travel reading.

There are two types of people in this world: those who pick out and pack a perfect set of books for an upcoming trip, and those who pick out and pack a perfect set of clothes for an upcoming trip.

I, as you can well imagine, am of the former persuasion.

And really, is there anything better than travel reading?  


I’ve been in Michigan for the past four days, attending a writing conference with 5000 of my best internet friends. It’s been nothing short of a gleeful, anticipatory, campy reunion with the people whose names I recognize more than the profile picture that oftentimes bears too faint of a resemblance to the fleshy human I find myself hugging (myself included, I’m sure).

And as I sit in the Detroit airport right now, tired from lack of sleep and overstimulation and general For the Love of Everything Fantastic feels, the only thing I can then leave you with today are some thoughts on travel reading.

Because travel reading: it’s the best.

So, what books did I then bring with me, to read on the plane, there and back, without children and husband and even friend to distract me? 

It’s this:

White Teeth (Zadie Smith) – Smith was a speaker at this year’s festival, and I was bound and determined to try my hardest to get to know featured authors by reading their words beforehand. Even though I’ve known of Zadie Smith for awhile now, this is actually the first book of hers I’ve read. And the verdict thus far? Zany. Witty. Brilliant.

This Boy’s Life (Tobias Wolff) – Another featured speaker, I’ve had Wolff on my list for the past couple of years because he’s nothing short of famous when it comes to memoir. And the story of his childhood does not disappoint. I, for one, wish I had a stories of running away to Alaska, forging checks and stealing cars under my belt!

Thumbprints in the Clay (Luci Shaw) – Shaw as been a fan favorite of the festival for the past several years, but due to sickness, was unable to attend at the last minute. When it comes to her writing, I’m a big fan of her poetry, but haven’t quite gotten the hang of her prose. I’m hoping this book changes that for me.

Bad Feminist (Roxane Gay) – Gay did not speak at the festival, but she is our author of choice on this month’s Shalom in the City’s book club podcast! Osheta and I are committed to choosing a diverse range of authors, and we know Roxane Gay’s words will not disappoint when it comes to engaging in dialogue and conversation. Do join us in reading the book, and look for the discussion podcast the last Friday of April!

Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt) – Once again, McCourt did not speak at the festival either (which makes sense, because he’s dead), but he’s been on my list for a while now. And y’all, if you have not read memoirist Frank McCourt’s Pulitzer-winning book, it is nothing short of gorgeous. Please, pick it up!

So, as for me and my travel reading, this is what I’ve had with me for the past four days. Of course, with all the Shout, Shout, Let It All Out conversation happening in and around me, I’ve yet to finish a single book.

But let it be known that it’s all going to change as I spend the next ten hours in airports and on airports.

Happy reading!

So, what about you? What have YOU picked lately for travel reading? And, as per my books listed above, what have you read and LOVED? What have you read and LOATHED?

*Post contains Amazon Affiliate links, yo.


4 thoughts on “travel reading.

  1. “Bad Feminist” was one of my favorite reads last year. Gay is a powerful author. I’m reading one that’s out of the ordinary for me called “The Residence.” It’s about the White House staff – so interesting reading behind the scenes. Hope your travels are safe!

    1. Oh, awesome, Annie! This makes me really excited to read her words. Definitely enter into the conversation!

      Cara Meredith writer, speaker, musician.


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