One sure way to make your in-laws continue to think you’re a bit weird in your reading choices? Bring a 669-page novel about the civil war in Sudan when you go on vacation with them. Bringing two books on Spinoza helps, too, I suppose, even if you don’t get to them until the day you’re leaving.
This whole post is a bit belated, but feel like I owe you a book tally for the trip. We packed a very sensible eight books (six mine, two Stacey’s), plus half a dozen to give as belated (or early) birthday presents to family members. And we read eight books (four apiece) . . . but they weren’t the same eight we’d brought.
That sounds like a riddle, but it’s really just the inevitable result of a trip to Powell’s City of Books in Portland. On the bike ride back to our friends’ house, my shoulder bag groaned under the weight of thirteen new books (eight mine, five Stacey’s). Between the broad selection of cheap used books and the satisfying stock of out-of-print titles, it’s probably good that we live a couple thousand miles away.
It was a pleasant trip. We read in airports, on planes, while grilling, in the great house we rented in Sunriver, in Portland parks, and in our friends’ living room. Oh, and we did some other stuff, too, like canoe and ride horses and see old friends and spot a large Vietnamese pot-bellied pig grazing contentedly—and inexplicably—in a Portland park.
And I learned a lesson that will be of use in planning for future trips: when bringing running shoes on a trip, make sure to pack your most worn-out pair. That allows you to, without qualms, leave them behind . . . which makes space for approximately eight books. If I'd realized that while we were still at Powell's, we could have bought one more!