Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sunday Salon: Traveling Inside and Outside of Books

I know, it isn't Sunday.  But I happen to be on vacation in the Caribbean, which makes the day of the week irrelevant.  Every day is Sunday, right?  And I'm feeling book-muse-ish and so to the Sunday Salon I go.

We are staying on St. John, with a bunch of family and friends in order to celebrate my husband's brother's wedding, so there is more visiting than sight-seeing.  Good thing, then, that I was able to see so much of that recently @ As the Crowe Flies and Reads!  (Besides, she seemed to have used up all of November's good's been mostly rainy since we've been here, so her pictures are much better than anything I could supply!)  We are in Francis Bay, and it has been a lovely time of visiting with family and journeying to other places through literature.

Which brings me to what I've been pondering.  When you travel, do you like to read books that take place where you are visiting?  Island books in the Caribbean?  English countryside books whilst visiting the UK?  Gossip and style in Los Angeles?  Or do you, like me, refrain from specializing in one area?  Since I've left home, I've not only arrived in tropical islands, I've also visited Japan through After the Quake, stopped over in the American Southwest in the first 100 pages of No Country for Old Men (couldn't bring myself to finish that one), as well as 1950s England in The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, Edinburgh in The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, a peak into Russia in Anna Karenina, and am now in Ireland/America in On Canaan's Side.  It's been wonderful.

Books are my preferred method of travel, I must confess.  No airports or red-eye flights.  None of the grime or plugged ears that inevitably find me by the end of a long journey.  I can simply open the covers of a new book and immerse myself in a new world.  And I don't like to stay in any one place for too long...going other places in my reading allows me to better appreciate the place I'm at.  I might get on a kick for a specific topic, but interjecting other things helps keep it fresh.

Meanwhile my 11 year-old daughter gets here and reads (& REreads) The Cay...while she's surrounded by islands and cays.  What about you?  Do you prefer to saturate yourself or jump around?


  1. Very jealous, though sorry about the rainy weather. I'd love to hear what you think about The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. I like to read about a place before I go. Volumes usually. In fact, my enthusiasm for visiting a place is often in direct proportion to how much I've read about it. Once I'm there, it doesn't much matter what I read. As long as it's a good setting for some reading. Have a great time!

  2. I like to jump around...if I'm going to read something specific about where I'm going, I try to read those before I give myself a foundation for what I'm going to experience. But, once I leave, it's all about relaxation and enjoying my surroundings :)

  3. I always read at least one novel set in the region/country I'll be visiting ahead of time and then pack at least one to read whilst there. This means I've read Caribbean fiction almost exhaustively!

    Sorry to hear that it's been so rainy. But I hope to see photos and read trip report when you get back. Are y'all in a villa? I didn't see Francis Bay when on the island, I don't think.

  4. I am such an armchair traveller too.

    I do try to read in the setting I am in though; on honeymoon I read Interview With The Vampire in New Orleans and The Secret Life of Bees in the Deep South. It adds a bit of atmosphere :)

    And you've read some wonderful books! Enjoy the rest of your holiday!

  5. Yes, before travelling to a place I always try to read books set in that place. Here's my list when I went on the Trans-Siberian last year:

    I also tend to buy books about a certain place when I'm already there, as souvenirs. Here's a recent list:

    Have fun!

  6. Lucky you! Even though it's raining there, it's better than being in a snowstorm in VA. (We had a very freak snowstorm a week ago.)The Caribbean sounds great right now. My only rule for vacation reading is that is has to be fun. Nothing even remotely educational. :)

  7. Thanks for your comments! I'm finally home and it just feels wonderful. I do agree that reading about your location really enhances your experience being there...but it has to be a place that I have an extra interest in or it is overwhelming.

    I'm planning on posting soon about my trip--I got some good reading done that's for sure. :)


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