Reading in transit

On the flight back from London, knowing that I had over nine hours ahead of me with nothing except for a slew of 20-something Jump Street movies and some bad Johnny Depp flicks, I picked up two novels from the W.H. Smith bookstore in the airport.  For me, choosing a book to read in flight is more of a laborious process than choosing a travel companion.

Books have an uncanny knack of transporting you to places.  However, unlike with airplanes, when you close the book, you are back where you physically started.  You just need to wait for your mind to catch up to your body.  Unless, of course, you are reading whilst in transit.  In this scenario, when you close a book you are whisked back to where you last left your body, which is not really where you left it at all.  And all of this brings me to the following conclusion: reading while flying may be one of the trippiest experiences that an over-imaginative person goes through.

Now before you start accusing me of over-exaggerating and being too dramatic, I'd like to call to the witness stand the novel Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis.

If you've ever heard of Bret Easton Ellis, you'll recall that he is also the author of American Psycho.  And if you've ever heard of Lunar Park, then you'll realize that reading it on a nighttime flight in a sleep-deprived state can shake the foundation of your reality.

Lunar Park is written as a memoir of Ellis's life, describing the fame achieved through one of his novels as well as his recreational drug use.  However, at some vague point, the book swerves dramatically from reality, when Ellis's fictional daughter's Furby doll comes to life and chases the family around their home.  The introduction of the fantastic and horrific in the novel is not so gradual as to have the reader slowly buy into it but presents it as factually true, as with the author's memoirific (is that even a word?  it is now) details.  Killer attack dolls in a story that may/not be true, sleep deprivation, and a shiny holographic cover resulted in a very confused landing and arrival.  I'm still not certain I didn't leave part of my sanity on that United flight.

Alas, my book-choosing abilities have not improved; if anything, they've gotten worse.  I picked up The Martian and I Am Pilgrim.  Both wonderful books in their own right (you should read both of them).  One is about a man accidentally left behind on Mars and the other is a spy novel about the weaponization of a virus by terrorists.  I'm still waiting for American Airlines to call and let me know that the remainder of my sanity is on a baggage carousel in Guatemala.


  1. AACK. Not choices I'd make when hanging my a miracle (air flight) above the clouds, I think! ;) You're a braver soul than I. But yes. There's transported and there's *transported!*

  2. Hope you'll get your sanity back! :) I agree that choosing a book for a flight is very difficult. Which is why I usually have at least 6 books and magazines in my bag plus all the books on my iPad because I never know what I will be able to read during such a flight.

  3. Ha! You have to love W.H. Smith, though. Even if the selection of airport books usually leaves something to be desired. I had a similar experience on our flight back from Greece but with movies instead of books, when I watched Gravity in the middle. Talk about sanity-reducing! I think there are still imprints of my fingers on the arm rest ;) And then I watched "The Fault in Our Stars" (or did I watch them in the reverse order?) and so I was a blubbery mess. I should've stuck to books! xo

  4. that sounds like a really interesting memoir he's written there (??). no wonder you left your sanity on the plane! i don't think i could leave my sanity on a plane because i don't think i ever bring it on board. i haven't been on a plane in awhile, which is fine by me because i hate flying. like in a clinical grade level of fear/phobia. so the only thing i think about while flying is how i am going to die/not going to die. and 'what was that sound?' and 'oh my god why did the seatbelt light go on?' and 'the stewardess looks nervous doesn't she? she does! oh my god did she go sit down and buckle in?' and then 'stop! you are being crazy. try to relax.' then is starts all over. you do not want to fly me. ever.

  5. You are so right about picking out a book! Once you start you can't stop until you finished so you got to make it's the right book.

    Missed you girl and can not wait to catch up.

    And I am soooo jealous you got to go to London. :)

  6. Very cool Rooth! I've read about spooky flights and seen them in movies, but I've never helped myself have one. That sounds much more interesting than how I usually pass the time on a flight.

    PS - the sound of an animated, evil doll's unseen footsteps is one of my favorite scary sounds. :)

  7. That sounds like a TRULY terrifying book! hahaha...killer furby! I'd have nightmares.

  8. I've never thought about reading in transit like this. a fascinating concept. and I think I may be reading Lunar Park on my next long distance flight. thanks for the recommendation.

  9. Hmm, choosing a book to read in transit should not be taken lightly . . . hope your sanity arrives on your doorstep shortly!

  10. I know exactly, exactly what you mean. I don't really read much on flights anymore because I don't like carrying books with me, but I read Journey to the Center of the Earth on a recent flight. TALK about trippy.

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