The Book and The Beach by Guest Blogger April KlassenThe following post is by Guest Blogger April Klassen.

Reading a book is escaping reality in the form of a very cheap holiday. You can go on all kinds of adventures with all of your friends and even have a cheeky romance that no-one can judge you for because it was fictional. And you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own bed to experience all this, unless you need to return the book to the library because it’s overdue. But is it appropriate to bring a novel, or even a stack, with you on a trip you’ve paid for? The answer is rather murky.

So, when is it alright to read?

  • Going solo to the beach. The sun is warm as it filters through the window, the curtains lift in the tangy breeze, and the only thing you can hear is the slow rhythmic crash of waves nearby calling out to you. As you wake up you know that this is going to be a lazy day. Getting dressed in swimmers and drenching your skin in sunscreen (the sun is a tease and really hates us humans) you grab a book, a towel, and an umbrella and head down the sand to get comfy and read in between dips in the ocean.
  • Visiting family for Christmas/Easter. We all know how testing family can be, especially if you haven’t seen them for twelve months. Having a book, you can escape into is a very good idea. It might feel like you’re a teenager again hiding away in your old bedroom or in the treehouse out back, but for your sanity and the safety of others taking time out to read is a must.
  • When on a trip with friends for a party weekend. Having a stowaway book tucked under your toothbrush is great for the down time. With different sleep patterns and those poor suckers with hangovers, you can read while everyone else is still in bed. The second day tends to move slowly and people need time out from each other, a chance to recharge the batteries before the next round of adventures, this is the acceptable time to bring out the novel and read a couple of chapters without seeming anti-social.
  • On a book themed holiday. Naturally, you should be hauling the books featured on the tour; visiting the birth place of Shakespeare or trying to run through the wall at the platform of 9 ¾ or looking for vampires in Transylvania, Romania. Being able to pull the book, or books, out and read from them while at a literary haven can add to the enjoyment. Even better if there is a crowd of fans and you all suddenly sit and take turns to read out aloud, sort of like a flash mob, only more fun.
  • While in transit on the train or even when waiting at the airport. Good idea. A book can fill in the time.

When not to?

  • If you have forked out the cash for a tour overseas on a bus filled with strangers the book isn’t a great idea. You want to feel you have gotten your money’s worth on a big trip and you shouldn’t be relaxing with a novel in your hotel room, this is the time to go out searching for adventures and talking to people that you will never see again so you can create a fictional you who actually likes sushi and watching football. Go and have fun and create memories. Or reasons why to plan the next trip differently.
  • Be cautious when reading while waiting for the bus or a train, when you have your attention focused solely on the imaginary world in your hands you are an open target. Thieves can be beside you in one second and gone the next with your purse or luggage. In public spaces you need to be vigilant of those around you and what’s going on.
  • It might not be a thief you miss; you might miss meeting someone very interesting because you didn’t want to talk to that guy who took the seat opposite you. That is when a book is a barrier to possibility.

I love reading and I normally have a book with me no matter where I go. My final word on reading while on holiday; take it just in case you need time out from the adventure. Now, the big problem would be to choose which books to take along that are not embarrassing or have slightly offensive covers (romance readers will understand the half-naked men and women pictured tangled up can make for interesting looks from strangers). Hell, just go with the most embarrassing book cover and sit on the beach waiting to see who is paying attention and stumbles. You can turn it into performance art. Maybe it will be a conversational starter with a very attractive suitor. Oh, and boys, girls like boys who read. They’re sexy. Your welcome!

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April Klasen lives in rural NSW, Australia. She is a blogger, a plotter for total world domination, and an independently published author of six books (Pure Pop Asia, Beta, The Annual). One day she will travel to Japan. To read more from the J-pop and K-pop influenced grey matter of this writer, please visit http://www.aprilklasenauthor.com