Where are my people who feel compelled to bring a library with them?
I hated the stand-alone kindle too, but I like the phone version. Before I used the kindle app, I used to bring four or five books on every trip too.
You are not alone. I used to travel for work, before the days of wifi on 'planes. I'm also not a 'plane sleeper as I have to make sure it stays in the air and if I go to sleep it will plummet immediately to earth. So, lots of reading on those 12 hour flights back and forth from UK to Hong Kong, Singapore or Malaysia. I always had two books per flight. A book in the airport lounge is a good way of stopping people wanting to talk (I travelled alone, a lot), and same on the flight. In the lounge something light - too engrossing and I might miss the call. On the plane something deeply immersive so I could ignore everything around me as much as possible - except the route to the emergency exit. For a four day trip I'd have two more books in the baggage.
Reading this was like a warm hug. I love the idea of leaving one behind with a note!
Just returned from a 3 week trip to Maine, and I could have used your advice before I collected a random assortment of books into shopping bags and stuck them in the car! No matter, I'll add one idea to your recommendations. Husband and I are pursuing visits of presidential houses, so we pick up a biography at each one we tour. On this trip, we made it to Quincy, MA, so I started reading David McCullough's bio, which was a great companion to sitting by the lake. We also made it to Campobello, so now we are proud owners of GE Smith's FDR.
I had no idea about the new Percival Everett! Now I have a reason to live!
Two Dollar Radio publishes the prefect books for travel given their small format, and has been one of my favorite publishers since they launched!
I always take physical books with me, this summer on a ten-day trip to the Caribbean I took eight (and still had to stop at a bookstore for replenishment).
I brought one per day plus two….because…you never know…and I made my husband promise that I could buy more if I needed!
When traveling out of the country I thought about what I might leave that would surprise/delight/educate.
When traveling with companions we often coordinated so that the cumulative load was distributed. (My friends are all readers).
I must admit though, I went to a kindle. My husband in particular is most appreciative.
Always bring books, find local bookstores and must buy something each. Enjoy looking for works set on the locale. E-books are workable.
Hi John, It's Diane Horban from NBJH. Loved your article about traveling with books. I too tried reading on a Kindle and it wasn't for me. I often look back for details and a physical book helps me locate the page. On a device, I don't have the physicality to locate the information. It's comforting at the end of the day when traveling to bring out the comfort of a good book. I'm bringing a Louise Penny book with Inspector Gamache on my next trip. Thanks for expounding on this important topic.
From reading this page I think I am the only one of your readers who treasures her Kindle. I bought one of the first ones available before Oprah recommended it. Questioning if I would like it or not, I took the plunge. After buying five to six paperbacks for every trip and leaving them on planes, trains, and hotel rooms, I hoped my investment would pay off. It did. I have Colson Whitehead locked and loaded for my trip to Paris, along with my summer 'lite" reading of War and Peace. And about seven others. Thanks for Percival Everett. Your feelings on kindle align with my feelings on audio books. Tried and tried and tried, nope. How do you rewind to a passage you liked, or review the list of characters? At least with a kindle I can bookmark and highlight. Oh, and the joys of the dictionary!
Enjoy your travels!
My own reading habits have evolved a lot as technology has made more and more things possible. I used to read exclusively paper books, but I'd read articles online, etc. I am at the point now where I enjoy reading from a bigger screen like my laptop, and I do a fair amount of that every day, mostly shorter form stuff like Substack pieces, articles, news, etc.
I really, really love audiobooks. It took me years to convince myself that listening to a book is okay, and there are still some reads where paper is preferred, but those are fewer and further between today. I became a convert by listening exclusively to nonfiction, and that was enough.
I'm in the e-reader camp. When I was 20 (before e-readers were an option) I spent a summer in Fairbanks, I had one of those enormous suitcases that we used to take on trips and it was mostly full of books. 27 books turned out to be too few, but the BLM office had the entire Sackett series and many other westerns. I finished those and was left with nothing to read on the way home. So when I had the opportunity to travel with essentially limitless reading I jumped on the Nook to go with my educator discount at B&N
Some people agonize over what clothes to pack. I spend hours on what books to pack. I now have a kindle and use it as my back up. Handy when I'm reading a night and don't want to disturb my companion or (horrors) run out of physical books. But still prefer actual books. A new Percival Everett!! So excited. I've left my finished books all over but never thought of writing a note. I love buying from local bookstores and have thrown away clothing to have room for my purchases. I still have and treasure a book of poetry I bought from a used bookstore in San Francisco. Have fun on your trip.
I tend to bring a few non-fiction books I want to read, magazines, and one lighter read (plus a kindle!) In the past when I traveled more, I LOVED picking up fiction books at hostels for free and leaving them in another place. I read some great classic books that way!
One of my proudest parenting accomplishments (though maybe it is just genetics) is that my child, now a teen, is also a huge reader - so our combined books for vacations is a sight to behold! She's still mostly into YA, I look forward to the day when our reads overlap and the pile can thus be smaller.
I am in your people in this respect, but your people are getting older and the price of bringing a lot of books is getting harder to handle. That said, if I'm going somewhere on a plane or somewhere longer than an overnight, I'm bringing multiple books and the Kindle.
I also deeply love eating out or going to a bar when travelling by myself with a book in hand. That was one of the better threads on Twitter before the Muskolypse--there was a reviewer who said "what sort of ridiculous fool takes a book to a bar" and he got ratio'd as brutally as anyone in the history of the platform.