Decisions, Decisions: Packing for Vacation Reading

I'm spending two and a half weeks in this lovely place, with one main agenda item: read, read, read. I have internet, but the connection is limited, and while the family will be doing some serious snorkeling, I have issues with breathing underwater (namely that it makes me freak out) so I'll have several days to bask in the glory of a quiet house with a view of the ocean.

Great Camanoe, British Virgin Islands

Which means that when I packed for the trip, I put some serious thought into which books would be coming with me--especially given the strict weight limits for luggage, given the six-seater plane we had to take to get to our final destination (which, like snorkeling, didn't go well for me).

On unpacking my bag on arrival, I realized my book selections fell into a few key vacation reading categories:

I have read exactly zero books for the Classics Club so far in 2014, and vacation seemed as good a time as any to start. I've had Moby Dick on my to-read list for what feels like ages, and I'm still trying to read all of Hemingway's works, even though I didn't manage to do it before I turned 26.

As a reviewer, I often fall behind in recent releases that I don't manage to pick up before publication date. These are just a few of those titles, but they all look so wonderful in different ways. And Land of Love and Drowning is set in the Virgin Islands, so should make for some awesome themed reading as well.

Like recent releases, I'm hoping vacation can be a chance to catch up on some books that have lingered on my to-be-read stack for an inappropriately long time. It's a mixed bag here, but I'm hoping for some gems.


Of course I also came down with a Nook loaded with galleys, e-books, and other options, but the ones above are the ones highest on my list. I won't get to them all (never do), but I've got high hopes... and lots of sunshine.

What kinds of books do you bring on vacation?


  1. Emily@Asthe Crowe FliesJuly 21, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    I don't know which I'm more jealous of--that you're on Great Camanoe or that you have a week (or more?) in front of you to so ALL THE READING. I love the BVI, and though I've boated right on by Great Camanoe, I've never step foot on it. You must share more info once you're back home!

    I agree that you should read Land of Love and Drowning to soak up the atmosphere while you're there. It's more set in the USVI, but there are hefty chunks set on Anegada.

    I bring mostly literary books with my on vacation, with doses of YA and maybe a genre book or two.

  2. Looks like you have some great choices! And that view is gorgeous. Have a great trip!

    I'm going on vacation at the end of the week, and my vacation book stack is mostly upcoming galleys from BEA plus How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky and Lookaway, Lookaway. I pulled the books that seem like the most "fun" to read, in that they're quirky, thrilling, or super engaging.

  3. Unruly Places! The Sparrow! You have some good stuff, and I'm pea green with envy that you get to spend so much time in such a beautiful locale!

  4. Emma @ Words And PeaceJuly 21, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    great books! I loved The Sparrow! During my last vacation, I was good enough, lol, and brought only The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, which was in process, and another one I had scheduled for a book tour

  5. Thanks! I'm never good about packing books for vacation--always overpack. I'm so impressed you managed to go anywhere with just two! I barely go to the grocery store with less than 2 books.

  6. Thanks! It's definitely hard to beat the view. I'm making the most of funemployment before starting a new job.

  7. I'm really enjoying How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky so far, and I loved Lookaway, Lookaway--alternatingly emotional and hilarious, and really well-done. I think you're on point with the super-engaging approach... I've only made it three pages into Moby Dick so far :-)

  8. Yeah we are right by a mooring spot (to the left of the view is Scrub Island resort, to the right is Pusser's, if you know where that is). My mom just did a boat charter down here and said it was amazing--maybe someday I'll explore by boat!

    I haven't started Land of Love and Drowning yet but it's next up. And I think breaking up heavier literary books with some YA is smart--kind of like a refresher.

  9. I bring as many books as possible on vacation, on the principle that you never know what you're going to be in the mood for until you're there. It looks like you have an excellent and varied selection! I applaud the instinct to read Moby Dick, and I urge you to skip/skim the parts that are boring about whales. Seriously. You will love the book so much better if you do that. It is like skimming the Waterloo bits of Les Mis -- just a good idea for self-preservation.

    Enjoy The Sparrow! That seems like the perfect vacation read, to me. And have a wonderful time!

  10. In October, I will be traveling overseas for the first time. I'll be spending a month traveling around the United States and decided to read some of the 'Great American Novels'. I've planned to read three books: Moby Dick, The Adventures of Augie March, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Plus I'll leave some room (hopefully) for some book shopping.

  11. Ok, I want to real ALL of your "Recent Releases" picks. They look fantastic.

    I hope you have a great vacation! And read a lot. I just finished my "staycation" and I'm regretting the lack of reading... I had such higher hopes, lol.

  12. I agree about never knowing what you're in the mood for (which is 95% of the reason I love my e-reader... I can bring SO MANY books with me anywhere I go!). Thanks for the tips on Moby Dick.

  13. Sounds like an amazing trip! There are tons of awesome, unique indie bookstores around, depending on where you're going, so definitely leave room for some book shopping. I love the three novels you've picked (though I've only read Huckleberry Finn myself--Moby Dick is in my stack as I type). Happy travels!

  14. Oh I know that feeling. I tend to have eyes bigger than my... stomach? when it comes to reading vacations/staycations. Hopefully you got at least a bit of reading in, though!

  15. I picked this book up at your recommendation and it's probably one of my favorites that I've read this year. I feel like I need to ruminate on it for the next ten years.

  16. Kill me if you want, but I brought my own books on vacation, because I'm working on the 13th volume of a mystery series, and I nee dot be sure it connects correctly with the previous two. Murder in Mexico is my series of twelve mysteries set in and around the upscale expat colony of San Miguel de Allende. Artist Paul Zacher is drawn into crime investigation because ‘he might see things differently.’ Maybe it’s time for the rich humanity of Mexico to show through all the narco headlines! Ready for the real Mexico, beyond the phony news reports? Take a look at this suspenseful and often funny series, available in Print, Kindle,
    Nook, Kobo, and iBook in the Apple Store. Start with ‘Twenty Centavos’ by
    trying a sample on my website.

  17. I LOVE picking vacation books! The Sparrow and Case Histories are both fantastic. I actually just packed the sequel to Case Histories for my upcoming trip.


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