Travel Reading: The Eternal Question

Travel Reading: The Eternal Question


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The trouble is I listen intently to too many people out there among the internets. And this enables one of my more benign but still expensive addictions.

All of these books come highly recommended. Psyche recommends ‘Triumph of The Moon’ and Phil Hine recommends ‘The Anthropology of Magic’. (The other books come recommended from my non-magical nerd friends.)

These books represent my shortlist for the much-anticipated magical West Country trip beginning tomorrow. Ursula Le Guin‘s ‘The Other Wind’ was supposed to be on this list but I finished it before my holiday could even begin.

She was chosen because ‘The Other Wind’ was the final Earthsea book I hadn’t got around to reading and I remember her saying somewhere that her vision of Earthsea looks like the Isles of Scilly which is where I am going.

But it was too good so I consumed it in only a couple of sittings. Like Jow, I’m definitely a candidate for Over-readers Anonymous.

Now, I’d dearly love to take all of them because I have a five hour train journey to start which would presumably polish off the smaller ones before the holiday even begins except:

  • Everyone reads significantly less than they intend to on vacation; especially if you’re going somewhere new for exploratory reasons.
  • There is a 15 kilogram limit for luggage on the tiny plane I will use to get out to the Isles of Scilly (assuming Iceland/Mordor doesn’t defeat me again).

‘The Anthropology of Magic’ is a small book so that’s going in. I’m already a third of the way through ‘Triumph of the Moon’ so that’s going in… But they’re both quite heavy going.

I’m gonna add ‘Blink’ to the list because it was cheap and I won’t feel as bad if I have to leave it behind due to luggage restrictions or whatever. (I certainly won’t leave the former two behind. I’d rather just move to wherever I get stuck.)

Yep. A good list. I can knock over ‘Triumph of the Moon’ and possibly ‘Blink’ with one other book left in reserve.

Travel reading tips

  • Don’t overestimate how much time you will actually spend reading in a new and exciting place.
  • Are you prepared to abandon your books to satisfy a luggage requirement?
  • See if there is a book out there that provides an emotional match for your destination.
  • Make sure you have something light as well. You’re not going off to college.
  • Don’t finish your eagerly-anticipated fiction choice before you even leave like some kind of impulse-control-issued smackhead.
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11 Comments

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  1. 2
    petoskystone

    might i also add a reminder for those of us who bring crafts along: don’t bother taking embroidery/knitting projects which require high-density lighting, 40 shades of floss (or $30.00skiens of yarn),&/or a 10 page chart/instructions. you will accomplish nothing except to bulk up your carryons!

  2. 3
    Gordon

    Not this trip, Argent, it’s strictly UK only. But let’s lock it in for my next Amsterdammage weekend.

    Or if you’re in London…

    @petoskystone I have to tip my hat to anyone ambitious enough to think of knitting whilst travelling. Especially as knitting in its own right is just one of the many, many things I have tried and failed to do over the years.

  3. 4
    Diana

    I highly recommend travelers consider listening to podcasts as a way of lightening the travel load and encountering neat stuff.

    I’m a Doctor Who fan, so Podshock is my must. But there are fascinating things offered by This American Life, Penguin books and from a variety of independent science fiction authors.

    This along with one book (two tops) makes for a pretty good travel diversion until you’re at your destination.
    .-= Diana´s last blog ..Bat bones are not crucial to Wiccan ritual =-.

  4. 5
    Gordon

    Oooh Diana. Good call. I’d never get on a plane without an iPod full of BBC Podcasts.

    But unfortunately, my parents are over visiting and they’re old now so will probably demand to be entertained on the train ride. I don’t think it’s going to be my most podcasty trip.

  5. 6
    Psyche

    I’ll be travelling to Paris next week, and I’ve still yet to figure out which books to pack. I’ve got some Mavis Gallant that’s for sure, and Kerouac on Paris, but which esoteric books is turning out to be a trickier decision. Some Levi, perhaps?

    Any recommendations?
    .-= Psyche´s last blog ..Diabolical stuff and models =-.

  6. 7
    Gordon

    Hmmm… I’d say The Drunkard’s Walk if you haven’t read it.

    There are huge amounts about the zany Parisian philosophers who uncovered the origins of randomness and probabilistic theory.

    French occultism specifically is just not my area yet. (I say yet because it’s third down on my list of things to become a nerd about in the next 18 months.)

    Oh, but I absolutely CAN recommend Bar Ourcq on the Canal St Martin if you’re there on a sunny Sunday.

    You grab a deck chair, sit by the canal and drink cheap beer and cocktails while old men play boules around you. Splendid.

  7. 9
    Bruce

    I highly recommend travelers consider listening to podcasts as a way of lightening the travel load and encountering neat stuff.

    I’m a Doctor Who fan, so Podshock is my must. But there are fascinating things offered by This American Life, Penguin books and from a variety of independent science fiction authors.

    This along with one book (two tops) makes for a pretty good travel diversion until you’re at your destination.
    .-= Diana´s last blog ..Bat bones are not crucial to Wiccan ritual =-.

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