Tomorrow I’m leaving for a short work trip. Since flights to and from Phoenix both involve layovers, I’ll be spending more than a few hours in the air and in airports (and that’s assuming that every flight is on time and hours don’t stretch into days — pray for me).

I went to college in Tampa, so I’m used to flying. I don’t like it, but it’s a necessary evil, and my routine helps. A stop at the airport bar for a pint (and one point only) is a good start, followed by a combination of sleep, my iPod and reading crappy magazines.

Not this time, though. First, my flight leaves at 7:15 am. I know bloody marys would be acceptable, but that’s way too early for me to start drinking. Plus, I have a lot of reading to do for work. Right now, I’m working on one newspaper book review, one magazine book review, and a newspaper article about self help books due, all before January 1. I have little choice but to take not one but a few books along.

Pictured is the stack of self help books I’m considering for the self help book article. The pile includes everything from Joy Behar’s When You Need a Lift: But Don’t Want to Eat Chocolate, Pay a Shrink, or Drink a Bottle of Gin to Office Mate: The Employee Handbook for Finding–and Managing–Romance on the Job. And this is just a slim sample of the self help books I could be considering. There are gobs out of them out there, and it’s my job to dig in to sort out the crap from the helpful, and ask people why.

So I’ll be taking a few books with me to Arizona. Even if I didn’t have assignments, I’d still be carrying a few in my backpack. I can zip through a book in a few hours if I like it, and there’s nothing worse than being stuck in some new-to-you airport listening to your flight’s fifth delay without having something good to read.

So here’s what I’m bringing:

That Office Mate book
Gulp!: The Seven-Day Crash Course to Master Fear and Break Through Any Challengeby Gabriella Goddard (any chance I could get a book cover for this one? It’s not quite The Threesome Handbook, but still…)
Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone by Beth Lisick. It’s being billed as funny. I’ll let you know what I think.
Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas and Puma and the Family Feud That Forever Changed the Business of Sport
by Barbara Smit. I think the (loooooooooong) title says it all here.

All have something to do with work. All look like they’d have some entertainment value, whether enteratining me because they’re good or terrible. And all are paperback, too (some won’t be in final form, but the galleys are), so they’re lighter in my bag.

While I’m in the picture-posting mode, here’s the shelf that’s holding all the books from this book-a-week project, with my buddha bank working hard as a bookend. I’m a quarter of the way done with the project. Think I’ll fill the first two shelves? Stay tuned.

Until then, I’m off to Arizona and will hopefully have some reviews when I get back on Sunday. So let me post a question to you guys to keep the discussion going: How do you plan what books to pack on a trip? Hit up the comments…

In the interest of full disclosure: I’m now an Amazon Affiliate, meaning I get commission if you buy from one of the links on the blog. This is not an advertisment encouraging you to do so — just a heads up so you know everything that’s going on with the blog.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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