Airline reading

I’m (hopefully) in the final throes of leaving Zimbabwe for Australia (I will relax finally when I on the plane), but I have been packing up sorting out and still a fair bit to go, and I may get ambushed by a power outage (they have rolling powere cuts according to no schedule). So – sorry, not much of a post. But I wanted to ask what you regarded as good airline reding – which you probably can’t buy at the airport.

What makes a good ‘plane book and why?

7 thoughts on “Airline reading

  1. Something engrossing and captivating without being to funny. Shaking your head and laughing out loud to yourself tends to make the other passengers irritated and nervous.

    There are a lot of books that fit that criteria, but about all that I can think of that might be found in an airport, is something by Robert Ludlum. (Oh, and a plane trip is a great time to read that goatgagger you haven’t started yet. Long is good when you have 6-8+ hours sitting in the same spot.

  2. It usually depends on the flight and how tired I am. I tend to take more than one dead tree edition on the plane. Ideally, I’ll start it the day before and get two or three chapters deep so there’s less adjusting in the air.

    Engrossing, is key, but beyond that it can be anything from SFF to biology, psych, or history as long as it is well written.

  3. But if it’s really engrossing, don’t start reading it in the airport. Missing the boarding announcements when you are sitting right there is so embarrassing!

    I prefer, um, more brainy rather than emotional books. As the bearcat said, no laughing! But tears running down your face as the stewardess ask what you’d like to drink . . .

    Rereading old favorites is good. Easy to slide back into them after interruptions.

  4. It depends on the length of the flight, and the weather en route. For US domestic flights, I’ll read short story collections. That way the frequent interruptions are no problem. Trans-Atlantic flights demand engrossing novels or histories that pertain to the place I’m going. This is assuming that the weather is supposed to be good (ie. no thunder storms or crossing the jet stream over the North Atlantic). If the weather is less than pleasant, I’m too busy trying to stay relaxed and calm to read. Yes, I’m a lousy back-seat passenger. 🙂

  5. I tend to bring either books I haven’t read in a long time (old favorites) or info-tainment (books like, “History without the Boring Bits”). Okay, the second one I bought at the airport for the flight home from Australia because I didn’t have a book, but the same idea applies. Occasionally, I’ll bring books I haven’t read yet, but they’re by familiar authors.

    The idea is I can read in little bits and be able to put it aside if I need to. It’s also “comfort reading” in the case of the familiar. And I know that I’ll enjoy it (being familiar stories/writing styles or entertaining information) and so it’s not likely I’ll be left bereft of entertainment.

    The book must not be something that’s going to tax my brain too much. If it has difficult language, it’s familiar-difficult (ex: re-reading Dumas or Austen) so it doesn’t take up much processing power. I’m an anxious flyer (a grandmother died in a plane crash and I’m something of a worry wart in general) and I prefer aisle seats, so that means I have to keep in mind not to get my elbows in the aisles and to let past people who wish to get out of our row and keep an eye out for when they return. So I don’t want to read something that will either require all my attention or will be difficult for me to slip into to escape the flying box.

  6. Long time since I have needed airline reading, but for me the best would be light entertainment rather than anything which requires thinking, possibly something like a cozy mystery in a series I have enjoyed reading before. I have problems concentrating in moving vehicles – I like flying but it does make me slightly nervous, I’m a lousy car passenger since I’d usually much prefer to be driving myself, and I just plain don’t much like trains – which means that neither rereading something familiar (I tend to start paying more attention to what is happening around me rather than the book) nor trying to read something which would require a bit more brains before I can get it rarely have worked very well. Something new but with familiar settings and characters, or at least in familiar style, and where most of the entertainment comes from the characters and their shenanigans, not trying to figure out the plot, is much better.

  7. Two different requirements for airplane books, depending on the airport and the length of the ride. I like a very long book – either history or science or something absorbing for long flights, or for times it looks as though we’ll be sitting on the tarmac forever. And I like short essays or stories if it looks as though I’ll be interested in snoozing, looking briefly at the view, or doing some work. So I take two books, usually. Paperback. Or one book, paperback, and one e-device, suitable for reading once I’ve taken off.

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