How do you choose your vacation reads?

Recently my family went on a five-day camping getaway and in preparation, I did something highly unusual for me: I “saved” a book I couldn’t wait to read for the trip.

Usually, my approach to the reading life looks more like the readerly version of Annie Dillard’s writing philosophy. In her weird and wonderful little book The Writing Life she writes, “One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.”

When it comes to my reading life, I don’t “save” the good stuff. If I desperately want to read something, I read it! I spend it, shoot it, play it, right away, as often as I can. (The real trouble comes when I desperately want to read a dozen books all at the same time, but that’s another post for another day.)

That’s why my approach to my camping reading felt out of character. I’m not accustomed to saving what seems good now for a later time unless I really have to, but this time I did. The book I was hoarding—of course I know you want to know the book I was hoarding—was Carrie Soto Is Back, the new release due out August 30 from Taylor Jenkins Reid. It sounded like excellent vacation reading for me: she’s become one of my must-read authors for compelling family stories with interesting settings, I’d already heard great things from a few bookseller friends, and it’s set in the world of professional tennis, a sport I know well, as I played competitively when I was younger.

In short, it embodied the characteristics I often look for in a vacation read: it was long, absorbing, and good.

We had a wonderful camping trip. But honestly, going in, my attitude was perhaps not the best—and saving a much-anticipated book meant I had an extra little something to look forward to.

And so I brought Carrie Soto, along with my then-current tome with a too-soon library due date, a paperback ARC with a looming endorsement deadline, and two fall releases I was eager to read. Usually I don’t like to bring books I “need” to read on vacation, but this time I did, and it worked out well enough. (I wasn’t wild about those new fall releases—but you’ll hear about that later.)

It’s funny how akin my camping reading is to my reading rhythms on a beach vacation, so let me tell you how we usually approach such a trip. At the beach, we have lots of reading time, and we want to be able to read at whim. This isn’t always easy to do on vacation, when we don’t have a house full of books at our disposal, but Will and I give it our best shot with this method that we’ve now used for nearly twenty years.

The week before our trip, we pull out an empty milk crate, and as we move through the week we fill it with magazines, library books, and books from our own shelves that we might want to read while we’re away. We pack things we think we’ll probably read and others we might want to read, and when we arrive at our destination, we see what we’re in the mood for. (My well-stocked Kindle is not pictured in the above photo, but it’s become more and more important to own own travel reading.) I like to read all kinds of things on the beach, but mysteries, literary fiction, and memoir factor prominently in my selections, especially if they promise to be long, absorbing, and good.

We visit bookstores when we travel, so sometimes I purposefully pack light, book-wise, so I have room to bring back new ones. (Sometimes this backfires: last summer I wanted to read Mary Lawson’s A Town Called Solace on our trip and planned to buy it at a destination bookstore, but because it was longlisted for the Booker days before our visit, it was all sold out!)

We have an airplane trip coming up soon, which means we’ll have to leave the milk crate behind and vet our potential travel reads more carefully. I’ll be relying on my Kindle and one or two carefully-chosen paperbacks, which isn’t as limiting as it sounds because these trips typically allow for less reading time than our more relaxing beach trips. As a nervous flyer, I read differently on airplanes than I read on the ground: I want plotty, fast-moving stories with lots of action, humor sure doesn’t hurt. Christina Lauren, Jasmine Guillory, and Kate Clayborn have served me well in the past, and I’m always on the lookout for new-to-me titles that might work in this challenging setting.

Talking about choosing vacation reading has me so excited about the good books I’ll get to read during time away this summer! Now I’d love to hear from you.

How do YOU choose your vacation reads? Do you have a memorable vacation reading experience to share? Tell us in comments!

P.S. If vacation reading makes you happy definitely check out this episode of What Should I Read Next, about exactly that, along with our literary tourism series on Modern Mrs Darcy.

112 comments

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  1. Tabitha says:

    Funny enough…we leave for the beach tomorrow and I packed our books in a milk crate too! More than we’ll be able to read but lots of options.

  2. Emily says:

    Just back from a sad, grueling cross-country trip. Lessons in Chemistry enabled me look forward to my bedtime reading and made me smile during a difficult time.

