Episode 20 – Reading on the Road

Ted worked for Penguin Random House for more than 25 years. For a family of book lovers that was a dream, and over the years we collected thousands of books. Our house had eight 6-foot tall by 4-foot wide crammed-full bookcases in the rec room (severely limiting the angle of shots that could be attempted at the pool table!) plus bookcases in each of the boy’s rooms and a bookshelf on the staircase… and there was always a pile beside my favourite chair waiting to be read.

When we downsized the first time, only one bookcase moved with us. After offering friends and neighbours first choice from our collection, the Milton Chapter of the University Women’s Club took the remaining full van load of books for their used book sale benefitting their scholarship program.

When we became full time travellers, the remaining few books went to the lending library in our last condo building.

Travelling with books used to be cumbersome. Even taking along a few “essential” paperbacks for a couple of weeks away had an impact on my airplane luggage allowance. My mobile library has now moved on to my iPad, but if we are staying in one place for more than a month or two I join the local public library, which gives me access to both physical books and often ebooks as well. (My favourite reads from the Collingwood Public Library last summer were “Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners”, which had a nice twist at the end, and “The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers”) Because I am active on Facebook, play video games, and write our blog on my iPad, the battery is often low by the time I am ready to settle in and read, so “real” books are still important to me.

It’s a bonus when we stay in a home that has a supply of books. At Beachy Keen, our winter stay, there was a library on the ground floor of the building where residents could take and leave books. That’s where during a previous stay I discovered and got hooked on the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. (If you love spy novels or Mission Impossible style thrillers, you’ll love these too.) My favourite read there this winter was “The Whole Truth” by David Baldacci, a suspense novel particularly relevant in the current media climate. Here at Treetops, our spring stay, the owner has a bookshelf filled with an eclectic mix of novels and non-fiction. My top recommendations from Patti’s shelf are the memoir “Riding the Bus With My Sister” by Rachel Simon, and the novel “The Girls” by Lori Lansens (the author of Rush Home Road, and like that book set in the Windsor to London corridor in Ontario).

Ted is a non-fiction reader, largely news read online but also biographies. He is less attached to the “feel” of a book in his hands, so he more actively uses his library membership for ebooks. One of his current favourite writers is Walter Isaacson, who wrote the fascinating biographies of Albert Einstein (“Einstein: The Man, The Genius, and The Theory of Relativity”) and Leonardo DaVinci.

My eldest niece has started an on-line “virtual book club” that will allow its members to talk about books they’ve read via group chat (like Whatsapp) or Skype. It will give me one more way to stay connected AND share my hobby, no matter where I am.

Bottom line….. some things don’t change even though our overall lifestyle certainly has. Reading remains a pleasure that we’ve found ways to make happen, wherever we go.

Me, trying to pull the book out of Barnard Baruch’s hands (in his famous statue in Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina). There’s nothing more frustrating than someone who won’t share their latest good read!


  1. Perfect!! I couldn’t remember “ the girls “ now I have it in my files. They didn’t have the bus one so I’ll have to order it. Started reading the Whole Truth Have you read The innocents by him? Really good! Had to laugh ( and envy) your eight book cases. I have two in my guest room, small one in my bedroom, night table – shelf and top – and three books on my kitchen stool. Ah well! Got Lawrence Hills book “Any Known Blood. I really like his writing. His book Blood, the Stuff of Life is non fiction and very readable. He was talking about it when Carolyn to me to hear him speak. Mystery books, read Lynton MacIntyre. Trust your eyes and another one that makes you want to yell NO when you read the intro. Loved talking to you, must face time one day 😍

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Hi Rose. I am a fellow blogger and can’t remember how I came across your blog…but love it. My husband and I travel too and that’s how my blog started…my friends wanted to know what we were doing when we picked up and moved to Montreal for almost a year….we had just sold our house in the country north of Toronto and were planning to move to the big city of Toronto when my daughter who was doing her masters at McGill phoned and said she found this gorgeous 2 bedroom in the Plateau and we had nowhere to live and invited us to go and live with her. After my mouth dropped , and my brain stopped spinning with “how to do it” i said yes! ( my husband was saying Why not in the background) and several months later , the blog was born. And even after we moved back to T.O I keep it up ( I print them every May…they are a great source of memories for us ( and maybe for our kids many years from now????. In any case, love your blog…will check out some of the books too. When we were in Montreal , we got a library card too…although the English section of our local library was quite small…it worked! A la prochaine!


    • Very cool! (As is your blog, which I binge-read last week). I’m guessing you may have found us through the RTO magazine, but however it was I’m glad to have you following along.


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