Credit: Lars Klove

California Dream

“Malibu: California Beach Getaway” nails the subtle alchemy that makes Malibu one of the most storied yet least understood high-profile towns in America. Malibu is as much a lifestyle and emotion as it is a fantastic community. —David Dixon, Malibu, Calif.

Bookstore Burglars

I think your recommendation of the MyRegistry app in September’s Digital Traveler section is irresponsible. While on vacation in South Dakota, I visited an independent bookstore where the merchant had posted a no cell phones sign. When I asked why, she told me that people were scanning books and buying them elsewhere. In this tough economy, I don’t think we are “good” travelers if we take away livelihoods in order to save a little room in the suitcase. —Kathryn L. Gann, North Providence, R.I.

Editor’s Note: Supporting small businesses is certainly important. As always, we try to present the full range of travel tools available—and hope that they are used with discretion.

Well Worth the Weight

I read Peter Jon Lindberg’s “Traveling Heavy” [September] the day after I lugged a 75-pound suitcase, a 25-pound handbag, and a laptop through two airports following Hurricane Irene. My shoulders are sore, I didn’t wear half of what I took, but I was prepared for any situation. That formal dinner with the President? I had it covered. Night out dancing with cowboys? Check. I feel vindicated. —Michelle Schultz, Hillsborough, N.J.

I recently packed for a two-week driving trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia, from northern Iowa with two bikes (husband likes to bike), helmets and shoes, dress clothes, 12 travel books, passports, an iPad and charger, gifts for the grandchild, hiking boots (husband likes to hike), swimsuits and goggles (he also likes to swim), tennis shoes, rain gear, window-washer fluid, oil, car tools, and three flashlights. I can relate to “Traveling Heavy.” —Cathy Isaak, Mason City, Iowa

A Novel Issue

Francine Prose’s reflections in “The Art of Travel-Inspired Novel Writing” [August] convey her message like a well played symphony—one that comes to an abrupt end in its final, discordant note: her assertion that border guards would have a hard time understanding the rewards of travel. Knowing that many border guards around the world would fully grasp her sentiments makes it hard to appreciate Ms. Prose’s other insights. It may seem petty, but as an English teacher, I feel it’s important to illustrate how every word, every sentence, counts. —Adrianna Paneque, Palm Beach, Fla.

Hot Topic: In a Tailspin

Airline personnel and frequent fliers squared off after reading “Most-Complained-About Airlines” (online, August). Here, a few of the comments.

Trading Places

I understand that airlines are not perfect—but neither are passengers. I challenge anyone who thinks that flight crews or ticket agents are rude to change places with them for half a day. — member KitKatKate

Rights of Passage

There is no excuse for rude treatment of a customer by an airline employee, ever. Don’t be unreasonable, but don’t apologize for demanding a little respect as a paying customer. — member redbud9

Time Flies

I’ve been flying for 35 years. Back then, travelers weren’t wearing pajamas and using profanity to communicate on airplanes. After 9/11, you would think people would realize that there are more important things than having Sprite on the soda cart. — member CheckPlz