  3. Margaret says:

    I remember once choosing a very wrong book for a trip – a novel set in the American southwest for a trip to the north of England. It was just all wrong! Once I got to a bookstore, I ditched my desert novel for some Thomas Hardy (set in southern England but close enough) and my reading was much more satisfying!

    After that, I’ve always chosen travel memoirs or novels set in the area I’m visiting.

  4. Donna says:

    I just bring my Kindle on all vacations – it has approximately 300 books loaded on it. Plenty of selection!!

  5. Erin says:

    Just yesterday I was asking myself, “how am I going to pick what to read next week on vacation??!!” I just finished The Guide by Peter Heller and am in a mini reading slump. Thanks for your post! -Erin

  6. Diane says:

    I love to plan my summer vacation reading, too, but I had to recently do a different type of plan. I had shoulder surgery a few days ago and I’ll be in a sling on my dominant side for about 6 weeks! I can’t do much of anything but read. Naturally I consulted lots of Anne’s lists and borrowed over 30 books from library and downloaded about a dozen audio books!!

    • Ann says:

      I had a total of “count-‘em 21” library books on hand after recent surgery & am plodding (not even) through them.

      Let’s just say my Summer reading has been abysmal so far. For some reason I was not as able to focus after surgery.

      Slowly reading Bomb Shelter. Due day after tomorrow.

      And I was just burning my oatmeal at 10:30 am while typing this!

      Hope your surgery went well.

    • Amy says:

      Rotator cuff surgery? That was me a few years ago. I empathize with you! Hang in there. The physical therapy isn’t fun, either. 😖

  7. CZ says:

    I don’t know why I never thought of using a milk crate but we have a 9-hour road trip coming up next week so I’ll be adopting this idea! My stack for this trip comes from a thrifting outing where I found nothing I was looking for but did find four books from my TBR list for a grand total of $1.49. They include: “Lit” by Mary Karr, “One Italian Summer” by Rebecca Serle, “Coming Home” by Rosamunde Pilcher and “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. I may toss in a few other hard copies that I’ve acquired but have yet to read.

    • Robyn Nussbaum says:

      A few years ago, my husband and I went on a camping trip to the mountains in Northern New Mexico. I was reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. I stayed up late in the tent and was reading using my headlamp. It was such a good book and a perfect read for our camping trip in the mountains.

      • Caylee says:

        I also read The Forgotten Garden on a camping trip when we toured the American SW in a camper van with our 8 month old. We went to bed early most nights but I didn’t mind because I would cozy up in our little bed with that great book!

    • Anne Nilsen says:

      Oh my, The Goldinch for a leisure pick? I’m impressed. I slogged through it with a book club just before hearing they’d made it into a movie. That was the last time I brought anything heavy on a vacation. 🙄 Now I aim for fun romance, or fun romance with a little sleuthing thrown in (as in Anne George, or one of her clones). I sometimes bring along political essays by authors native to my destination, but that’s as close to loss, angst, and tragedy as I get. 🤷🏻‍♀️

      • CZ says:

        Well, can’t promise I will actually read The Goldfinch on this trip, but sometimes being locked in the car helps me get going on heftier titles that I tend to bypass when I’m at home. I’ve yet to read anything by Tartt so when I found it for less than $1 I figured I should give it a try. We shall see! If it’s too much I will have other choices in my crate : )

        • Ann says:

          I started it years ago & liked it.

          Unfortunately I was reading in increments & had to return it to my library & years have passed & I have not gotten back to it.

          I finally obtained a copy with a BOTM credit.

          It is sitting. Maybe one day I will finish it. I remember really enjoying the writing.

          I have also never read Secret History & now my College age child has borrowed my copy. Seems I’ve started it and never “gotten into it.”

          So surprisingly I cannot say I have ever completed a book of hers, despite my really liking her style.

          Just saw where she wrote Tam-O’-Shanter, which is really weird bc I was just reading Robert Burns poem for the first time today while researching for Scotland trip. A synchronicity! And now I’ll have to find out why she wrote that.

    • Mary Ann says:

      CZ,
      I find that I enjoy big books over the summer and on summer vacation. By this point in the year, I feel good about meeting my reading goals and can slow my pace. Big books can be engrossing and give you something to look forward to at the end of the night or before an afternoon nap! I have a few big book in mind for this summer – The Priory of the Orange Tree (buddy read), Ordinary Monsters and The Eighth Life.

