Remember a few years ago when I was weighing (literally) which books to take to Tanzania and Kenya? Well, I am planning for a trip to Sissinghurst in England and I need to find things to read. I can hear some of you thinking, Sissinghurst is a day trip with plenty to look at, how many books could a person need. And you would be right. Except…the Priest’s House, on the estate itself–not adjacent like the B&B we stayed at several years ago–literally forms one of the walls of the famous white garden, and we are staying in it for an entire week. And to top it off when you rent the cottage you have after hour access to the gardens. There is part of me that doesn’t believe that will be the case. But I will have much more to say about that in the coming weeks.
In the meantime I need to figure out what to read on the trip. I saw somewhere online that the cottage has a well stocked library, but that could mean so many things so I don’t know how much to trust in that possibility. Part of me wants to risk it and read whatever I find there, but there is the matter of the flight over and then the chance that I get stuck in a remote location with nothing to read.
Given that I recently took four books on a 3-day trip to New York, this pile is extremely modest. Especially for a week away and two Transatlantic flights. I thought of adding something by Vita Sackville-West to the pile, but since Sissinghurst used to belong to Sackville-West and I can visit her study on a daily basis, I’m guessing that finding something to read by her won’t be too hard.
A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch
Last year I fell back in love with Murdoch’s work after reading two of her lengthier works. This short volume seems like the perfect choice for a trip. Plus it is a mass market edition that I won’t feel bad leaving behind.
Continent by Jim Crace
A volume of short stories about an imaginary continent. I often like to read out of my normal range on vacation and this seems just exotic enough to fill the bill. And I am a huge, huge fan of Crace’s novel Being Dead.
Portrait of a Family by Richmal Crompton
Based on the synopsis, I’m not sure if this will be cozy. But I love Crompton and it was published in 1932 so I expect it to push all the right buttons for me. It might have been too pedestrian for Vita, but who knows, maybe she took it to the beach.
New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
A giant dystopian novel. Perfect summer vacation reading.