For some of you, a vacation book is the book you always meant to read. The obligation book. The book that your friends recommended or that will make you smarter for reading it.
For others of you, a vacation book is the newest book by your favorite author, the one you’ve been saving until your vacation so you can read it uninterrupted by the usual distractions of life.
That used to me. I used to bring the best-sounding book with me on vacations—the kind that kept me up late and pull me so fully into their world that my mind would linger in those fictional realms long after I’d set the book aside.
I love those kinds of books, but they make terrible vacation novels. I don’t remember large chunks of my childhood vacations because I spent them lost inside these wonderful books.
Now I’m much more picky. I want to enjoy my vacations and make memories of my adventures, which means I can’t bring the book that I don’t want to put down. However, I’m not going to go on a vacation without a book! (I’m not a heathen!)
The vacation books I choose now have to meet a fine balance of being interesting without being too interesting. Usually this means picking a new-to-me author and a genre that is a cousin to one I adore. And it means reading that book ONLY on vacations.
On my recent trip to New York, I finished my last vacation book. It only took 3 years and 4 vacations to finish the novel.
Spreading a book out like that is weird (even for me), but it did have an unforeseen result: I remember the plot exceptionally well. It swam around in my thoughts for those three years, unfulfilled. Even though it was essentially a forgetful book, and I never had the urge to finish the book when I got home from vacation, it now is pretty firmly rooted in my brain. (I won’t tell you the book’s title or author, because I admire this author but simply didn’t fall in love with this book.)
I started my new vacation book while in New York. It’s a steampunk romance. It’s cute but not compelling. I imagine it’s going to take me a few years and a few vacations to finish this novel, too.
Side note: I adore the idea of steampunk but haven’t read many books in the genre that really captured my attention. I had plans of making the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles more steampunk (you can see hints of it in Mika’s Victorian house and in the steam-run train), but the world refused to be bottled into the steampunk parameters. One of these days, I’ll find a story that works in that genre.
What about you? Do you have any rules when it comes to reading, especially in regards to vacation books? Or am I the only one?