    • Caylee says:

      The Goldfinch is one of my favorite books of all time and am jealous of anyone reading it for the first time (I’m not a big re-reader so will likely never read it again). It was a perfect summer read for me

  8. Ashling says:

    When I go on vacation, I tend to bring a mixed group of books – mostly recent purchases, a few library books that are due soon, and one or two favorite re-reads. I always make sure to bring an old favorite to avoid a slump, in case the first new book I choose to read turns out to be disappointing.

  9. Jelan Heidelberg says:

    I still much prefer paper books to any other format, which can be challenging on long trips that involve airplanes. My strategy is to pack paperbacks that I’m willing to part with after reading them… either by passing them on to fellow travelers or leaving them on a coffee table in a hotel lobby. Then as the trip progresses, I can fill the “book space” in my suitcase with a few well-chosen souvenirs.

    • Liz C says:

      A friend and I return every summer to Bar Harbor, Maine and a couple of months ago I asked in a town-related FB group about where I could donate the books I always bring with me – residents and other long-time vacationers ended up giving me a whole list of Little Free Libraries, library donation boxes, etc. that I’ll look for this August. Someone who works in the hotel industry did remind me, though, that due to longstanding rules, generally items left behind in hotels just end up in a lost-and-found closet, so it helps to include a “free to a good home” note or alert the front desk staff of your intentions for the book.

      • MagdaT says:

        I’m a saver. We just came from a long weekend trip at Acadia. I pre-ordered Flying Solo by Linda Holmes just so I could read it on our trip. It was perfect! So many references to towns and places in Maine. For my mom fic pick I saved Leave Only Footprints by Conor Knighton which was perfect for exploring a national park.

        • Liz C says:

          Oooh – I’m glad you mentioned that! I’ve got Flying Solo sitting on my Kindle right now, but maybe I’ll return it to the library and pick up a copy to take with me for that trip instead (or see if I can just buy it at Sherman’s)!

          • Suzy says:

            I was just at Sherman’s in Bar Harbor yesterday and they had the most amazing color-coded window display of new books that I’ve ever seen! Why didn’t I take a picture of it?? Have a great vacay!

    • Lynette says:

      That is such a good strategy and I’ve done that myself. I agree that paperback books are so much lighter and it’s nice to be able to leave it behind for the next person when you are finished.

    • Jerri says:

      Oh, I have done the same so many times. I leave them in the VRBO, beach benches, and public parks. It clears space in my bags to buy a new book. Win Win!!

  10. Mary Gies says:

    I had a very serious conversation with my family about the number of physical books to bring instead of or in addition to my Kindle on our upcoming trip to Greece. I always prefer physical books but think the Kindle will be easier while traveling. The final decision was two physical + the Kindle. And I always love a theme so going to get two books set in Greece. Although, I am thinking of “saving” One Italian Summer for the trip, although I’m desperate to read it. Decisions, decisions!

    • Kate says:

      Traveling With Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd (mostly) takes place in Greece. That would be a great read on your trip there.

  11. Judy Holmes says:

    Great post! Travel/vacation reading is vital to the experience! I remember what I was reading on various trips. I relate to Margaret’s comment about having the wrong book for her trip! When this has happened to me, I must search for a bookstore or some avenue of acquiring the “right” book before I can settle into travel mode. Travel essentials for me are books, ink pens, journal, stationery & stamps!

  12. Lori says:

    I wanted to suggest audiobooks for flying. I am a nervous flyer and it is relaxing to listen to a book, especially if there are multiple readers, because you are immersed so deeply into it. Of course, my kids are adults, so there is little disruption from them.

  13. Liz C says:

    During the frustrating non-travel months of the pandemic, I decided to try out a long list of traditional “beach read” type authors (mostly American and British, like Mary Kay Andrews and Jill Mansell) in order to build up a go-to list for future vacations. I’ve found a few that felt fun and not too sappy or formulaic (but not too brain-taxing or angsty!), and have started to purchase some of those books books and then store them on a specific bookshelf so that I can just grab a couple and throw them in my backpack for road trips and beach stays. Books are also my go-to trip souvenirs, so I always try to find something when I’m traveling as well, although I usually don’t end up reading them until long after I’m back home.

