September Wrap Up – and some handy hints on how to choose the books to take away on holiday

This wrap up is later than usual and we are now a bit further into October than I would like. This is due to having spent some time away from my home and my laptop assisting an elderly relative who has just had a hip replacement.

This month my blogs were about books which featured relationships in some way. Many books have a relationship at the heart of the story so it was quite easy to find books to read and review that met the criteria. For October I am writing bout books which feature animals or which have animals in the title – I already have quite a list ready to start when I have the time to write.

In addition to assisting ailing relatives I also spent a week away on holiday this month in rural County Durham. The weather was great and the scenery was spectacular but as I packed to go away I faced the perennial problem of the avid reader – how many books should I take with me ? Remember too that I am trying to read through my physical books to clear my to-be-read shelves (an ambition regularly thwarted by my habit of filling them up again by books purchased in charity shops and similar places). After years of experimenting and getting it wrong here are my top tips for the way to calculate how many books to bring and which ones to include :

  1. Take 1.5 books for each day you are away. This applies if you read as quickly as I do although I don’t expect to read all the books I take but it gives a nice selection. This guideline is for UK holidays, of course, if you are flying or lugging suitcases on a train you may wish to take most of your books electronically.
  • Forget reading serious books. I have in the past taken heavy non-fiction books and thought that the holiday would give me a chance to read them. I have also, occasionally brought with me books that have been languishing on my shelves unread for a long time in the hope that the break will make me tackle them. This has never been successful so now I take lighter books. Usually fiction, which better fit the mood of the holiday.
  • Take shorter books. You don’t want to be ploughing through one book for the whole of your holiday, however exceptional it is. Take shorter books which are also lighter to carry and to tuck in a bag if you go off somewhere for the day.
  • Take a variety of genres. You have no idea what you will be in the mood for when you are away so try to take lots of variety. One of my pleasures in life is trying to come up with the pile of books to take away and it can take weeks before the holiday to refine the collection and get the right mixture.
  • Take a loaded Kindle for a reserve. This is my rule because I love my Kindle and use it all the time. You never run out of books and can always buy and read immediately anything you fancy as long as you have a connection – even abroad. They don’t like electronic readers on aeroplanes though when taking off and landing so it is useful to have a paper one too. Do remember a charger as well.
  • Take the opportunity to add to your book stock but don’t rely on it. Holiday cottages, B and Bs and other such places often have books left by previous visitors that you can read and take away. Almost every town in the UK is filled with charity shops and places where you can get cheap books. You will almost certainly add to your unread book pile when on holiday (unless you go abroad to a non-English speaking country, although I did find English books in Rome !). Don’t rely on it though because you might not find anything that takes your fancy – be prepared with the books you choose and bring but don’t be surprised if you bring home more than you set out with.
  • Remember that you don’t have to read them all. Your holiday is exactly that – a break from your normal routine. You may read more books than usual or you may read fewer. It doesn’t matter at all.

Whether at home or away I wish you good reading in the next month.

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