An Ideal Plane-Read

September 15, 2010 at 12:00 am 6 comments

As Kate announced earlier this week, I am off to London for some graduate school adventures very shortly. While my last few American days are filled with the usual chaos of moving anywhere (at least I don’t have to worry about boxes of books this time!), the problem most preoccupying my mind at present is which book to read on the plane.

This is a deceptively difficult decision. The book I choose must be lengthy, but preferably weigh as little as possible. It must be captivating and distracting, but also relatively light-weight in terms of subject matter. It has to be something I would actually take out of my bag, not something I bring with the best of intentions and then end up watching bad tween movies rather than read it (yes, Oxford Companion to the British Empire: The Nineteenth Century, I mean you).

And this particular plane ride also has the requirement that the book won’t be a waste of space once I get to London. I have precious little room both in my luggage and in my future flat, so I can’t just take any old book that will needlessly take up space.

So what to read? At this point, I’ve decided it should be a novel, but that hasn’t gotten me very far. Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum is on the list, but I fear it may be too heavy (mentally) to take on an overnight plane. One of the Harry Potters may make the journey, since they are British (bonus), make me want to do good school work (excellent!), and never fail to cheer me up (thus being helpful once I’m actually in London).

Other than that, I can only think repeatedly about what Kate and I both agree are spiffing plane books: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. They are both phenomenal, but do I have room for them in London?! Fretful!

Clearly, I’m in a lurch. Help a girl out with some recommendations?



Entry filed under: Musings and Essays. Tags: , , , .

Ch-ch-ch-changes! Bluebeard

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Eva  |  September 15, 2010 at 12:38 am

    At the end of the second paragraph I was already thinking of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, so I think you’re on to something there! I have the mass market paperback, which is pretty small all things considering.

    Foucoult’s Pendulum is fun, but it’s a couple levels up from Name of the Rose as far as brain concentration/intensity goes.

    On the classics front, Trollope is lovely! And it’s pretty easy to find smaller editions of classics. Or some good old Wilkie. And if you get a cheap edition, you won’t feel as bad about donating it if you can’t fit it into your flat. :)

    • 2. Eva  |  September 15, 2010 at 12:39 am

      Argh, that would be Foucault’s Pendulum! My nails are longer than usual, and it’s making typing such a pain.

      • 3. Corey  |  September 16, 2010 at 7:12 am

        Hmm, Trollope. You’re actually the second person in the last two weeks to recommend him to me, so I think I have to check him out now! And just getting a second junky copy of Strange and Norrell may just be the best way to play this!

        (And I totally feel you on the nails/typing situation! I hate it when I don’t trim and then can’t type!)

  • 4. SilverSeason  |  September 16, 2010 at 12:43 am

    I recommend Dickens. I had Bleak House with me on a long and trouble-filled flight and was sorry when it had to end, the Dickens I mean. Further, as someone pointed out you can have a cheap or even thrift-shop edition and then pass it on to someone else when you arrive. Get a different book for the return trip.

    • 5. Corey  |  September 16, 2010 at 7:12 am

      Good call! I actually just got David Copperfield and thought he might make a good plane read.

  • […] recently had two full days of travel to devote to reading. As we’ve discussed before, choosing the perfect airplane read is a delicate balancing act and I’m happy to report that this […]


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