  14. Catherine says:

    I’m spending a month traveling around the mainland (I live in Hawaii) and since I was starting at my sister’s, I mailed myself a box of paperbacks to choose from. We’re currently on a road trip, so my box is living in the back of the car. Great to have mood reads to choose!

  15. Susan L Craig says:

    Once, we accidentally left my TBR tote bag behind when we went to the beach. The little beach town didn’t have any bookstores. The grocery store was tiny & didn’t even carry magazines, much less books. Too bad there weren’t Kindles then!

    • Hildred Sullivan says:

      A similar thing happened to me years ago only I had finished everything I had brought along – we were in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania miles from anything and there was no place to buy anything at all decent to read. What frustration!

    • Caylee says:

      This made me want to cry Susan! I once made my husband drive 30 min one way to the nearest town to buy Ready Player One. We had listened to one of Anne’s podcast episodes on the drive to our vacation spot and it was mentioned. I had to read it immediately!

  16. Sandy says:

    I am planning a long car trip sometime soon and will get audiobooks for the car. So far, I have Ruth Ware’s “The Death of Mrs. Westaway.”

  17. Carrie says:

    For my upcoming family vacation I’m bringing a paperback, an audio and a ebook. That way, no matter the situation I should be able to read! Lessons in Chemistry is on the list.

  18. Jackie says:

    On a recent 10 day trip to Italy, I brought just one book – NK Jemison’s “The Fifth Season” which I had wanted to read but it was way out of my usual genre. Having just this book and not much time to browse book stores limited selections in English, I was “forced” to get into it! Since returning I have also completed the second book in the series, and am now on book three. These are somewhat difficult to understand but great reads.

  19. Sarah Ry says:

    This post arrived at the perfect time. My family is going camping next week over the 4th of July weekend and I was just thinking I need to figure out what books to bring along. 😆 I’m going to make sure I have an audiobook or two downloaded, a few paperback books and if all else fails, I will have to rely on my kindle which has books from every genre I enjoy reading.

  20. Susan says:

    My holiday reading has evolved recently. Always preferring paper to the e-reader, Old Me would carefully choose the books to take: variety, paperback vs hardback, ones I will part with when finished (leave in hotel room), add a couple extra in case one is a dud. Then a few months ago I had a social read discussion right after a holiday and realized I didn’t have a paper copy to take with me so I had to dust off my e-reader and use that (thank heavens it wasn’t obsolete!). That experience was actually pretty good. Gasp! I appreciated the slim and light reader, and the backlighting of the page when needed. It helps, psychologically, that my case flips open sideways, like a paper book would. So now I take that plus one or two (only!) paper books, (and they will be giveaways) in case of electronic failure or while the e-reader is charging.

    • Victoria says:

      I travel on airplanes for a living. On the plane, I use my kindle, so I have plenty of choices and don’t have to worry about a reading light. However, I definitely prefer physical books, so I pack one to read at night in the hotel. It helps me feel more cozy and relaxed because it is my normal routine at home. If I am not looking forward to the trip, having several possibilities from Libby helps.

      • Susan says:

        Oh thank you Victoria. I like that perspective of having a paper book with you as it feels like home. That’s really nice.

  21. Paula Wilding says:

    If I am traveling somewhere where I can’t bring a lot of books (I am a paper book reader), I have a fear that I will end up not liking what I brought…and then what do I do!??! I am a re-reader and those books often get overshadowed by what is new, so when I travel overseas or somewhere with a small bag, I pack books I have been meaning to re-read. I know I will be satisfied by reading something I have meant to read again, and I know I will like it.

  22. Sarah says:

    This is a great discussion. I love planning vacation reading! I agree with a lot of what you wrote, and I’ll add that I like to plan to leave a book or two at a Little Free Library whereever I go– so I try to bring books that I know I’ll finish while on the trip. Similarly, my daughter and I are hiking to the Hike Inn near the beginning of the Appalachian Trail this summer and staying for two days, and I hope to read and leave behind some sort of nature themed book– I’m leaning towards Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray, or Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams (both have been on my TBR for far too long)!

  23. Janelle says:

    I’ve become team kindle all the way while traveling, since I only carry a small 21” suitcase. That doesn’t leave much real estate for physical books! But I love to purchase new and used books at my destination and have been known to ‘donate’ clothing/shoes to free up space in my bag 😂 Perusing local airport bookstores is fun too! Picking up one of their cute tote bags for last minute purchases is my favorite kind of souvenir.

