Book to pack
I was reading a tatty secondhand Everyman's edition of Great Expectations on the boat from St Malo to Portsmouth, and absorbing the atmosphere of the story, when a fellow holidaymaker stopped by to ask if I was a teacher. He was, and I used to be. We swapped views on the merits of reading Dickens to soak up the hours when there was nothing much to do.
Going to Sweden on the overnight ferry it was David Copperfield that held my attention. Even Mr Micawber's long, long speechifications could be savoured in full.
Another novel that suited a long journey was Vanity Fair. The merit of the Everyman's editions of the classics - easily found in secondhand bookshops and market stalls - is their pocket size and their durability in a rucksack. The great stories are a treasure within. It is time well spent.
Virginia Purchon is a librarian at The TES