Deciding what books to take on a holiday never gets any easier. Too many questions race around the brain.
Do I take a tried and trusted author or is this the time to branch into unknown territory? What if I don’t feel in the mood for the book/s I’ve taken? What if they’re duds? What if I finish them too quickly and then can’t get my hands on anything decent in English (the advent of e-readers has made that much simpler of course but I still like to have paper copies with me).
Answering those questions involves multiple cycles in which I pull books off the shelf convinced this is the perfect choice. Only to change my mind a day later. Of course I then go and add to the complexity by trying to take at least one book written by an author from the country I’ll be visiting.
This holiday I eventually settled on two that are loosely connected by the theme of World War 2 which seemed entirely appropriate since I am visiting Germany.
From my TBR I’ve selected a Virago Modern Classic, The Quest for Christa T by the German writer Christa Wolf that follows two childhood friends from the second World War into the 1960s in East Germany. Wolf was one of the best-known writers to emerge from the former East Germany but since unification she’s been criticised for failing in her work to criticize the authoritarianism of the East German Communist regime.
Neither are very long novels so I’ve made sure my e-reader is well stocked with A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (long listed for the Booker prize) and The Dictator’s Last Night by Yasmina Khadra which is due out in October. In between all that reading I just might be able to squeeze in a few site seeing trips around Berlin and Dresden….