  24. Suzen says:

    I always have to pack at least 2 physical books. I have a fear that my tablet will be dead, or my phone won’t work or something will happen to my electronics. So I must have a backup- to take to the beach or somewhere that the sun might cause problems- no worries about sand and water-and likewise try to pass it along when done.

  25. Grames says:

    I like pairing destinations with books. (Isn’t there a term for this?) We are about to head to New Mexico so I’ll probably take a memoir about life on the Santa Fe Trail. Michael McGarrity also has a good trilogy about southern NM (start with Hard Country) and of course anything by Cormac McCarthy. Santa Fe has some great local bookstores and I always buy a book souvenir. It’s a road trip so no problem stocking up! When flying, like many readers, I take the Kindle and a couple paperbacks.

  26. Jennifer says:

    We just got back from a trip to Italy that had been postponed (as it was for so many, due to Covid). I read One Italian Summer before I left then started another fiction title. We were so tired from exploring that I really didn’t get much reading done in the 10 days we were there. I was able to start Stanley Tucci’s Taste just before we left for home. It was perfect timing because I was able to savor Italy a little longer on my couch. If you haven’t read it this book, do!! So enjoyable!!!

  27. Kristin says:

    I never thought about it before, but I will often save a book I’m looking forward to for a special situation. The title or cover of a book can bring me back to exactly when I was reading (or listening) to it and so I like to pair favorite books with (anticipated) favorite memories. It makes the experience so much richer! People can plan what they will wear for an occasion, why not what they will be reading?

  28. Jennifer Geisler says:

    I used to bring paperbacks on a trip and purchased them as favorite authors released a new one. It gave me a good feeling to know I had a week or two of guaranteed great reads saved up! Now I still plan ahead, purchasing them for my e-reader and not letting myself read them early!

  29. Deirdre says:

    I’ll be too busy on my vacation to do much reading except on the plane, and I will pick that reading the same as I usually do — whatever is available electronically (audio and kindle app on my iPad) through the library that looks interesting at the time. The only difference is that I will make sure to have extra options already downloaded since I will be offline in the air and most of my vacation and don’t want to risk finding I have picked a dud once it’s too late. I will read books related to the destination before I go though!

  30. Michelle says:

    My kids are soccer players and we fly all over the country with their teams. For each of these trips, I can pack my clothes and toiletries in about 5 min flat. However, packing the books I want to bring takes me almost an hour. I stand in front of the bookshelf and think “Do I want this or am I in the mood for that?” I end up bringing at least 4 physical books and several other e-books that I’ve borrowed from the library (I was once on the plane and my e-books wouldn’t load so now I have THAT worry…). Our next soccer trip is in about 2 weeks and I’m already trying to decide if I want to bring one LONG book (eg, Washington by Ron Chernow) along with the e-books or several shorter, lighter reads. I don’t have the answer yet! I do know for sure that I will be visiting the indie bookstores that I see along the way 😉

  31. Christine G. says:

    I just went on a three-week cross-country road trip, and I had some ARCs loaded on my Kindle, and I didn’t read a single page on the whole trip! I was with family, and we were so busy doing other things that I never had a moment to just sit down and read. The trip was fun, so it’s fine, but it would have been nice to have some reading time.

  32. Janet says:

    Unfortunately this will be our 3rd “bummer summer” in a row. In early May I was told I have DCIS (early breast cancer), so no trips this year. My surgery is next Tuesday. I will be on “limited activity” for a week, so any light reading suggestions are welcome! Something funny or even chick lit ideas are being accepted!

    • Michelle says:

      Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Have you read (or re-read) Fannie Flagg? She’s my go to for light, uplifting reads.

    • Margaret says:

      My prayers are with you for a successful surgery, and a quick, uneventful recovery. I am an 8 year breast cancer survivor. I don’t know if you have read The Mitford series by Jan Karon. They are lovey heartwarming stories with many lovable characters. Very easy to read, entertaining, as well as inspirational and uplifting. I have been known to reread them during times of trouble. There is something that is very soothing and peace giving in these stories. I’ll keep you in prayer, and as many people said to me, “You are going to be ok”. God bless you!

