Since we're past the Fourth of July and the summer season has officially started, what are your plans for the summer? Vacations, trips? Trips that involve reading? Reading plans? If you're going somewhere, do you do any reading to prepare? Do you read local literature as part of your trip? Have you thought about using the LT Local feature to help plan your book-buying?
We don’t have any exciting travel plans scheduled for the summer. We went to California for a vacation in May and just got back from a five day weekend diving in St. Eustatius. I may try and fit in some family obligations this summer in Nebraska and upstate New York but work is very busy and I don’t know if I will be able to get away.
I don’t have any specific reading plans for the summer but I tend to think of the classics as summer reading. When I was in college I often took a literature course or two when I was home during the summer for fun and to rack up a couple extra credits so when I think of D.H. Lawrence, Henry James, Theodore Dreiser and Willa Cather I associate them with summer time. I may not read any classics this summer but as it gets hotter and hotter I tend to read more. Instead of feeling compelled to do chores and be productive with my spare time, keeping cool becomes an actual activity and lounging by the pool with a good book becomes justified indolence.
When I do travel I always try and read a few books set in my destination before the trip. Before our trip to India last fall I read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie. Before visiting Vietnam I read the Quiet American by Graham Greene, Catfish and Mandala by Andrew Pham and Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong. Before I visited Peru I read the Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thorton Wilder, Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield and the Puma’s Shadow by A.B. Daniel, a fictionalized story about the Incas. It can sometimes be hard to find fiction set in the location that you are visiting but usually Lonely Planet guides have a small section on further reading and Longitude Books ( A web site of “Recommended Reading for Travelers”) often has good ideas.
I have tried the LT local feature and have not found it helpful. I don’t tend to read much while I am actually traveling but do take my ipod with audio books for the plane rides.