Deciding what books to bring on vacation

Humdrum 60

I’m taking a week off soon (to visit Montreal!) so that means one of my favorite travel prep activities: picking books to bring.

This is always an impossible task, and frankly, a needless one. When traveling to big cities, I inevitably go to a bookstore and buy something (in San Francisco I went to four and bought at least one book in each). I schlep back way more than I bring. But I also can’t help it. I’m a book person, a book buyer. There are ten books stacked next to my desk right now.

When in vacation mode, days are stretched before me, blissfully empty without eight-plus hours of my time accounted for. I can do anything I want. And I want to stuff those hours with as much reading time as possible. And exploring time and eating and whatever. The length of a day of vacation should really be 30 hours instead of 24. 

Plus, there’s the travel time. On the airplane at the airport. It’s perfect for cracking open a new book. I always go into newsstands to peruse the magazines and often end up adding one of those to my carry on. Once I’m on the plane I like to flip through a magazine, not necessarily the one I bought, while boarding finishes. (Those airline magazines have some good content in them). Once all the distractions of other passengers hauling themselves onto the plane finally settle down, I dig out a romance novel (usually on my Kindle) that I devour for the rest of the flight. Those stories are easy to get lost in so before I know it, I’ve arrived at my destination. I don’t know when I get around to reading the magazine I bought at the airport.

Though my decisions aren’t final yet, I’m considering bringing three library books:

  • If You Dare by Kresley Cole

  • Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi 

  • So Here’s the Thing by Alyssa Mastromonaco

And these books are in addition to the books on my Kindle (American Queen by Sierra Simone, The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite and more and more). 

Maybe three is too much to tote around? Aaaaaack maybe. I’ll see how packed my suitcase gets before making any drastic decisions.

Does anyone else have this problem? What do you like to read on vacation?

Reading | Watching | Listening

Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean. How Tik Tok holds our attention. Actually, just get the whole Tech Issue from The New Yorker. McDreamy, McSteamy, and McConnell, or OMG did you know Congressional fan fic is a thing?! How did Lauren Duca’s revolution backfire? I’m soaking up as much Parks and Rec as possible before it leaves Netflix.

Thanks for the Feedback!

Thanks to those of you who provided feedback about Humdrum. Most of those who responded subscribe to many other newsletters, noting The Ann Friedman Weekly (still one of my faves). You’ve all been reading the essay at the top, and mostly the links too but not everyone. Much of the vibe was “keep doing what you’re doing” which is great! Other feedback about improvements, topic suggestions, etc. I’m still ruminating on. In the coming weeks I’ll be working on ways to change up this newsletter while still keeping it very humdrum.

A correction

In the last newsletter, I mentioned my music-loving pal Mindy had been to Riot Fest for 15 years! Well she gently told me I was wrong. Though Riot Fest has been in existence for 15 years, she’d only been going for the past nine. Lollapalooza, however, she has attended 15 years in a row.

About this newsletter

Humdrum is written by Christina Brandon, who is so excited to go to a bookstore in Montreal. Purchase her memoir Failing Better anywhere you want, including Amazon. Connect with her by replying to this email or jumping on Twitter or Instagram. And tell friends to subscribe!