    • Mari Ibbs says:

      Best wishes for a positive outcome from a (nine-year and counting) survivor. I giggled through Book Lovers on a recent long car ride. It was light and enjoyable with plenty of silly book banter to distract you. Stay as upbeat and hopeful as you can while visualizing a healthy book-reading future.

    • Lisa says:

      I just finished “Musical Chairs” by Amy Poeppel. It is a fun read with laugh-out-loud moments. Best wishes for a successful surgery and recovery!

  33. Sherry S says:

    I like to read something fluffy, or summery, when I vacation at the beach. This year’s was “Big Summer” by Jennifer Weiner. It was a good choice. My Kindle choice was “Band of Sisters” Lauren Willig. Really absorbing. My one stinker was “The Essex Serpent.” It was as twisty as a serpent and kept me reading on the long, quiet days after my daughter had to go home, but I didn’t care for the book.

  34. Elisabeth says:

    I am so bad about planning my travel reading, because I’m often too distractible to sit and read! Doesn’t help that I haven’t been on a proper vacation in nearly a decade due to various circumstances.

    I will always pack a book that fits the place I am headed, though. I love to do theme reads!

  35. Janice Cunning says:

    So interesting to read all these perspectives. I read much less when on vacation as I almost always go to Europe and enjoy being out and about more (or visiting family). I usually only take one or two physical books. And during the pandemic (when my library briefly closed), I finally got the Libby app and started to read on my phone. I find that easier to do on the airplane ride so I have less to carry. And I always save my podcasts the week I am flying, as I love to listen to those on the plane.

  36. Adrienne says:

    I choose a book or two set in the same area I’m visiting on vacation. If it’s an activity-driven trip, I pick one that includes the activity I’m doing.

  37. Amy Beckett says:

    I try to bring a cookbook that matches the area we are visiting. Or I’ll bring an author that is either from the place we are visiting or is using it as the setting in their book. Sometimes I being a book of essays on road trips and read them aloud which helps keep the conversation lively!

  38. Ann says:

    I like the idea of leaving books as you go, but not sure I could part with my books.

    I learned the hard way to definitely pack books (2 minimum). You might have a situation (aka a pandemic) arise where you will be very sorry you didn’t.

    The last time I read something related to a region traveled to was last summer. This was read vicariously bc I’d actually stayed behind with a bad back while my family took a road trip to Mount Rushmore. I went and got a copy of Winter Counts from my local Half Price Book store and it was the perfect read. The Lakota. Right down to the Runza sandwich that my daughter ate.

    But this summer I will be going to Germany & late Summer, early September, I will also be in Edinburgh for the first time.

    Anne, I need book shop recommendations!!!! The older the better!

    I have already read the latest Douglas Stuart, and quite frankly think it deserves the Booker as well. And I will be there after the short list is announced.

    I need to read up on Mary Queen of Scots.

    We are hoping to do some Harry Potter related site seeing and Outlander as well. The Harry Potter for my daughter (21).

    I’ve already read all of the Outlander books.

    So any Edinburgh/Scotland related suggestions that are not too hefty would be very much appreciated.

    • Ann says:

      P.S. I did not include Germany for my reading bc I will be with three grandsons.

      I figure my daughter will have a few books I have not read.

      And I plan on letting the boys read to me in German, even though I will not understand hardly any of what is said.
      😁

  39. Denise Baysinger says:

    We have typically flown for beach vacations, so would pack a bunch of paperbacks, but I have a kindle, so that sure helps out with choices and lightens my packing. Usually for vacation, I need to de-stress, so I want funny, light hearted and/or uplifting reading. But once I have knocked out a few of those, that is time for something more intense like a mystery or adventure I have been waiting for. I also like to read books flavored to the area I am traveling in – so fun to read about about the ocean when you are sitting under a palm tree! 😊 Happy summer reading!! 📚

  40. Ann says:

    Some great slim volumes that would pack nicely are:
    The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka
    Elena Knows by Claudia Piñeiro
    Heaven by Mieko Kawakami
    Tides by Sara Freeman

    I started all but the last one, but did not finish them. Not bc they were not good, but just ran out of time & have been a distracted reading lately. My books are almost always library books that have due dates & cannot always be immediately rechecked.

    But I noticed their convenient sizes. Great for travel. Despite their size, they are not necessarily light reads.

