1 May 2012

Reading on the aeroplane

There's a reason there's a genre called 'airport fiction'. It acknowledges the sort of brain-dead stupor that most of us degenerate into when we settle in for a long-haul flight to somewhere, regardless of whether that somewhere is for business or pleasure. Light and fluffy, fast paced and exciting, an airport novel must be interesting without being profound. It is a well known truism that one's capacity for intellectual reading is checked with one's luggage and is stowed in the hold until disembarkation. One cannot concentrate on an aeroplane. One is merely reading for distraction from the sheer boredom that is aeroplane travel.

I always think very carefully about my holiday reading matter. Along with the culturally relevant titles tomes that pertain to my destination - A Model American, Happiness of Kati, The Civilization of Angkor, I always pack something that will maintain my attention for the flight, along with a few glossy decorating magazines.

This trip I've chosen Martin Boyd's The Cardboard Crown - a novel I started reading last week and loved immediately. It was a perfect one to put aside for the trip. Ive heard this title described an an Australian Jane Austin. I'm inclined to disagree, but certainly the class of society, the sublime characterisation and the poetic writing are reminiscent of Austin's work. I think it will be perfect for tomorrow afternoon.

Jemimah is ecstatically happy to be allowed to read Paul Jennings' Spookiest Stories. Holidays are the only time she is given the freedom to read books of this genre, and like any books that Mummy disapproves of, she adores them. To be honest, I really don't mind. I figure that they are the perfect airport fiction for kids. This is when they should be read!

Mr PD has packed And Another Thing, Eoin Colfer's attempt at a sixth installment of the Hitchhiker Guide trilogy. He admits, though, that he'll probably just watch the movies and sleep.

Do you read different books when you're on holidays? Do you read more or less? Are your books more light and fluffy because you're feeling lazy or more erudite because you have more time to sit and think? Do you, like me, like to read novels relevant to your destination?

Talk to me about travel and reading. Two of my favourite subjects in the world.


  1. having travelled very little I don't have to work this out :-) However, when I regained my eye sight and had a number of flights to and from Brisbane I had the opportunity to check out the books on sale at the airports. I was fascinated/ surprised to see so many biographies/ autobiographs of abused people. Is it a reflection of our sick society that these are so popular as "flight books"? Ick, I honestly didn't see much of interest. Obviously you have made your selection prior to take off. Very wise! Have a wonder time you three. xo

  2. My last flight a few weeks ago that took far longer than it should due to maintaince issue that left us sitting on a plane for two hour ( on the runway)-I sat and read 1000 gifts which was perfect for flying . I don't change my book just because I'm on the plane, but I do take a book of least weight:)

  3. I read "wheel on the school" on my last long plane trip ALONE! When I used to fly to Africa I'd load up on British magazines and read those.

    Jemima--enjoy the trash! Mom--there comes a day when they read what they want secretly, you know! lol......

  4. My most recent airplane trips have been with toddlers, so no reading for me, except baby board books :) Generally i find it hard to read whilst on holiday, there simply isn't time. We usually experience as much as we can until we just drop!

  5. I tend to read what I typically read. On my most recent flights, I read The Paris Wife, a Kate Morton novel (her latest), and The Woman in Black. I left the latter in my hotel room for someone else's entertainment. For our drive to Maine, I also read decorating mags, like you. I sometimes allow the girls to read fluff (IMHO) for their independent reading, and the same holds true to travel. At least for Miss Priss; Tiny Girl can't read in the car, alas.

  6. I finally caught up on your posts, Jeanne! WOW! How neat...your trip looks so fun! :)


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