The Art of Selecting the Vacation Read

Posted August 18, 2017 by Mallory in Bookish Things / 2 Comments

As you read this, I’m likely throwing anything and everything I own into a suitcase for an 8:00 am flight to Napa.  When It comes to time away from home, I’m first and foremost a vacation planner.  I love pouring through online reviews, hunting for the best deals on hotels, and questing for the best restaurants.  The second most important task?  Finding the ideal vacation book.

Now, the Vacation Book is something that must be chosen with care.  Can a bad book ruin your day?  Yes, siree!   Should it happen on vacation? Perish the thought!  Your entire vacation happiness hangs in the balance!  I remember a terrible mystery I read on a cruise five years ago – I don’t know why I didn’t stop reading it at the time, but I have a vivid memory of sitting on the pool deck and contemplating tossing the book overboard.  That book is easily one of the top memories of the vacation.  (These days, I like to bring my Kindle so I have a backup in the unfortunate event that I make a poor choice.)

Selecting the right vacation book feels like an art.  Am I in the mood for something familiar? An adventure?  How do I actually feel about this trip and how can I complement it with the perfect book!?!  Here is the breakdown of my vacation book selection techniques.


the Travel Book

Now this is bad.  Very, very bad.  Because you know what it means if I’m reading a travel book on the airplane?  I’ve failed at planning.  Plus I’ve somehow convinced myself that I need to use precious carry-on space for a paperback.  *Note: I can see how some would consider the Travel Book as a form of excitement inducing in-flight entertainment.  But wouldn’t you rather be watching Game of Thrones?

The Reread

Always a safe bet. It’s a book you know and love.  My favorite YA reads Court Duel and Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith went on every single vacation with me while in high school.  I could even tell you that the brown stain on the spine came from eating Chocolate Ice Cream in Myrtle Beach.  The re-read means no disappointments and no way to ruin your day.   But the explorer in you may ask, Where’s the adventure?  

The Books That’s Been On My Kindle Forever

Common bookworm confession:  I have about five-billion books on my kindle that I haven’t even read, and don’t get me started on the paperbacks cluttering-up my bookshelves (see next vacation-type book for why).  This is what people must mean by ‘catching-up by reading’ on vacation?

The Best Seller

These always catch my eye at the airport.  Shiney.  New.  Uncracked spine.  I don’t often read the big-hyped best sellers, so this in itself is an adventure!  All it takes is a 20 minute airport delay and you’ll find me cruising Hudson Books for my next read (and ignoring the kindle sitting in my purse)  I can’t say this always ends well for me though – I can think of at least a half-dozen unread books on my shelf that are unread airport pics.

The Classic

Ambitious vacations mean ambitious reading goals…. Right?  I love the classics, or at least I love the IDEA of reading the classics.  I’ve read Of MIce and Men twice and have stopped and started Pride and Prejudice at least a half a dozen times – and always on an airplane to somewhere.  

The Indie Adventure

I mean, this is my go-to for day to day.  I love hunting through Goodreads for the latest and greatest (except then sometimes it cuts into actual vacation planning time and I end-up needing to read a travel guide on the plane instead)

So what was it for Napa?  I wish I could say I did a better job planning my books before hitting the airport tomorrow.  I didn’t pre-select any books and there’s a 50/50 chance that I’ll end-up at the airport bookstore buying something I’ll never read.  Hopefully I can resist the temptation and find something great on my kindle!

What’s your vacation reading style?  Any good recent vacation reads?

2 responses to “The Art of Selecting the Vacation Read

  1. I literally always pack 3-4 books plus my Kindle for even the shortest of trips…and then barely read. I’ll read on the plane, if flying, but that’s it. It’s a ridiculous excersie, but I do it. every.single.time. Hope you have a great trip!

    • Mallory

      This was the first time I’ve been on vacation and haven’t read anything! It felt so good to just kick-back and relax and now I’m attacking the kindle with a fresh set of reading eyes. (So sorry for the late reply – I’m just getting back into the swing of things 🙂 )

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