Vacation Reading List: Debrief

Here was my original plan for this vacation. How have I done so far?

  • I have two copies of The Little Horses of Tarquinia checked out of the library, one in Swedish and one in French. I don’t normally like to take library books with me on international trips but I’m making an exception this time around. I’m on my way to finishing both of these before my trip is over, if I don’t get distracted by doomscrolling. These have been my steadfast companions during sleepovers and leisurely Amtrak journeys.
  • Back issues of Karavan that I can conveniently leave in airplane seat pockets or on buses without feeling guilty. Couldn’t have paced this better. I have maybe half an issue left, perfect for in-flight reading back home.
  • Rose/House for the Austin Feminist Sci-Fi Book Club (ebook). Finished!
  • There’s always The Essays of Michel de Montaigne I have at the ready on my phone. And yet, I don’t think I even opened it.
  • The Gray House was a free Kindle download on World Translation Day years ago. I was almost immediately put off by the book and had forgotten about it until it turned up as the Armenian entry in the Eurovision Book Contest, so I might give it another shot. Spoiler: I did not give it another shot.
  • A David Graeber paperback of some kind, though whether it’s re-reading Debt or branching out into The Dawn of Everything I have yet to decide. I went with re-reading Debt, and am nearly done that. Whatever I have left unread (un-reread?) will remain so; I brought it along specifically to pass on to my parents.

What did I read instead?

  • At the last minute I threw an Ester Blenda Nordström book in my bag, just in case I didn’t have enough to read. This was unnecessary. I haven’t even opened it yet.
  • In Seattle I acquired a copy of Gift From the Sea, which has been on my to-read pile since a friend had me read a selection from it at her wedding in 2015. (Or perhaps 2014?) I finished it on a bus somewhere between Des Moines and Chicago. It is now boxed up, waiting to be shipped to Sweden.
  • In Des Moines I acquired a copy of Braiding Sweetgrass, which has been recommended and reviewed by several people whose taste I trust. They did not lead me wrong here. I finished it on the bus from Chicago and released it into the wild at a Greyhound station in Indianapolis.
  • I also had an ebook copy of Severance for our Austin Feminist Sci-Fi Book Club that I forgot to mention in my original list. I finished that, though I barely remember where or when.
  • While at my parents’ house I relaxed with a couple pieces of kid lit that I’d always meant to read but never got around to: Emil and the Detectives, Berries Goodman.
  • I also had a package waiting for me from a friend with assorted books. Out of those I finished a precious tiny baby volume of Kafka short stories (the Penguin Classics edition of “The Judgement” and “In the Penal Colony”) and Abraham H. Maslow’s Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences.
  • I made a pit stop to renew one of my library cards and immediately picked up I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
  • Out of the several boxes of books I was originally intending to mail to Sweden, I blazed through Full House: The Spread of Excellence From Plato to Darwin and passed it on to a friend I thought would be interested in it. I love Stephen Jay Gould but there are other books of his that I’d rather have in my permanent collection.
  • Down in Austin I acquired a copy of The Barbizon, which has been on my to-read list since it was featured in LitHub back in 2021, and which I blazed through in a day and a half and was able to pass on to another member of the Austin Feminist Sci-Fi Book Club.
  • Bonus book read in Austin: We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Every time I travel somewhere, one of my most primal fears is that I won’t have enough to read. And yet this just goes to show that I will always have enough to read.

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Stockholm-based translator and copyeditor of American extraction.

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