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The Perils of Taking Too Many Books on Your Holiday Trip, and Other 1% Problems

2498786282_65542d9eeb_bThe Spectator has a solution for anyone who is haunted by the prospect of having too much to read while vacationing on the French Riviera:

Holidays are a welcome chance to lose ourselves between the covers of a book, especially for those of us who struggle to find time to read amid the assorted tyrannies of daily life. So the book that ends up in your suitcase had better be a worthy companion.

But too few is better than too many. Aside from the indignity of having to wear all your jumpers at once to get your book-heavy bag through airline weight restrictions, limiting your choice means you’ll settle down to one book rather than distractedly flitting between several on your e-reader. Moreover, if you run out of things to read while you’re away, you will find yourself borrowing from a friend or even a stranger, or pilfering from the (usually well-stocked) shelves of the villa or B&B. You will most likely alight on something which you’d never have thought of at home, and this serendipity almost always leads to the perfect book. Then, when it’s time to return home, you could leave a book behind, ready to be discovered by a future holiday reader.

I can’t imagine anything worse than being able to afford to buy so many books that I cannot bring them all on the flight to my vacation, can you?

This was really stressing me out but fortunately my life coach, herbalist, and Freudian analyst have staged an intervention and come up with a solution.

Rather than concern myself with such trifles, I have hired a personal librarian to manage my vacation library for me. He will work closely with the librarian who manages the library at my Upper West Side penthouse, and make sure that I always have the best and most thought-provoking book to read.

That’s the best solution, don’t you think?

image by LWYang

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Kit July 20, 2016 um 1:15 pm

There’s so little in the article about ereaders (just that one sentence, I think) that I wonder if this was a previously published article (from 10 years ago or something) that they just recycled.

Nate Hoffelder July 20, 2016 um 1:17 pm

You could be right.

DavidW July 20, 2016 um 2:47 pm

If you bring a ton of books on vacation you’ll likely exceed the weight limit even for checked baggage. An ereader on the other hand weighs less than a pound and you can fit it in your pocket. The article is irrelevant and dismissing an ereader because it gives you the problem choice is just stupid.

R Coots July 20, 2016 um 3:05 pm


That is all.

MelM July 21, 2016 um 10:11 am

The author is expressing two opposite goals. First that she needs to spend a ton of time matching her books to her destination. If she is going to Spain she can only read books set in Spain. But on the other hand she has to make sure she doesn’t take enough books because fate always hands her perfect reading material. Now if I had a fairy bookmother who brought me perfect free reading material I wouldn’t bother to pack anything. But since the only books I ever find in holiday rentals are mold-smelling copies of local fishing guides and 40 year old bestsellers in genre I don’t read I’ll stick with my ereader.

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