Sullivan Free Library's Blog

May 25, 2010

Vacation Reading Styles

A recent discussion on a library listserv got me thinking about the subject of summer and vacation reading. What do YOU like to read in the summer?

Some people prefer light or “beach” reads in the summer months–books that can be easily set aside when there is something else to do. For this reason, paperbacks are especially popular in summer months, because they are portable and expendible if they get wet or damaged. One woman I know goes fishing with her husband–he fishes, she reads–and saves a pile of “disposable” books throughout the year for going in the boat.

Others prefer to devote the summer months to tackling longer books that are too time consuming during the rest of the year. I fall into the latter category, probably a carryover from my years in college, when coursework never left enough time to read the fiction books I wanted to read. Summer was a time to catch up on all I missed during the rest of the year.

Reading while traveling is a whole other category. Audio books are popular for long car drives, and electronic books are perfect for traveling light. Every biblioholic knows the angst of packing for a long trip–how do you make room for clothing when there are essentials like books that can’t be left behind? There is nothing worse than running out of reading material on a long trip, so we always pack more than we could possibly read “just in case”. E-books make it possible to travel light and have enough books to read because you can load multiple titles on one device.

I recently heard about this “Vacation Reading Plan” that makes perfect sense to me:

1) A book for the trip there–something light and plot driven that can be left behind when finished.
2) A book you’ve been meaning to read–something you can leave behind at the hotel
3) A book that’s a keeper–something you can start on the trip back and finish after you are home.

Leaving books behind has become popular. http://www.bookcrossing.com is a site devoted to “releasing” books. You can sign up with the site, enter a book and receive an ID #, place it in the book along with information about the site and leave it somewhere–an airport, bus station, restaurant–any public place. The person who finds it logs on to the site and enters the ID #. A book can be tracked for a number of “crossings”. It’s an interesting social experiment and a great way to recyle books.

Recommended LONG Summer Reads:

War & Peace by Tolstoy
Anna Karenina by Tolstoy
Middlemarch by George Eliot
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
The Stand by Stephen King
Under the Dome by Stephen King
Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

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