Ready to read… any suggestions?

TRACEE: I know, I know. Everyone’s TBR pile is a mile high – as is mine. Sometimes I need a nudge toward ‘clearing’ it. And…. I’m not adverse to reading something straight from the store before it hits the pile.  I’m packing for an Ocean voyage to be followed by a few months in Europe. This means I need to decide what to take to read (while I read in other languages, it’s not the same, so the main reading plan will involve English language books).   There are a few books that I haven’t read for one reason or another, including The Nightingale, although I’ve had a dozen people tell me it have to! While traveling I like to revisit old favorites – particularly handy in a travel emergency where you aren’t sure if you are going or staying and can’t quite concentrate. For this I may take Shogun. But it’s a toss up with Lonesome Dove If anyone wants to point me in the right direction this is the moment. Send me your reading favorites! SUSAN: Safe travels, Tracee! Seeing Lonesome Dove and Shogun makes me think of James Michener, and I wonder how he holds up. Also The Thorn Birds. I loved The Nightingale. I read it on a trip to England and I picked it up when we took off and was still reading it when we landed. Just an incredible book. I also like to read books about the country that I’m visiting, so when I went to India I read Vikram Seth’s book, Two Lives, which is a memoir that brings together an Indian love story and the Holocaust. I also find anything by Karin Slaughter grabs my attention. PAULA:When I travel, I like to take nonfiction and fiction. The nonfiction tends to be about writing or yoga or poetry, or, as in the case of te book I took along on my last trip, all three: The Great Spring: Writing, Zen, and This Zigzag Life, by Natalie Goldberg. If you haven’t read Goldberg, start with Writing Down the Bones. It’s a classic.As for fiction: I have a lot of ebooks loaded on my iPad. If I’ll be on the road awhile, I start a new series and read them in order. I read Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway novels this way. They’re fabulous. I also take a Jack Reacher paperback with me. I’ve read all of Lee Childs’ Reacher novels, and collect them in most all formats: ebooks, paperback, and hardcover. I like to reread them for character and action–and because they are guaranteed to distract me from the annoyances and anxieties of travel. TRACEE: I can’t agree more about the Reacher novels. There’s something about them while traveling! ALEXIA: I bring paperback books (1 or 2) that I won’t mind leaving behind when I’m done with them. I think of it as gifting it to the next traveler. Agatha Christie and Rex Stout are travel favorites. I just read my first Brother Cadfael, and loved it, so he goes on the list. After that I choose something from my TBR pile that’s small enough to slip into a large purse/tote bag. Sometimes I leave my reading choice to fate–and Hudson Booksellers–and choose something from the airport. I actually found one of my all-time favorite books that way–Han Solo at Stars End.P.S. Don’t the Cunard ships have libraries?  ROBIN: I’m like Alexia, if I travel with physical books, I leave them behind in hotel rooms when I finish them. That’s where I tuck tips for hotel maids. The number of physical books I bring depends on where I’m going and why. If it’s business or city travel and the hotel room has a safe, I’ll bring my Kindle, too. If I’m going somewhere with a beach or pool, I leave the Kindle at home and bring only physical books. The number of books depends on the duration of the trip. I’m also a sucker for Hudson Booksellers so I leave room in carry-on luggage for last minute impulse purchases. Funny that Susan brought up Michener – I read Hawaiithe first time I went to Kauai. It didn’t occur to me until just now that I do that sometimes, read fiction relevant to where I’m going. I discovered Cara Black before one of my trips to Paris. I read Joe Finder’s The Fixer on a trip to Boston and then read Paranoia on my way home. Living near San Francisco, I read a bunch of local contemporary authors and several classics like Jack London, Dashiell Hammett, Jack Kerouac, and John Steinbeck. Tracee, my parents used to love cruise ships. They would pack one suitcase dedicated to carrying their books. Usually Cold War spy novels and history for my dad, biographies and rom-com’s for my mom. Have a great trip! MICHELE: One of my favorite things about traveling is deciding which books to pack. Honestly, forget clothes and cosmetics. It’s all about what I will read, how I will write. Books, notebooks, pens, post-its, and highlighters go in the bag first. But which books to bring depends on where I am going and for how long. When I go to St. John or Mexico in the winter, I’ll pack hardcovers, paperbacks, and my Kindle Paperwhite. Titles depend. I save books for occasions like trips. I will read the latest Elizabeth George when I’m on a longer trip because her books are quite lengthy. I started Donna Tart’s The Secret History after loving The Goldfinch, but quickly realized it was too intense to read in little gulps. Sometimes I pack something light and delicious for the plane/beach.  I have a quick trip to St. John coming up. I’ll be taking Paula’s A Borrowing of Bonesand Alison’s Blessed Be the Wickedwith me. When I return, I have to dig into The Dublinersfor a course I signed up for. Happy trails, Tracee. I envy your trip and all those books you’ll get to read. TRACEE: Love all of your suggestions. I should have mentioned the 8,000 volume library shipboard which will provide over two weeks of reading material. I won’t see a single airport, which means I won’t have the joy of the airport bookstore. Although that means I could lug around heavy suitcases for months without worrying about weight allowances, I have decided I’ll use my e-reader. That way I can have a huge assortment of old favorites and new selections available at all times!  ALISON: I love the idea of browsing a library while crossing the Atlantic by ship (Tracee, please send pictures!) and packing books for winter in St. John or Mexico (Michele, what a life!). Back in the pre-Kindle/pre-smart phone days, I always packed Austen and/or Bronte when I travelled because I just love the stories. The writing is beautiful, the characters delicious, and I could rely on relatively happy endings. Now that I can bring an almost infinite number of books with me on my Kindle app, I try to make sure I have a balance of a few books in the mystery/suspense genre (Robert Galbraith springs to mind, Elizabeth George always, Linda Castillo), fiction outside my comfort zone recommended by friends , and then some non-fiction simply because it interests me. Right now, I find my knowledge of Chinese history appallingly thin, so I’m going to find a good primer for my trip to Nashville next week. Happy reading, everyone! TRACEE: Thanks everyone! I’ve been taking notes and my final reading list is coming together! Now I need to remember to pack clothes.

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