Books in My Bag, London Calling Edition

By the time you read this, I will hopefully be in London, embarking on a London bookstore tour and doing as much sightseeing as I can in the three-and-a-half days Scott and I will be in the city. In between our touristy marathon, I’ll catch up on some reading during the flights. So, what made it into my bag?


First up: travel books! I swear by the Lonely Planet guidebooks; these were positively phenomenal for our honeymoon in Japan (I had a general one, as well as city-specific books for Kyoto and Tokyo). I also love the laminated Streetwise maps. I’ll be meeting Scott in London, and I have a limited international phone plan. Having a guidebook and maps I don’t need to access via my phone seemed like a smart move!

Now, onto the good stuff…reading for pleasure! I’ve been on a genre kick lately, but I always love reading genre while I travel. Being transported to another world is more enjoyable when I’m actually en route to a new destination. For this trip, I kept it simple and only brought three books. One’s been sitting on my shelf for a while, one’s a recent recommendation, and one is an old recommendation recently purchased. Don’t worry, I’ll keep the guesswork out of it:

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

I’ve had Fledgling in the back of my mind for a while. Butler’s prolific career saw her craft some of the most compelling SFF in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Fledgling was her last publication before her death in 2006, and promises to contain Butler’s signature look at gender, race, culture, and sexuality. I recently purchased Fledgling in Portland, at notable indie secondhand store Powell’s.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

I almost didn’t bring Wolf Hall, but was inspired at the last minute by Kim’s review (and her own recent trip to Europe!). Kim noted that it requires attention, which is exactly what I need when I’m looking to make long hours on a plane fly by. It’s been a while since I gave historical fiction a go, and I’ve had Wolf Hall on my shelf for years. I (re)started it – I only got a handful of pages in last time, when I planned to read it for a challenge. I love the imagery, which feels somewhat mystic. Perfect inspiration for me as I’m headed to London!

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemison

I encountered The Fifth Season through a Book Riot post. I don’t know much about it, other than it is the first in a new fantasy series, and it sounds brutally dark, which, yes, is right up my alley. I plan to read this one on the flight back to the States. I brought Scott a book, too (or at least, I think I packed it, and it managed to make my last-minute, 4 AM carry-on bag review), so I’ll ply him with that and dive into The Fifth Season.

Thanks for reading! What did you take to read on your last trip?

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