Books, Life

books. packing. travel. decisions

Next week, I return to Eastern Europe for five months. I want to pack as simply as possible. And by that I mean ‘pack as many books as I can possibly jam into my bags’.

Here’s a handy little guide for you so that you too can fill your bags with as many books as possible …

i’ve done this before #noragrats
*** DISCLAMIER ***
I know, I know – just take a kindle, you can take hundreds of books that way. Sure. Do that. I have done and will do … but I also take physical books with me.  BECAUSE I HAVE TO OKAY???

HOW MUCH SPACE DO I HAVE?

  • a carry on case
  • a laptop bag

CRITERIA:

THE BOOK MUST NOT BE A STOOPID CHOICE

Weight and space are limited in your bag, so you need to take books that will be useful, that you can reread or that will take absolute yonks to consume.

For this reason, I’m taking two books on teaching and grammar and a book with creative writing exercises.

THE BOOK MUST NOT BE TOO HEAVY

… or it can be. (Rules are made to be broken, or so the saying goes.) I’m taking a 500+ page hardback about Calvinism with me. I’ve been wanting to read it for years and now is the time.

But – if you can – try and avoid hardbacks. If the book is thick – having it in paperback could be the way to go. I’m doing this too – taking The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore with me (600+ pages. Also I’ve just sniffed them and is there anything better than the smell of books?)

i just REALLY love books, okay?

THE BOOK MUST NOT BE PRICELESS

though i’ve just learned that i’m missing one so OOPS

Travelling with your books is dangerous – for the books, at least. Though you try your very best to keep them in a pristine condition … it’s quite impossible sometimes.

So choose a book you’re not happy to be battered, but you’ll at least be okay with it turning up a little worse for wear.

I’m bringing a paperback set of the Pit Dragon Chronicles by Jane Yolen. I paid a dollar a piece for them so if they get a little worn, I shan’t be too concerned.

THE BOOK MUST BE A HEYER

Because OBVIOUSLY.

I nearly considered leaving her behind as I have many on my kindle HOWEVER … this moment of profound foolishness has since passed and I’m taking Frederica with me. (Cotillion may slip in or replace it, I’m not sure.)


I may not actually finish all these books – I will be teaching, after all, and life will be moderately busy. But having my books about me is the same as being surrounded by friends. And I adore my friends.

Also, I’ll be taking my Bible, a book I borrowed from someone, and a few notebooks.

… I don’t have a problem. I just have priorities. And who needs clothes anyway?

Life, On Research

The Traveller Returns!

I had to give up several items of clothing, a pair of shoes and an hairbrush, but I did it; with only a handbag and a carry on case I brought nineteen books home with me.

They* say that travelling broadens the mind and enriches the pen. They could be correct.

As I looked out of the airplane window on the way home, I thought that maybe this whole experience was a gift from God, all nicely wrapped up with a big red bow. I’ve been blessed. Very blessed.

A little like this.

I had only ten days’ notice. Ten days and then I was off for a month and a half in the U.S.A. Yes, you are right in thinking that it was all very sudden. And no, no one had died. The real explanation is quite a lengthy one, but needless to say, everything dropped into place just like a really good game of Tetris.

out of a plane window
Have I mentioned how much I love clouds? No? Well, I do.

Having never been on a big ol’plane before, traveling on one was certainly an experience. So was being patted down for a random search. And having my bag searched (these things seem to happen to me. Only my hairbrush handle would resemble the neck of a bottle of liquid and thus have my poor pink carry on case pulled over).

Thankfully, all the airport staff were very pleasant.

I’ve acquired so much material for future blog posts on this adventure (adventure sounds so much better than ‘trip’, doesn’t it?). There were the clouds that resembled ice caps, that time I fainted from embarrassment, that really, really loud canon and the books.

Ah yes, the books. I read a fair few and wandered halls that were covered in books, buildings that were dedicated to books and little nooks and crannies that also had … you guessed it … tons of books (or as the Americans seemed to say ‘a bunch of books’. No. There wasn’t a bunch. There was a ton. A hundred tons. So many tons that I wondered how many butchered trees I was standing in the presence of).

And no, I do not speak of a library (though I did visit one of those quite a few times). I speak of … of … well, a post should be popping up in the near future dedicated to The Place of Which I Speak.

I arrived home (Oh England! You are a green and pleasant land even from the air. Especially from the air) and went to bed that night more tired than I have ever been in my life.

But I’m home and this blog has now been awakened from its hibernation.

Hiya folks!

Ness Kingsley has returned.

 *I have no idea who ‘they’ are. Perhaps ‘they’ are half a genuine ‘they’ and half my own invention.