A week-long vacation in a tropical paradise. You know what I’m thinking, because you’re thinking it, too…
What books to pack?
Recently the Dear Man and I joined my sister’s family on a vacation to Costa Rica to visit our aunt and uncle.
So yes, I packed two swimsuits and a sun hat and a gallon of sunscreen and sandals… but most of my packing energy focused on the books. There were hard decisions to make, people. My primary criterion: weight. So I went with all paperbacks.
Here’s what I packed…
And coming up… the big reveal of What I Actually Read. But first…
What I did instead of reading
So here’s the thing. With a party of 8, things stay busy. And the most fun I really can even imagine. I love these people.
My vision was this: while the teenagers are surfing, their auntie will be reading. In reality, it was too much fun watching the kids surf and talking with my people and playing in the waves. So the books stayed in the beach bag, and that was just fine.
We spent time in the air (ziplining— a huge triumph for she who fears heights) and in the water (paddle boarding in the sea).
And we ate wonderful foods (gallo pinto and casado and pizza #106 and heavenly coffee). But as we know, in the end…
Reading always wins
I grabbed a little reading time while hanging out on the balcony of the house we rented and lounging in the room with a view (oh my land, what a view).
I read the middle section of No More Words: A Journal of My Mother, Anne Morrow Lindbergh by Reeve Lindbergh, which seemed a strange but perfect thing to read while on vacation. (Reading about Alzheimer’s is not particularly light or jolly.)
I actually bought the book at the Charles Lindbergh home in Minnesota during a long weekend, so it was a book bought on vacation and read on vacation. And the book made me think all kinds of thoughts, and it was a pleasure to have the time to consider them.
So I had just enough time for some basic maintenance reading there on the ground…
It wasn’t until our long flight home that my books got much attention. And then it got serious.
Here’s what I read…
- I finished the Lindbergh book.
- Then I read our upcoming book club book cover to cover. This sounds all impressive, but since the book is only 176 pages long, it’s not that grand an achievement. Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth was a great vacation book: it’s a swift-moving, surprising, violent Western romp featuring hippos. I don’t mind flying, but the cramped quarters make me glad to be able to escape somewhere else on long flights.
- Then I read a couple of essays from Portage: A Family, A Canoe, and the Search for the Good Life by Sue Leaf, including a chapter about a river the Dear Man and I have canoed (hello, beautiful Upper Iowa!)
- And then I dove into Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, which I also bought on a previous vacation (at the marvelous Novel Neighbor bookstore in Webster Groves, Missouri). And I read half the book on the flight and kept saying to the Dear Man, “This book is so good.”
Now that we’re home, the poor neglected book is in a holding pattern while I get caught up on laundry and all the other adulting things that are clamoring for my attention. But the lovely thing is that once I immerse myself in the book again, it’ll transport me not only into the story itself, but also into The Vacation Feeling. I love that.
So, my fellow readers… what’s your favorite vacation reading tactic?