Thursday, July 24, 2014

Reading On Vacation and Other Packing Tips

Our week at the beach is coming up soon, and I'm picking out the books to take. Beach reading requires something light and fun; no thick tomes to digest. Who can think much with the sun baking your brain and the crashing waves obliterating all your thoughts and turning you into complete jelly? So definitely something light; the term 'beachtrash' comes to mind.

I'm sure there are plenty of people like me, or should that be I, who pick their books to match their travel environment. In the past I've picked Jane Eyre while traveling in Yorkshire, England, Beach Music by Pat Conroy to read on the coast of South Carolina, Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh for Sanibel Island, Florida or really any beach, Dylan Thomas for our trip to Wales, The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell while in London, A Moveable Feast by Hemingway in Paris, Sir Walter Scott in Scotland, Washington Irving on a lovely trip to the Hudson River Valley in New York State, the Charleston novels of Karen White while in Charleston, South Carolina, and again Pat Conroy's South of Broad for Charleston.

The little island where we're going has two different places to borrow books; the convenience store which has an 'honor system' where you just take what you want to read and bring it back and the more organized, public library where you do the same. No librarian on duty! I've always thought that I'd love to not bring any books with me and just read what I find that week on the island. The house we rent always has plenty of books, too.

But fear keeps me from doing that. What if I get almost to the end but can't finish one? I wouldn't/couldn't take it home with me, so I'd have to try to find it in our library in town. Much too much trouble! But someday, I promise I'm going to not take one single, solitary book with me to the beach!

But this isn't someday it's today, so this is what I've packed so far: The Pat Conroy Cookbook which is full of stories and anecdotes about people he's cooked with (Natalie Dupree, for one) and food he's eaten. If you're familiar with Mr. Conroy's style of writing, you know good and well that he wouldn't fill a cookbook with just recipes! Can you tell that I like him? Gift From the Sea...again. I've read it 14 times already(literally), and it always goes with me to the sea. That's a given. And last is Home By the River by Archibald Rutledge whose ancestral Hampton Plantation is but a daytrip north of where we'll be on Fripp Island. Mr. Rutledge was once South Carolina's poet laureate, and he wrote extensively about the plantation and his growing up years there. I've read a few of his books, and they're delightful for young and old. And that's it. Just three. I'm tempted to take more, so many more, but I'll leave room for the ones I plan on finding on the island.

It's a joke in our family about how I pack for any trip we're taking. I'll tell my 15-year-old to pack light meaning for her not to take two outfits for every day and to limit her makeup to one small case. When she tells me to pack light, she means to not weigh down my one suitcase with too many books, paints, and other projects. My clothes and makeup could fit it in one Kroger sack! I have MY priorities straight!

And someday will I not only NOT take ANY books to the beach, I'm not taking anything but the clothes on my back. I'll just pick up some toothpaste and a toothbrush at the little store on island, a few cans of Beanie Weanies and saltines, an apple or two, and pat myself on the back for being so unfettered with life's distractions and accoutrements. But one thing is certain. The rental house had BETTER be full of paperback beachtrash!


Lisa Richards said...

Books and paints; definitely the most important things to pack! :)

Gumbo Lily said...

I like the idea of packing nothing but the clothes on your back, but I might still have to bring my coffee pour-over.

Vintage Reading said...

Plenty of books, essential. I once went to a remote cottage with only one book which I didn't enjoy reading - was climbing the walls with boredom! Have a lovely break!

debbie bailey said...

Lisa, I agree! Jody, I have to bring tea bags, and Vintage, that would be terrible to be without reading material!

M.K. said...

You're so funny, Debbie! Take nothing to the beach? Ha! Even when I just go for a few hours, I lug along SO much stuff :)

I love your philosophy of travel reading -- what a fascinating pattern! I'll have to try that next time I go somewhere. Don't know when that will be. I usually take about 3x more reading than I'll ever get around to, but you, I'm afraid to be without reading.