As a current traveler of Italy (including such cities as Rome, Naples, briefly Capri, and Turin) my reading desires have gone out the window a little. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true… Traveling is always fantastic, but I’m always stressed about what books to bring, which ones would be most entertaining when I don’t have the luxury of my stuffed bookshelves to peruse when I find a book stagnating. I’ve made a stack of books which I intend to read, but the list is forever growing and growing. As are, unfortunately, the number of books I keep buying. So merely the act of picking books to read in one month is a daunting task.
My Goodreads profile tells me I’ve read 18 books so far this year, with a goal of 40. At my current pace, I’m actually two books ahead of schedule.
After looking at my level of “voracious“-ness when it comes to reading, it seems I’ve got a long line of books to read before I actually die. (About 3,000+ by their estimates!)
(As one author puts it, forcing yourself to read bad books can be “nauseating“.)
Luckily, I’ve decided to put these following books on my MUST READ in 2017 list and they came with me on my travels. The rest, well, those will come to pass. So here they are as of right now. They are more than liable to adjust itself in a few weeks (or a few days, let’s be real); presented in no particular order.
The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
I’m a mega-fan of Winterson ever since I sobbed and soaked up her work Written on the Body, which might be my current favorite book of 2016. I read just about anything by her. Recently I’ve picked up a selection of her slimmer titles, including The Passion and look forward to it. Her stories are powerful, a little fantastical, and definitely heartbreaking. I brought her other slim reads Sexing the Cherry and Art and Lies on previous vacation destinations. Their size and shape are easy to pack in luggage, but don’t be fooled – they are packed with beauty!
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
Another slim read that fit well into my suitcase, but also another favorite author. I’ve so far read The Waves, To the Lighthouse, as well as Mrs. Dalloway by her and of course am captivated by them all. I think To the Lighthouse is my favorite so far. I’m always down to read more Woolf!
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard
While traveling I often like to pick a relevant destination read. Mary Beard seemed like the obvious choice. She is a true scholar and her book is an easy read (yes, I’ve already finished it even!). Her re-telling of Roman history is one that attempts to complicate the stories that valorize or demonize the otherwise complicated history that is Roman history, given how little evidence we have for much of what that time was actually like. It’s a little fatter than I’d like for stuffing in my luggage, but already has proved useful in my tour of Rome and beyond.
Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar
Another relevant travel read, since we already visited Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, just outside Rome. I’ve been trying to start this book for years it feels like. It was a random find in a used bookstore and has been lent to many a people (including my sister for like a year before I remembered it and took it back). Now, I think it’s finally come to get past the prologue…
Transit by Rachel Cusk
Transit is book two in a planned trilogy by contemporary author Rachel Cusk. I read her first part, Outline, while on a weekend getaway to Vermont and couldn’t put it down. I will admit this is a library book, so I absolutely have to bring it home to return it. But it was a last minute addition to my travel books collection as it became available right before I left and I decided to bring it along. I also finished this one and enjoyed it thoroughly. That’s 2/5 books finished already on this holiday!
Don’t even ask me about the books I’ve already bought on this trip, because it’s an embarrassingly high number. Perhaps I’ll share that next time. Until then, happy reading!
[Photo: by me. My current TBR list for traveling.]