Time once again for the Question of the Week. This week’s question comes from Caitie at Pub Writes who asks:
If you could only take five books with you on a ten day trip, what would they be?
Funny you should ask this, Caitie, as I’m preparing for an upcoming vacation and the FIRST thing I think about when packing for a vacation is “What books should I take with me to read?” (Not practical things like “What is the weather like where I’ll be going and what kinds of clothes should I pack?”)
In thinking about this question, it occurred to me that there is an equation for packing books for vacation in which:
- Div = Diversity. You don’t want to read all the same type of books or authors. I suspect the optimal ratio is F3:NF1 (3 fiction to 1 non-fiction), with the NF being more humorous than too heavy. (Who wants heavy serious non-fiction on a trip? Not me.) I would mix up mysteries with a thriller with flat-out humor with a little bit of historical fiction (so you look smart to your fellow travelers).
- Ch = Chunkster. If one of your books ends up being a dud, a chunkster will act like two books and make up for the dud. Depending on the size of your luggage, you need a minimum of one chunkster but optimally two. The advent of e-book readers helps to make the bringing of chunksters on vacation less problematic than it used to be.
- PQ = Proven Quantity. Although you don’t want to spend your vacation rereading books, you do want an author you KNOW will not disappoint. This is the time to bring along the latest book by your favorite author. Think of it as vacationing with a friend!
- H1 v. L3 = Heavy vs. Light. You want to ensure your books aren’t too heavy (not in weight; in tone) as who wants to be sobbing their eyes out on a beach? This doesn’t mean “happy happy joy joy” type of books but ones that aren’t going to hollow you out on the inside and cause you to throw yourself off the Tower of Pisa (on the off-chance you happen to be vacationing where the Tower of Pisa is located).
So the equation ends up looking something like this:
After I ran the equation, here are the five books I’d read on my trip … and the bloggers I can “blame” for making me want to read them … and the sections of the equation they satisfy.
- Fingersmith by Sarah Waters – Everyone just loves this book. Here is the review by Connie at Constance Reader’s Guide to Throwing Books with Great Force that first made me want to try it out. (CH F L)
- Stone’s Fall by Iain Pears – Jackie over at Farm Lane Books Blog pretty much forced me to read this with her rapturous review. (CH, F, H)
- Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk – If Jill from Fizzy Thoughts doesn’t shut up about how awesome this book is, I’m going to have to slap some duct tape on her typing fingers. There was a few weeks there where I think she mentioned this book in every single post (I might be exaggerating a teeny tiny bit … but not really). This review by Rebecca at The Book Lady’s Blog didn’t help either. (F, L)
- How To Get Things Really Flat by Andrew Martin – I blame Alyce over at At Home With Books for this one. I’m expecting to laugh and get some housekeeping tips at the same time so how could I go wrong. Find out why Alyce made me want this book here. (NF, L)
- Bite Me by Christopher Moore – Hmmmm…the latest book by my favorite author that was just released? How could I possibly have this when I have a book buying ban for 2010? How about an unrelenting campaign by me against Mr. Jenners for an Easter present!? (Note: We’ve never exchanged Easter presents ever … but this year we did thanks to my browbeating him into buying this for me so I could read it. I just cannot WAIT for it until 2011, can I? No … of course not. That would be cruel.) (PQ, F, L)
So now I just need someone to pay for a 10-day trip for me. Anyone? Anyone at all? Warren Buffet, do you read my blog? How about you?
So how about you? What 5 books would YOU take on a 10-day vacation? Let me know in the comments.