In a week, I will be married. After a year of planning, my wife and I will be off to Greece for two weeks of well-earned relaxation. Naturally, the most important part of our preparation for the trip was deciding what books to bring for the plane ride and the beach.
Our first rule of choosing our honeymoon books was that we wanted books we were both interested in reading. To make things easy, we chose to stick with new releases rather than bring the entire history of the written word into play. We also agreed early on that we wanted novels — no nonfiction, poetry, or drama allowed.
When traveling internationally, weight is a premium and every ounce counts. Keeping that in mind, we decided that our literary candidates had to be under 500 pages (sorry, East of Eden. We’ll finish when I get back). We also shied away from hefty paperbacks.
The second thing we decided on was what kind of books we wanted to bring. For obvious reasons, we shunned anything involving airplane crashes (sorry, Life of Pi). We left the bookstore with three books, including one that violated our earlier ban on hardcovers.
We settled on The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins first, because we both love mysteries and suspense. From the dust jacket and the reviews, it’s classic, edge-of-your-towel beach reading.
Second, Stephanie chose Amy Tan’s seminal Joy Luck Club. It’s been on her list for a while and even I’m intrigued. I’m sure that 25 years of critical praise has not been misplaced.
Third, we both chose The Martian by Andy Weir. We’re both gigantic nerds who are super into all manner of scifi. Also, it sounds like the kind of book I would like to write, so naturally I’m curious about how Weir pulls it off.
Finally, I’m bringing an old favorite to reread toward the end of our trip. Our final days will be in Athens, in the shadow of the Acropolis. Such an experience would not feel complete without Plato, so I’m also bringing my copy of The Trial and Death of Socrates.
The chance to sit in the amphitheaters where the great philosophers taught and read about the final days of one of the greatest minds in Western thought is good to pass up.
What books are on your summer reading list? Let me know in the comments.
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Jonny Eberle is a bibliophile and a philosopher in the Ancient Greek sense. You can follow his travels here and on Twitter.