I read recently and flat-out adored. Bloom’s Literary Guide to Paris, The Sweet Life in Paris, and Paris Was the Place are all particularly relevant given our destination. Born Weird was a gift from a close friend who knows exactly how much I love All My Friends Are Superheroes (by the same author), and who told me it’s a quick read, so that moves it up in the queue as well. And, I just finished Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and am ready to be enthralled by her again.
Should I burn through all of those, I’ll still have appealing choices left: The Carriage House came highly recommended to me from a friend in the publishing industry whose reading taste I trust wholeheartedly. Turn Around Bright Eyes comes on the heels of Love Is A Mix Tape and Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, a blend of music and memoir that remind me of another Rob – the character in Nick Horby’s High Fidelity. The Shining Girls has gotten some good buzz, and the premise of a time-traveling serial killer is certainly intriguing. White Tiger has been on my to-read list for some time, and I can always re-read The Princess Bride or Harry Potter. Finally, there’s Mansfield Park, although in a way it’s comforting to know that there’s still one Austen book I haven’t read.
The real difficulty of the trip may be putting down the books and doing something else.