At least twice a year, I get to fly across the country for business. I enjoy these trips, but it never fails that each time, I have the same struggle suffered by bookworms since the invention of travel.
What to take to read?
For at least three weeks before the trip, the discussion in my head goes as follows. (Text in italics represents my inner voice; aka: Brain).
Big trip coming up. Two five-hour flights. Gonna be gone for five days. Not sure what to read.
Oh no. This again. Look, you have a crap-ton of books. Surely there’s something.
I know that, I just don’t know which ones.
Don’t take too many.
Don’t be cranky. You know I like options.
Hey, I’m just saying. Remember what happened last time? You took five books and STILL wound up at the bookstore, where you bought three more.
Hey, you promised you wouldn’t throw that in my face!
Quite acting all butthurt. We are not overloading our carryon like that again. What about a Harry Potter paperback and your NOOK?
But I’m about to finish what I’m reading. It’s the perfect time to start something fresh and new. A whole new adventure while I’m on a whole new adventure!
Oh crap. You’re on about that again?
But… but… but… I have a Charles Dickens book I haven’t read.
Traveling makes you tired. You’re going to need comfort books. Take a Harry Potter paperback and your NOOK.
But I have three new Stephen King novels! And some P.G. Wodehouse I haven’t read. And what about that new paperback about the cupcake store?
Stephen King is not good for you when your brain is tired and your imagination is overstimulated. You have P.G. Wodehouse audio books, so don’t be redundant. And you don’t even know if you’ll like the cupcake book.
But it’s pink.
How often do you pack a book from an unknown author and then you end up not even liking it?
Okay, fine. What about that hardback chick lit I’ve been meaning to read? I love that author.
Too heavy and bulky for your carryon. You still need to fit your laptop and your teddy bear in there, and I hate to be the one to tell you, but your bear’s still mad at you for squishing her on the last trip with your impulse book-buy at the airport.
You know, you’re supposed to be on my side. What about all those new Penguin Classics paperbacks I just got? They’re small.
They’re also dense reading. You need something to relax your tired brain. Why do we go over this again and again and again?
What about a personal and professional productivity book?
Not even going to dignify that with an answer.
What about one of my new books on beheadings and severed heads? Or maybe the black death? Should at least keep strangers from talking to me.
With your luck? It would attract the wrong kind of stranger who wants to know more about beheadings and has labeled you a kindred spirit. And maybe even earn you a search at security.
But this trip is the perfect opportunity to try something new.
You wanna try something new? Stop arguing with me and take a Harry Potter paperback and your NOOK. You know I’m right.
New Neil Gaiman?
See your little hand? That one right there? I will slap you with it.
Okay, if you’re going to threaten me with violence, I’m going to pack whatever I want and never mind what you think.
Good luck with that. Brain, out.
So I started packing. And selecting. And examining all of my books. Trying to find one that hit the spot. And that fit in my carryon while still being mindful of my teddy bear because my brain was right; I had squished her on the last trip. Really quite rude of me.
Hours turned into days. Days turned into a frenzy during which even my sweet, wonderful husband refused to offer an opinion. Every time I thought I’d settled on a couple of options, I could hear my Brain’s logic echo in my head.
In the end, I wound up taking my paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and my NOOK as a backup. And it worked. I had all the reading material I needed, plus the comfort of a light read guaranteed to make me feel happy and comfortable.
Told you so.
Over to you
Do you go through this too? What do you usually end up taking with you to read on when you travel? Share in the comments.