Traveling Books

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Bon voyage!  Time to get some reading in.

To whom it may concern: Please don’t ever allow us to make cell phone calls in planes.

I don’t read well in hotels. I normally like quiet, but the silence in a hotel room unnerves me.  I don’t keep a television in my bedroom at home, but in hotels I fall asleep to Shark Tank reruns, dreaming of inventing an ice maker that fits in your car’s glove compartment.  I would never have to drink another warm Pepsi on the road and I’d make a gazillion dollars in the process.

Call me, Lori. This would be great for QVC.

But I digress.

Airplanes, however, are perfect for reading. You have this big chunk of uninterrupted time—no cell phone ringing, no internet (though that’s changing), and—if you’re lucky enough, or have an appropriate stink eye—no seat neighbor wanting to tell you his or her life story.

There’s nothing to do but sink into a good story. And enjoy your complementary beverages while they’re still complementary.

The books I read on planes stick with me. Years ago I flew to Dublin and read Nora Roberts’ Irish Trilogy.  (This was my idea of a guidebook.)  I first discovered the incomparable (and much taller than Tom Cruise) Jack Reacher while reading 61 Hours on a plane to Salt Lake City.  I read the conclusion of Anna Quindlen’s One True Thing on a business trip to Fort Myers, trying (and failing) to hide my tears from my colleagues.  I found Allison Leotta via Discretion on the way to San Diego.

On a recent trip to Boston, I polished off Sarah MacLean’s Wicked and the Wallflower on the way out, and started Barbara Delinsky’s Before and Again on the trip home.

I remember the details and plots of these books more than I do most other books I’ve read. I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with the complete absorption that reading on a plane allows.

These days, I’m picky about the books I take in the air with me. If I’m going to remember it, I want it to be something good.

I’ve got another business trip to Boston coming up in December. I dread the potential delays, the airport food, and the long days in corporate training seminars.

But I’m already going through my to-be-read pile and picking out the friend who’ll keep my company in the turbulence-free air.

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