In November, I always seem to be overbooked--and I don't mean the reading kind. Not only is this the time of the semester when the essays and research papers come rolling in as fast as I can grade them--no, faster--but I have my Washington, DC, trip with the Holocaust class the weekend closest to Veteran's Day and then I attend the fall convention of the National Council of Teachers of English the weekend before Thanksgiving. Any teacher can confirm that it's much harder to prepare for being gone from class than to stay there and teach.
Despite the frenzy getting ready to go, though, the conference is one of the highlights of my year. I don't know what teachers in other disciplines do at their conferences, but English teachers get together and talk shop--books, writing, teaching--all the things we love. Every year I promise myself I won't come home with a bumper crop of books and freebies, but I do anyway. Who can turn down free books?
One perk of traveling for me is time to read. I pity people who can't read in a car or on a plane. Some of my earliest memories in the car involve reading until I can't see any longer. (I remember finishing one of the Pippi Longstocking books in the back seat of the car on the ride between our new home in Columbia, Tennessee, and our hometown of Florence, Alabama, when I was in fourth or fifth grade.) Carsickness has never been an issue. I could turn around and read riding backwards. Airplanes are ideal for reading. Why else would they put so many book stores in airports?
As this trip approaches, I am between books. I'm mulling over the new titles on my book shelves, trying to decide what to take. I'd be foolish to pack more than one, since I know I'll have plenty of reading material on the way home from the conference, but for now, I can't wait to decide which book to start next.