books,  writing

Packing List: Don’t Forget Books

I’m going on a vacation soon that will involve several long flights and train rides, so I’ve packed a couple of books that I’m really excited about reading. I’ve been saving them for the trip. They’ve been sitting on my nightstand, like pretty presents, and it has taken every ounce of restraint not to crack into them before I depart.

First on my list is Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, about a Midwestern American family that–if Franzen’s prior books are any indicator–is sure to be deeply dysfunctional. Reviewers have called it “the Great American Novel” to be considered “on a level with The Great Gatsby. My husband and I bought Freedom to take with us on the trip, but I have dibs on reading it first. I cannot wait to binge on Franzen’s sharp prose on the plane.

The other book I’m stashing in my suitcase is The Help by Kathryn Stockett, about black women working as maids in the segregated state of Mississippi of the early 1960s. Stockett is a first-time novelist who is currently living every writer’s dream–to have a debut novel shoot to the tops of the bestseller lists.

Wait, I just noticed that both of these books have birds on the cover…wonder if that has anything to do with their stellar sales records? Note to self: birds on cover.


  • Maggie

    If you have the chance to download the audio version of The Help, it will blow you away! I read the book and loved it, but I’ve listened to the audio (several times) and it’s an entirely different (and utterly amazing) storytelling experience. Enjoy the trip!

  • Jean

    I read The Help on our spring vacation and loved it! The characters are so real and I thought about them for weeks after finishing the book. Have a great vacation!

  • Susan

    Both books are over 500 pages, so hopefully they will be enough. If not, one of my travel companions is an avid reader and she’s bringing 5 books with her that I haven’t read, so I can borrow them.