What to read when traveling: books that fit a train journey
What does books that fit a train joureny mean?
I love reading and I always carry a book while traveling. Usually travellers-reader face two kinds of dilemma:
- Book I want to read vs Space I don’t have
- Book I want to read vs Actual time to read
You know, when you have a feeling with a book, it is hard to choose another one instead. There are those big and involving books that you already picture with you on a beach while getting tanned in Sicily or in your hotel bed getting warm after a walk in cold Copenhagen. Yet, they are big books.
When I was an university student (looks like 100 years ago, but…) there were some books that were coming back and forth with me during holidays in my hometown because I wasn’t able to finish them. And no, I’m not talking about exams books. When you put a book in your luggage you already imagine the exact place and moment you’ll read it.
Please, tell me I’m not the only one.
However, you end up wearing your headphones to avoid your annoying travel neighbour, then you get home and you get also busy, et voilà! Even if you were able to get the book out of your luggage, you didn’t read it for sure! While at univerisity…
Ok, but how long ago?
While at university I faced that problem with books. And especially on my return journey, when I was carrying reserves of olive oil or taralli (if you don’t know them, click here ), that never opened book, was an unecessary burden.
That’s when I learned to choose one and only kind of books when I’m traveling: the ones that, according to me, fit (last) a train journey.
I’m still thinking you were talking about exam books. When did you get your Master’s degree?
Every time I was leaving from my university city to my hometown, I carried only small books, 200 pages max, that I more or less started and ended while on the train (we talk about 6 hours). Once at home, I could leave it on my bookshelf and take or buy a new one with the same characteristics, that I would have later left on my university home bookshelf.
I may have changed a few of flats, if you’d interested in a post about creative moves, do a call.
From that time on, I use this unit of measurement everytime I do a trip, whatever its length: a small book needs small space, complies with the time we have and doesn’t make you regret carrying it even when you realize you haven’t read it.
Which are the books that fit a train journey?
Of course there are a lot of them. Here I mention 4, not only beacuse they’re among my favourites (actually one of them is not at all), but because they didn’t get lost among the boxes during my creative moves I was talking above.
Novecento (1900) – Alessandro Baricco
I was attending primary school, at that time, when at my grandparent’s I watched the movie The legend of 1900. One of Tornatore’s masterpieces was the first movie I cried for. Not because the dog of a relative of the protagonist died, there have been other movies which lead me to tears before for that. It was the first time I cried because I felt a character into bones, even not sharing his vision at all.
At the moment I still didn’t know I would become a traveler, nor that at the dawn of my 28 I would still have no place to call definetively home. Still I knew for sure I could never spend my entire life on a boat, or in the same place. At the moment I didn’t know the movie was inspired by a book, bought and read the same afternoon, few years later.
You may say he was crazy. However it is not that simple. When someone tells you with absolute exactness how does Bertham Street smell, in summer, when it just rained, you can’t say he’s crazy only because he has never been there.
Novecento tells the story of a child born on a ship, the place where he would spend his entire life and that represent his own reality. In few pages Novecento (that is actually a theatral monologue) explains to us what does it mean to “have your own world” and what could it mean to potentially leave it.
In the meanwhile I realized I could devote a blog post only to this book, like actually all the following, since I was given good ability to marry. But I’m going to stop here and now, There are still 4 books to talk about.
I travel alone – Maria Perosino
This is that kind of book, that not only you can read during a journey on a train, but that it is not affected by forced interruptions, because you can easily get back like you never left it.
It is addressed to ladies, but it is pleasant to gentlemen too. I’ma talking deeper here.
The Alchemist – Paulo Coehlo
The Alchemist is among the favourite books of a lot of people and maybe, because of the high expectations I had, I didn’t love it so much.
What do you think about suggesting books you didn’t like that much?
However it is still a fluid reading, relatively short: perfect for traveling. After all, travel is the main topic of the book itself. The main character is a Spanish shepherd from Andalusia, who completely unprepared, leaves to reach the Pyramids in Egypt. The Alchemist is a book that deals with objectives, dreams, signs, pleasant or unfortunate unexpected events. With the fear for the future, and the why you should not care too much:
“If good things are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise”, said the seer. “If bad things are, and you know it in advance, you will suffer greatly before they even occur”.
The Petit Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It is my favourtie book ever, so I’m kinda put it in almost every kind of list. A book that you could read throughout your life, since your first years, and find everytime a different sense. Great for traveling because you’ve probably already read it, so it won’t suffer if you put it apart while you change your travel plan. Or maybe you can leave a free space in your luggage before leaving for your trip, filling it with a version of the language of the country you’re going to visit or the one you’re learing.
And think about travelling with kids: you carry just one book for different readers.
Oh, little prince, I understood little by little your short melancholic life. For such a long time you had no distaction but sunsets.
Do you have some special kind of books you usually read while travelling? Would you reccomend me some?
From Puglia (a Southern Italy wonderful region), born in 1991, 1.63 meters…short! Master in International Relations, I care about human rights and our wonderful planet. I love cooking, volleyball, the sea, winning board games. I hate talking about money, being interrupted when speaking, winter, a badly made Margarita, losing board games.