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Four BOOKS TO PACK on Friday


Four BOOKS TO PACK on Friday
Yesterday, my friend and fellow blogger at SmartGirlsRead posted a meme from Good Reads about choosing which book to read next.  She commented how appropriate it was as she was trying to pick which books to pack for an upcoming trip.  As I am also getting ready to head out for Spring Break, I started to think about which books I was planning to pack.

I honestly think I spend more time choosing which books to pack than which clothes!  There are strict guidelines and criteria for every travel adventure and the books chosen must meet those standards.  I usually put out a pile of books on the bed and evaluate each: hardcovers are cumbersome and heavy in a carry-on, library books are ripe for getting left or lost, and ebooks . . . well, that is a completely different blog post!  Anyway, as I look at the stack, I realize that there are four main types of books that I pack for a trip.

The one I’m currently reading
This is the book that I intended to finish prior to the trip.  You know, the one that just has about 50 pages left and I am going to sit down and finish it as soon as I finish packing . . . folding laundry. . . cleaning out the fridge.  The one, despite my best intentions, does not get finished.  I can’t wait the three days, five days, or week until I get home to finish it!  Then I will be busy unpacking . . . doing laundry . . . restocking the fridge.  You get the picture.  It doesn’t matter how many pages are left; it has to get thrown into the carry-on bag and most likely will be completed in the waiting area before I even board the flight.

The one I can’t wait to read
This is the one I’ve been saving.  The one that I’ve put aside special for the trip.  The one whose anticipation gets me just as excited as the trip itself.  When I was young, my mom would purchase books for us whenever we traveled.  She quickly realized that I would read them before the trip, and she started to wrap them and they couldn’t be unwrapped until the vacation started.  For me, as soon as the car was backing out of the driveway, the spine would be cracked open and I would start reading.  The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree because I have to do the same with my own children!!  I often remember these books as I remember the trip:  California 1983 – Trixie Belden 12:  The Mystery of the Blinking Eye, New England 2009 – C. S. Harris’ What Angels Fear, Austin 2014 – Deborah Harkness’ The Book of Life.  See what I mean.

The one I’m not sure about reading
This is the book that involves a psychological game with myself.  This is the book on my shelf that either I am not sure that I want to read or that I am afraid to read.  For whatever reason – a new author, a major plot twist, an uncomfortable conflict – I am apprehensive about starting this book.  My thought is that if it is with me, I will be forced to try it.  I may like it, I may not; but I will try it because I have it with me and there are no other options.  This way, I have found books that I have loved and books that I have given 50 pages to and said forget it.  For some reason, books are easier to let go of without guilt when you are on vacation!

The one for the flight home
I very intentionally pick a book that I plan to read on the flight home.  It is almost always a fluff book that requires little to no brain-power, an author or plot-line that I know I will enjoy, and one that can be completed easily within the flight timeframe.  I know that when I get home, reality will hit me in the face and my reading time will become non-existent.  If I don’t finish the book on the trip home, it won’t get finished.  This is my detox downtime reading before the transition back to real-life.  These are my guilty pleasure books that will make me laugh-out-loud but won’t remember days later.

As an additional note, I usually budget a book a day.  I rarely complete that, but as you know, one must be ready for a zombie apocalypse . . . or a delayed flight . . . so it is best to be prepared!   Yes, this makes my suitcase heavy, and yes, I will sacrifice shoe space for books.

So, what kind of books to you pack for travel?




Today, let’s talk books.  Specifically where to get new ideas.  There are thousands of ways to get ideas for new books to read.  Friends give advice, some celebrity endorses it as part of his/her “book club,” your receipt from Barnes and Noble states “if you like this . . . , you might also like this . . .”  This last one always annoys me a bit; how can you understand my reading tastes based on this one purchase.  So what if I bought five Regency Era mysteries . . . it doesn’t mean anything.  And of course, it isn’t like I don’t already have a few a lot of books to read. But as I have told my husband numerous times, if there is a zombie invasion tomorrow and I can’t get to the bookstore, I need to be prepared.  Anyway, here are some of the ways I find new things to read.

Let me start by saying that I am not on Goodreads.  Okay, get your shock and horror out of the way.  I have been informed by many . . . including my daughter . . . of the utter travesty of this lack of participation.  In my defense, I have looked at Goodreads and intentionally opted NOT to participate.  I akin Goodreads to Pinterest.  You know what I am talking about.  It is like a vortex that sucks you in and you can’t ever escape.  I am sure that I would like it; I am sure that I would read about lots of new and interesting things; I am sure that I would feel compelled to make comments and lists and recommendations; and I am sure that I would never get out of my bathrobe for days!  However, if your willpower is greater than mine, go for it!

There are many places online that I do use to find books.  Book blogs are a great starting point . . . I happen to like one in particular!  A wonderful woman I met at a book signing has another great blog – SmartGirlsRead.  It is nice to see what different people think and I often find that reading commentary about a book that I was interested in will help convince me to either purchase or pass on the book.  I also enjoy authors’ websites and blogs, as they often give up-to-date information that allows me to get an inside view of their stories and the writing world.

These are some of the writer’s blogs I check out on daily basis:
CS Harris
Deanna Raybourn
Jungle Red Writers

Author’s Facebook Pages
Sticking with the online theme, I love to follow different authors on Facebook.  Their posts keep me updated on new releases and background information on a variety of different topics.  Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby series is set in Scotland and she is always posting fascinating facts and photos from Scotland.  They are beautiful; albeit a bit dangerous . . . as if I didn’t want to travel there enough!  Another great thing is that they often give away advanced reading copies!!  Squeak!  I have won two!  But the BEST part of author’s Facebook pages is that they support other authors and announce new releases by friends and colleagues.  I love reading a recommendation from an author I enjoy and have gotten hooked on many new authors as a result.  And . . . at the risk of going a little fan girl here . . . I have even been able to chat with a few of my favorites; it’s very exciting!!  If I could get them to follow my blog . . . well . . . mind blown!

Yes, I am an old-fashioned girl and I still receive some catalogues by mail.  Two of my favorite book catalogs are Bas Bleu and Chinaberry.  Sometimes I will order a book directly from them but often I just write down the titles for future reference.  Both catalogs are also available online.   I love reading the book descriptions; they go well beyond the plot lines and delve more into what makes each book unique.  I like that the catalogues don’t just focus on new releases.  Many times I discover books that have been out for years and are being re-released; they tell classic stories that aren’t officially “classics.”  Both catalogues also have great gift ideas for book lovers; I admit to having cut out pages and just casually leaving them around for my family to see.  Bas Bleu is mostly literature for adults; Chinaberry sells books for all ages.

All of these other ways are great, but truly my favorite way to find a new book or author is simply wandering through the bookstore.  I love to read the backs, note which authors I know and like make comments on the cover, admire the artwork, and check the publication dates to make sure I have determined which is the first in the series.  I tend to collect and pile up the books, prompting clerks to offer me baskets.  I usually go into a bookstore with a self-imposed approved purchase limit . . . then I give myself a few book leeway.  Once I have agonized, negotiated, and categorized my possible purchases, I make my choices.  Grudgingly, I put the ones that didn’t make the cut back on the shelf for another day. I love to mentally organize which book I will read first, which book I have at home that will have to be pushed back in the queue, and whether this book will be a nightstand, shelf, or purse book.  It is a very focused and serious strategy, and yes, I am a nerd, but . . . gosh, I love books!