    The Paper Palace was another not large book that was definitely a page turner.

    I may just pack up the ones I listed above. If I purchase I could leave them with my daughter. She always needs fresh books in English. But with a new baby does not have much free time.

    Anyway, for those having to pack a bag, hope my suggestions help!

  41. Susan says:

    We packed light for our flight and I wanted a paperback I could leave at our beach destination. Since I’m usually all in on the library, but didn’t want to subject a loaner book to surf and sand, I went to our local Target clearance outlet for a look. When I found “Beach Read” by Emily Henry for 5 bucks, it felt serendipitous. 😉 It was indeed, the perfect beach read.
    For road trips, I have also employed a crate for the car. So fun.

  42. Sandy Hoenecke says:

    I have four saved for an upcoming trip-a mystery (The Paris Apartment), time travel (A Rip Through Time), and two book related novels ( Book Lovers and The Lost Storyteller). I will also have my Kindle (110) and iPad (120) so should the four be a bust, I have options. 😝. The summer trip I read two Song of Ice and Fire books sticks out for me as a particular reading-filled time.

  43. Rita says:

    I love vacation reading. I put books on my kindle that are both light fluffy reading and more substantial. I grew up on n a family where there was always a cardboard box filled with my parents books for our annual camping trip to Yosemite. Now I do the same, most books are on my iPad. I’m vacationing this week with my daughters and they’ve got their reads too. One is reading cloud cuckoo land in hardback for her book club!

  44. Christa Hinton says:

    I like the way you think – bringing books you might want to read as well as those you want to read. I like to pack extra books and my Kindle makes that especially possible, because I don’t want to be out on vacation when I finish and book and don’t have anything else to read, or find out that I want to DNR something I’m currently reading without a backup. I also like to find books that related to where I’m traveling, whether that’s historical fiction, contemporary fiction, a memoir, or nonfiction. It makes the trip that much more special when I have an additional connection through my reading.

  45. Christa Hinton says:

    I also have a friend who uses family vacations to choose a book for the while family to read together either before or during the trip that relates to their destination, whether it’s a vacation, a humanitarian trip, etc. It helps her kids make those connections with new cultures, ways of life, religions, and politics.

  46. We go on vacation at about the same time every year, which coincides with new releases from some of my favorite authors, so I always have the beach reads from iconic authors to look forward to. I’m a mood reader and like to have plenty of options on my Kindle and a few audiobooks downloaded. This year 5 library holds became available at once, so I’m packing way more than I’ll ever read. That’s part of the fun, though!

  47. Susan Green says:

    I go for books set in the area of my travels and/or my favorite authors such as Louise Penny, William Krueger, Stephen King, Erin Hillenbrand. They have a large enough output list so I can always find something that I haven’t yet read.

  48. Stephanie S says:

    I load up my Kindle or hit the library and get a variety of genres. I’m never entirely sure what reading mood I’ll be in while on vacation and I want to have choices at my fingertips.

  49. Tiffany Prystay says:

    I usually save a book I know I will LOVE before a trip, especially if it involves a plane. On plane trips I bring 2, 3 books max but I know I can always pick something up in the airport if need be.

    Car trips I try to pack the same but always come back with way more. I always pop into used book stores or little independent stores and find books that I have my TBR list.

    On my most recent trip to Mexico I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and ended up giving it to another mom who had ran out od books to read and still had 5 days left in her trip.

  50. Julie says:

    I am in a phase of life where I just pack whatever I am currently reading. If it is a paper copy, I grab my well supplied Kindle as back up. The only requirement is that I am able to easily dip in & out of whatever I am reading since “vacation” with a 5 year old is anything but slow.

  51. ErinO says:

    Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorite authors. I can’t wait to hear what you thought of “Carrie Soto,” Anne!

  52. Hildred Sullivan says:

    I am heading to California from New Jersey and have taken to only bringing my Kindle (reason I got it really) so I can have plenty of choices for the 6 hour flight. I just ordered a Jenny Colgan book that I hadn’t already read (nice and easy) and have been saving as Zibby Owens’ memoir, the new Findlay Donavan, The Lost Apothacary, and The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox for this trip. If I don’t feel like any of those or a handful of others that are waiting I can always grab something new!

