As the weeks before a trip approach, I assemble piles of books on the dining room table. Each pile is constructed with care. There is a travel guide pile, a fiction pile, a "needed for work" pile, and a "maybe I won’t take this one at all" pile. The most important is the "I’ll probably read this one before the trip comes along" pile.
The books take on a life of their own. At times I lose track of the planned trip and I think of it as little more than a chance to read, free of the usual interruptions.
The excitement mounts. I frequently visit the piles and think about how it will be to experience those books.
But the day or two before the trip, panic sets in. The piles seem totally inadequate. Totally inadequate for my reading. Totally inadequate for my development as a human being. Most of all, totally inadequate for the trip.
I rush to Borders and buy a whole new set of books.