Some Vacation Reading

As a kid growing up in Florida, the idea of a beach vacation lost some of its enticing allure. It meant, heat, sand, salty stickiness, and more often than not – sunburns. So, the idea of a beach vacation is still something of a mystery to me. One thing I can easily comprehend is the idea of seeing friends, family, and spending some quality time with myself and a good book.

A vacation is something I haven’t done in a while.

It was 2007, when I founded ManaNation, it was around that time that I took my last real vacation. Since then I’ve never had a proper vacation. Running a website, especially as a largely one-man operation, required sacrifices. For four years that sacrifice was sleep and the inability to fully unplug, ever. I always had to be connected and running the website, or shut the site down for X days.

In 2009, Katie and I took a trip to Puerto Rico. Which we took because it conveniently tied into the Pro Tour, during which I wrote, edited video, and spent some time with my wife. Not a real vacation.

We traveled to Seattle in March of 2010. I took a day to visit Wizards, and we then spent a lot of time doing our own stuff and seeing Seattle. But during that time I spent every night posting articles and running the site.

Up until December of last year any trip we took required me to have internet access to run the website and be ready to respond to any news breaking about Magic as well as publishing and overseeing the site.

Now that I work for Wizards itself, the emergency needs of the site are low, and I am able to take a vacation. A real vacation.

Starting this Friday I’ll be leaving on our first trip back to Florida since we moved to Seattle in December of last year. During that time I’ll be endeavoring to turn off my email notifications and generally unplug.

After a wonderful discussion on Facebook, I’ve built up quite the reading list for the trip. I’m currently working on Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard, but once that is done I’ll be diving into some of these books:

Steven Saylor’s Roma Sub Rosa series – Following Gordianus the Finder, this historical fiction in ancient Rome is a series I’ve partially read over the years, and I hope to explore some more of these books. I love ancient Rome and love being transported to that time in Saylor’s books.

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files – These are a series of books I never really got into, following a witch detective in the modern day. I watched the SciFi TV series but haven’t yet dove into the books. Hopefully I’ll take to them as I expect.

Stephen R. Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy. Suggested to me by my friend Stephen, it sounds like it is a more historic, historic fiction of Robin Hood. So hopefully I’ll enjoy that series as well.

Don Winslow’s Savages and the new prequel Kings of Cool are both on my reading list. I haven’t read either of these books so I’m looking forward to diving into them.

David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, a book that’s been on my reading list for a while but something I just hadn’t dove into. To call a popular meme to mind, “One does not simply read David Foster Wallace!”

Additionally on the list are books from Jasper Fforde, Cory Doctorow, Iain M. Banks, and more.

Now it’s important to realize I don’t expect to get through all of these books. I do expect to have a handful of starts and stops and most likely books which don’t strike my fancy, so I will be able to try and explore new options.

As for the nonfiction books I’ll be reading, the list is a bit shorter.

George Dyson’s Turing Cathedral is a book I’m super intimidated but also super excited to get into. This one could very well swallow me whole and chew me up over the course of the vacation.

Willpower by Roy Baumeister is a book about willpower and how to recapture it. I expect it to be interesting and informational if not somewhat info-tainment, we’ll see!

A Majority of Scoundrels by Don Berry examines the history of America’s fur trade in the country’s formative years.

And that’s it. Holy crap I’ve got a lot of reading ahead of me. Thank goodness for my Nook and the wonders of ebook technology.