Thursday 7 October 2010

BTT: Books and travelling

A bookworm went a-travelling...

When you travel, how many books do you bring with you?
Has this changed since the arrival of ebooks?

Ah, that age-old question.  How many books do I take?  Well, let's take a week's holiday as an example.  Now, I am extremely lazy when I'm on holiday.  My ideal vacation means seven days of lying in the sun or curling up on a sofa, a stack of books by my side and a large amount of delicious food and plentiful beverages of my choice on hand.  As a general rule, for a seven day holiday I'd probably take eight books.  That way I've got the best-case 'book a day' scenario covered, as well as having a spare or two should one of the titles fail to take my fancy when the time comes.  

Which leads me to the real problem when it comes to books and travelling: Which books do I take?  I don't have this problem with clothes, because I have a limited number of favourite T-shirt/jeans/jumpers/shoes combinations to choose from - mainly because I spend all my money on books instead.  In go the clothes, in go chargers and pens and toiletries and sweets to nibble on the way there.  When it comes to books, however, I enter into a military-precision process we shall call Operation Holiday Reading.

A couple of weeks before The Day, I'll sit down and methodically comb through my LibraryThing catalogue, listing any likely candidates.  Things I've been wanting to read for ages, things that will be suitably light and fluffy, books I've been warned to read when I have time to get stuck right in because I won't be able to put them down...  This usually leaves me with a ridiculous number of possibilities - perhaps 200 or more.  Over the next week or so, I will return to this list a few times, each time crossing off a few more books.  When this stage is complete, it's time to roll out the big guns.  I hunt down every book left on the list and start the business of sorting through them in earnest, weeding out more books in the process.  Eventually, a couple of days before I go away, I should be left with perhaps 30 to choose from, and will usually have picked out perhaps five 'definite' titles by the night before.  The last few will be picked depending on my mood on the morning we leave.  Usually causing more stress and consternation than the rest of the holiday preparations put together...  WHAT IF I CHOSE THE WRONG BOOKS?

Happily, this has never been a problem, and since books so often take longer than you think to read them, especially when you factor in that burning-eye thing that makes you fall asleep when you've been reading for too long in one go, I never get through every book anyway!  Oh, and to answer the second question (bit of an afterthought, this) - I don't have a Kindle or anything like that, so it's not an issue for me!  Besides, it would completely ruin my oddly satisfying, geeky, obsessive list-making pre-travel book frenzy if I could just load the whole lot onto a gadget - and I'd still have the problem of deciding which books I actually wanted to read while I was away!

Do you have a similar dilemma?  Does anyone else have any slightly insane methods or habits when it comes to choosing their bookish travel companions?