On my first European trip (which, admittedly, included months working on a farm) I took Great English Literature Vol Two as a reading companion. Not to be recommended. I should have stuck to PG Wodehouse. There certainly is literature which offers swifter time-passage than the more weightier tomes (and, btw, Eng Lit V2 weighed in at five pounds). Characters succeeding rapidly through plot. Don't leave home without it.
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Learning to Love Airport Litillustration by Jessica Fortner
By DOMINIQUE BROWNING
SOMEWHERE over the Mississippi River I looked up from my book, glanced out the window, realized that my flight out of New York was actually in the air, that we seemed to be making good time, and that there was a slim chance I would make a tight connection in Texasand get to my first meeting in New Mexico. Duly noted. I glanced at the snaking river below me, took in the squared-off landscape, and plowed right back into my book.
To what did I owe this newfound oblivion about where I was? This insouciance about fraying schedules? This good cheer about the dismaying ritual of herding, shuffling, squeezing, starving, sitting and suffocating that characterizes air travel today?
To a good book. The right kind of good book. My heart and mind were plunged into an epic battle between good and evil, the struggle to establish a new world order, the heartbreak of love fractured by political imperative, the tragedy of families torn apart.
Was I reading “War and Peace”? Hardly. I have given up flying with Great Literature.
I must credit George R. R. Martin with a salutary breakthrough in my reading habits, but I might just as easily credit (or blame) Sara Paretsky, or Patricia Cornwell, or P. D. James, or Sue Grafton, or Faye Kellerman, or John Mortimer. I’m just beginning to mainline the addictive Ruth Rendell.