The hardest part about packing for Brazil was deciding which books to bring. Jared and I were both the type of university students who never sold their books back. We hung on to nearly every single novel, play, collection of short stories, theory book, and so on, in the hopes of amassing a small library. So when it came down to packing, we had around three hundred books to chose from—a daunting task for two book hoarders.
Books are wonderful travel companions. They are also, however, extremely heavy. One morning, in the LogicPrep van, we started to make a list of the twenty or so books we could manage to fit in our suitcases without overburdening them.
We decided to go with a mix of ancient texts (Plato’s Republic, Tacitus’ The Annals of Imperial Rome, and Beowulf) and more contemporary ones (Karl Ove Knausgaard, Gary Shteyngart, Salman Rushdie). We opted for the weighty tomes that we’d never managed to tackle in our four-years as literature majors (War and Peace for me, Ulysses for Jared). We also included two books on the history of Brazil and a substantial contingent of South American writers (Lispector, Borges, Vargas Llosa).
When we arrived in Sao Paulo yesterday, I realized that we probably went a bit overboard nonetheless. Both of our shelves are comfortingly full of books that, in many ways, I hope we don’t actually need in the next few weeks. While I’m sure Jared and I will both be reading a bit while we here, it now seems much more likely that we’ll be out exploring, meeting new friends, and (probably) buying new books for our collections.