item1spent many years traveling throughout the world (I still do) and packing my suitcase was always the ultimate dilemma because of the vast number of books I felt I needed to take with me. I would search for weeks ahead for books about the region, and if I couldn't find any, pack books about a location as close as I could get to my destination. My greatest fear was not having enough books and always, at the last moment, one could find me in the airport bookstore grabbing one last book – just one more! I am grateful now that my e-reader has made a huge difference to the weight of my travel bags, just in time for airline luggage fees.

An acknowledged book addict with a graduate degree in English, a former bookstore co-owner, and one time publisher of fine fiction and poetry, I have always been immersed in books. I have been keeping a list for years of books to read for travel, and along with several friends and book club compatriots began making Have Books Will Travel a reality.

Reading, whether you travel or not, is a way into another world, a path toward understanding oneself and others. One of my more recent favorite books is Chronicle in Stone by Ismail Kadare, an Albanian writer. I knew nothing about Albania before reading his novel based on his life growing up in a citadel town. Now I know the feel of the rough cobblestones under my feet. I know the sound of the women gossiping with each other from their windows across the narrow streets. I don't need to go there (although I'd love to) to have a sense of this author's Albania. You can also travel in an armchair or a hammock, or just before you fall asleep.

I know I will keep finding books to add to this list and hope you will too!

– Jean Rhys