After finding out in early March that we were expecting our first child, the husband and I knew we needed to squeeze in one final vacation before our travels were put aside for a few months to care for our little lady. My husband really wanted to spend a week at a couple of all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, so I made our arrangements and we headed south in mid-June. I have been very lucky with a healthy, active, and happy pregnancy, but I am not ashamed to admit how much I was looking forward to embracing my inner sloth and lounging for a few days with books and a Caribbean view. And lounge I did...I am not kidding when I say this is just about all we did on this vacation. (We are normally active vacation people, so this level of laziness is a huge deal for us.)
Areas I Lounged Around, Book in my Hand...
Breakfast. Read. Shower. Lunch. Read. Nap. Read/word puzzles. Dinner. Scrabble. Sleep.
Our vacation routine was lively, people.
I completed The Next Best Thing, Me Before You, and An Untamed State during our week-long stay in Mexico, while also dipping in and out of the intense I Am Pilgrim. I started The Girl on the Train during the flight home and finished it after settling back into reality.
Click on the book covers to learn more.
If you're a bibliophile like me, packing books for vacation can be a daunting task - particularly if you prefer traveling with print books instead of one of those flashy, newfangled e-readers. (I own one, and love it, but don't take it on resort vacations.) I have taken to posting my options online so my book group can help me decide or spreading the books out on the bed and letting my husband voice his opinion on my intended reading material. Weight, size of books, number of books, and content are all things to consider, especially if you're a packing hero traveling with a carry-on only. (This is something I will contend with on our upcoming vacation, and I am already stressed out about it.)
My vacation reading primarily happens while en route to our vacation destination and on the return trip home - my husband and I are not ones to lie on the beach or next to a pool, and I am usually too sleepy on vacation evenings to read before bed. (Although at home I usually read each night before bed!) We prefer to be active, particularly on cruise ships where so many fun activities happen all day, but have recently discovered the bliss of relaxing poolside at an all-inclusive resort.
For our November 2013 cruise on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, I knew we would be relaxing by the pool quite a bit, so I tossed two library books into my suitcase. I plowed through Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (lots of fun) and then started The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb (too depressing to read while listening to steel drums). Wally Lamb tells good stories, but after a couple of his books on vacation, I know I won't be packing another one in the future.
On our recent visit to an all-inclusive in Riviera Maya, Mexico I packed the first book in the Game of Thrones series, thinking I would become completely engulfed by the fantasy world of George R.R. Martin before beginning the critically-acclaimed HBO television series with my husband. Nope. While the book is incredibly well written, I spent most of that vacation staring at the Caribbean Sea trying to decompress from months of working long hours. This was our first vacation together with substantial time spent relaxing, and I probably would have read much more if I had packed something a tad lighter. I plan on finishing this one at home...eventually. Okay, what I mean is that I plan on watching the tv series soon.
My husband reads only occasionally but had his nose buried in a book for most of this vacation, so consider this is an honest-to-goodness endorsement, readers. A couple of years ago, I wrote out a list of books for my husband that I thought he would enjoy, so he has been working his way through both fiction and nonfiction slowly but surely. On this trip, he went completely rogue and packed a book my mom had purchased for him as a Christmas gift - Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. He could not wait to get to the pool to read each morning, and he spent most of our rainy resort day burrowed in the Dreams Riviera Cancun lobby, alternating between beers and coffee drinks from the CoCo Cafe.
For those of you who pack print books on vacation, how do you decide what you will take with you? What sorts of books do you like to read on vacation? What are some of your favorite vacation reads? Share your comments below or on the Facebook page, and let's get a discussion going and help bookworms experience literary joy while out and about in the world.
Nook or paperbacks? Nook or paperbacks? Nook! And one paperback, just in case, for the beach!
Selecting books to pack for vacation is my most time-consuming task, and it usually involves quite a bit of time spent on Goodreads and a few consultations with my most trusted of reading friends. Usually, I am the one many seek out for book recommendations, but planning reading material for vacation really sends me into a tizzy. Thankfully, my great reading friend Lisa surprised me with several books for my eReader a couple of days before departure; she really knows my taste and I knew that I would have some great novels in store.
I have read Chevy Stevens in the past, and her books are usually fun page-turners so I thought I would start this one on the flight to Cancun. It wasn't as good as the first book I read by her, Still Missing, but it made the time pass quickly en route to Mexico. I finished it shortly before landing, and selected The Vacationers as my next read, which proved to be a perfect novel for hanging out on the beach or at the pool. I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You was smart and well-written; it's a shame so many are writing negative reviews because they didn't care for the main character.
Technically, everyone goes, since a vast array of fiction is now waits on my original Nook, but trying to decide which books are bestowed the honor of being forever classified as a"vacation read"is a tough call, especially when so many great titles beckon. Are you a plane book? Are you a beach book? Are you a waiting-in-the-airport book? These are issues that true bibliophiles grapple with, not the casual vacation reader, like my dear husband. For me, the books I read on vacation are as much a part of the special memories as any other traveling experience I have when away from home. When I see a copy of Where'd You Go, Bernadette? I am immediately back on board Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas. When I see a copy of The Vacationers, I am whisked away to a chaise facing the Caribbean Sea in my beloved Mexico. Each one of my trips is marked by the books I read.
When it comes to selecting the books I will read on the plane, my mind is wanting something I can get completely and utterly lost in so as to ignore the man sneezing incessantly behind me or the weird smell wafting my direction - something fast-paced and engaging that I can move through rather quickly and simply enjoy. You know, something that will probably be made into a movie eventually...even it is by Lifetime.
Contenders for the "plane category" for our upcoming summer vacation include the following. Click on each book cover to read more about it!
When it comes to the books I enjoy on the beach or near the pool, I am not nearly as picky. For me, a "beach read" is simply a book I happen to be reading at the beach and is not defined by existing as a particular genre one might call "fluff" or "chick-lit". (Although I am certainly not against books categorized as the aforementioned.) My beach reads are as eclectic as my reading tastes in general, so I am a real loose cannon when it comes to true vacation reading.
My dear reading friends, Lisa and Amy, recently supplied me with several contenders in preparation for this summer's vacation, and because I trust them both implicitly with my reading selections, deciding from their nominations will be truly difficult. A few of the books that I am considering for resort reading are featured here:
I have also been telling my husband that the summer of 2015 would be the summer of an East of Eden reread, which I initially spent many lazy days by our marina swimming pool enjoying immensely in 2005. It isn't just my favorite of Steinbeck's works; it also happens to be one of my all-time favorite books, period. My husband, who also really likes Steinbeck, plans to read it for the first time while in Mexico, so perhaps both ePub and paperback versions of Steinbeck will be accompanying us south of the border. I have been hounding him to read this since our earliest days of marriage, and have repeatedly told him that he cannot consider himself a true Steinbeck fan until he has read its final page.