Holiday Reading part II: The hand-luggage dilemma

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Whist I can’t wait to get to New York, I’m aware that before then, I need to get through a 7 1/2 hour plane journey, plus airport and transit time.  On one hand, that much potentially uninterrupted reading time sounds fantastic. On the other, I’ve been on plane flights before and I know that’s not how things end up working out.

Even aside from varying success with entertainment systems (will it work?  Won’t it work?  Will it work, but only show Adam Sandler films?) there’s something about being on a plane that seems to change normal behaviour.  The load of work that was definitely going to get done during the journey is suddenly unmanagable, while John Grisham novels become irresistibly attractive.  My brain has been known to turn to mush until I can do nothing more than watch old ‘Friends’ episodes for hours on end…

I’m not claustophobic, but I do get anxious at the thought of being stranded with nothing I want to read.  It’s happened before and it’s not pretty.  It’s one thing not to feel like reading, but quite another to know the book you’re craving is in the hold, or on a shelf back at home.  The last time I went to New York I had Donna Tartt’s ‘The Goldfinch‘ which solved the problem easily because I knew that it would be both engrossing and also way too long for me to finish in the time given.  I’m lacking a sufficiently applauded doorstop of a book for this trip though, and the pressure of making a good choice is starting to get to me.

The two books I’d mentally picked out are both, apparently, hugely depressing (though also very good and would get my NY reading off to an excellent start).  They are also, combined, a lot shorter than ‘The Goldfinch’… but what happens if I’m stuck 40,000 feet above the Atlantic ocean and realise I don’t like them or feel like something cheerful?

It’s probably cheating, but I’m clearly going to have to take the Kindle along as well.  I’ve got over 600 books on it, including complete Agatha Christie, and so should be able to weather any delays or changes of mood.  If my mind is up to it, I’ll be able to start my New York reading while in transit.  If not, it’s just more to look forward to once I arrive.  If I ever manage to finish packing that is!

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12 Responses to Holiday Reading part II: The hand-luggage dilemma

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings says:

    I empathise – I just went away for two days and had such a panic that I took two physical books and stuffed the tablet full of whatever I could find just so I had choices…..

  2. Dom Nozahic says:

    Recommend highly The New York Trilogy if you haven’t already read it 🙂

  3. FictionFan says:

    Have you read The Luminaries? It would probably get you there and back! 😉

    • Good call, but I’ve read it already…I was thinking of Gertrude Stein’s ‘The Making of Americans’ because it’s massive but then there’s the fear that I might hate it. Loved ‘The Luminaries’ though!

  4. BookerTalk says:

    I kept saying ‘yes’ as I read you post. I have all those feelings when taking a long flight. Before the advent of the Kindle I would end up taking two books in my carry on luggage and then buying a third in the airport ‘just in case’. How about A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – its about 700 pages I think and set in New york

  5. Am adding “A Little Life” to the New York list and have also come across another one set in and around the city – “We Are Not Ourselves” by Matthew Thomas. Absolutely couldn’t put it down – but definitely not one for reading on a long flight alongside the other two you have earmarked. Bon voyage.

  6. Sarah says:

    I can really empathise with this. It’s so difficult to gauge what reading mood you’ll be in on holiday or when travelling. I can see how a device would solve that dilemma, but I’m a bit of luddite when it comes to kindles, and I think I might even miss the ritual of angst-ridden book selection, however frustrating it always is!

    • I do find my kindle is fantastic in situations like this – but I don’t trust technology and so always need at least one book on hand because of the fear it might break. I realise in my heart I’m a bit like Moomin-mama and her fear of zips after her brother had one that got stuck! For ever!

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