I am on my way to Brighton, England for a week to celebrate my father-in-law’s 90th, and then to Belgium to eat chocolate and drink beer for another week. Packing for England is always a dilemma. It could be hot. It could be cold. It will likely rain. But the most difficult decision is which books to bring. I need to write three syllabi for a new teaching job (don’t worry, I’m not leaving Hamline—this is just extra) before we get back so there are all the writing books I must bring. Then there are books I will need to reread to see if I want to have my students study them (thank god for Hamline’s required and recommended bibliography). Then there’s my own novel, which my editor wants to see in a new draft when she gets back from vacation in early September, so I need to bring my research books. (Yes, even fiction can require research reading). The current research book I have is The Lost Art of Walking by Geoff Nicholson (my character does a long-distance walk.)

And then there’s pleasure. Remember that? Yesterday I was given three books-for-pleasure. The Hunger Games (I haven’t read it yet, as I tend to put off buzz books until the buzz dies down—I may be able to handle it now), The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, by David Mitchell, and a collection of short stories, The Elephant Vanishes, by one of my favorite writers, Haruki Murakami. Of course, I have already read Brighton Rock by Grahame Greene.

What we take with us on vacation can be quite revealing, not to mention quite heavy. I have a full suitcase. I wonder if, like Liza revealed a few blogs back, I need to break down and get myself an e-reader. I am quite smitten with the Ipad—though I think mainly because of its cool Mac packaging.

I shall try to add a blog or two while overseas, but if not you’ll know I’m lost in books, or perhaps in Belgium!