Saturday, August 5, 2017

Packing Books for a Vacation

Scott D. Parker

We’re all readers here, right? This is a safe place where we can disclose our most treasured secrets about books and our habits. Well, tell me if you do something similar.

Last weekend the family and I traveled to Texarkana, Texas, for a late summer vacation before school starts. None of us had been up there and we used the town as home base as we scoured flea markets and antique stores. We also headed up to Arkansas to dig for diamonds and quartz.

Whenever I travel, I like to find a book set in or around the region of the vacation. Last year when we went to Big Bend, I read RETURN OF THE RIO KID by Brett Halliday. What would I bring this year?

Texarkana is on the border of the piney woods of East Texas and the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. I’m reading a lot of westerns as I write my own (THE KILLING OF LARS FULTON was released this week) so I had the perfect book: LONGARM AND THE OZARK ANGEL. I hadn’t read it and with it set in Arkansas, what better book to read?

But I’ve also been in a contemporary bestseller mood this summer. I read a couple of Janet Evanovich novels and wanted to keep on that trend as well. The latest paperback from John Grisham is THE WHISTLER. I haven’t read a Grisham novel in a long time, so when I was at Kroger stocking up on supplies, I threw a copy into the basket. I shrugged. As much as I like to pack light, I still want to have my bases covered if a particular mood strikes me on the road.

That was also where my Kindle came into play. I’ve got the Paperwhite chock full of westerns and a brand-new-to-me author Avery Duff and his book BEACH LAWYER. Sure I wasn’t’ going to the beach but I had a good summer read on hand.

I think I had most bases covered. I even threw in my latest copy of Men’s Journal. I brought my laptop of course. I am between books, but I wanted the Mac on hand if lightening struck.

Well, lightening struck, but not in any of the aforementioned ways.

We stopped in Jefferson, Texas, and shopped at a few antique stores. Our favorites were the ones with air condition! In one of them, I hit the jackpot. I found a motherlode of old paperback westerns, maybe two hundred or more, all for a dollar each. I ended up buying a couple. One of them was FOUR MUST DIE: A WALT SLADE WESTERN by Bradford Scott.

And that’s the book I read on my vacation. It’s a slim volume, 127 total pages. I read 110 in Texarkana and finished the morning after we returned. I reviewed it yesterday.

So much for all that pre-planning on reading material. I’ll get to those books, especially the Longarm one since the countryside of Arkansas is fresh in my mind.

Do y’all spend almost as much mental activity on what book you’ll read on vacation as you do on everything else? And do y’all stick with that reading material or find something along the way?

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