  53. Ruth says:

    It’s usually my Kindle (with a few pre-orders ready to drop; smart romance has been the genre of choice since the pandemic began) and a guide book to wherever we are going.
    Reading time dips on holiday – we are not beach people, so no lolling around on a sunbed with a good book. 🙂 Also, I will usually have a small stash of scrapbooking supplies on hand for working on the journal of our trip.

  54. Ann / InkyLabyrinth says:

    Last vacation (pre-pandemic, seems like way more than three years ago) I ended up only bringing two or three books and because I’m a moody reader–I really needed more choices! This year I’m bringing as many as I can fit in my suitcase, and I’m bringing one from every genre I like to read in summer, just in case! Thinking a nice thick fantasy, a true crime, a family saga, a horror or thriller…I will definitely be prepared this time!!

  55. Kathy says:

    I enjoy reading your articles and lists of books-thank you! A fun travel memoir for me was Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart. Very sweet!

  56. Jennifer says:

    I love to find books set in the area we are vacationing. Sometimes that means waiting to go to the local bookstore when we get there. I have also found some good books left by readers in some of the places we stay. I usually only take 1-2 books with me from my current TBR stack, but they must be “light” reading options. I do like to spend time with my family on vacation too 🙂

  57. Stephanie says:

    I have a pretty regimented reading schedule – I pick out my 4-6 books per week on Saturday, map out how many pages I’ll read each day, and finish all by Saturday when I go to the library to return and pick up holds. I do the same for vacation though I usually try to bring a book per day plus a bonus but I read pretty similarly compared to when I’m at home.

  58. I enjoy reading your articles and lists of books-thank you! A fun travel memoir for me was Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart. Very sweet! The Best Landscape Maintenance Services in Saint Francisville LA, are provided by Landscape King LLC. With practical gardening knowledge and a thorough understanding of horticulture, we have successfully altered and managed a number of gardens. Additionally, our friendly and highly skilled workforce is very aware of your wants and demands. But by offering high-caliber services in St. Franksville, Louisiana, we have gained the confidence of our clients.

  59. Mel says:

    I’m a big saver of books! Every summer, our Dec/Jan in NZ, I save the latest Elin Hilderbrand so I can pretend I’m on my own Nantucket. I also save other books, ones that I feel will be good winter reads, cuddled up under a blanket and a hot drink.

  60. Jenny says:

    Our family spends a week at a cabin every July with my in-laws. For this trip I always pick a title from the summer reading guide for my Kindle and will pay full price for it (which I otherwise almost never do!). It’s my summer treat! I always bring a paperback book as well, since I would not be able to cope if my Kindle didn’t work and I had nothing to read! Pre-pandemic I would travel occasionally for work or we would take a big road trip, and for those trips I would pick a title that was set in the same place as my destination.

  61. Dale says:

    I like to read books related to the destination I’m visiting! One of the most memorable for me was reading Circe by Madeline Miller while I was on a somewhat deserted Greek island myself during the off season. I also like reading mysteries and thrillers when I travel. They’re more fast-paced page-turners for me, making them the perfect beach read or vacation read!

  62. Cariline says:

    I am enjoying a staycation in warm South Carolina and just finished “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing. What a story! I was never so happy to be in a warm place and in my comfortable bed with warm tea available and my dog by my side. It’s not a book to read in the middle of winter. It’s difficult to read in some sections but it was a matter of survival so I can understand. Not for the faint of heart!

  63. Elly says:

    I just returned from a beach week that had some of the most satisfying trip reading I’ve done so far. We have small kids and often vacation with out of town friends who also have small kids. Wherever we are, the days are a lot of work (fun, worth it, but work) and the nights are often grownup hangout time. Two factors meant I got to read a great book during this trip anyway:
    – I picked a book that was small. Travel-sized. Often I’ll bring something brick-ish I haven’t begun, the sheer size of which makes starting feel futile. This time I brought Frederick Buechner’s “The Storm” and felt like it was worth picking up in smaller bits of time because it was so small (and intriguing). It also made it easy to lug out to the beach with all of the other things small kids need/want on the beach.
    – I picked a book set at the beach! I think What Should I Read Next is the place I was introduced to the idea that people pick books about the place they are going. (Seems intuitive, wasn’t for me.) I didn’t go to Florida where “The Storm” is set, but it felt good to experience something like the setting of the book I was reading.

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