If like me you turn up to an airport as late as possible, making sure you get to the gate just before it closes and no more, then a newspaper or magazine will probably provide you with all the time wasting you require. However what if the plane has been delayed or you have a hefty wait for a connecting flight?
The more modern gentleman may take along an iPad or other such tablet device with which to peruse the internet. I, on the other hand, despite my devilish youth and appearance, enjoy the more classic pursuit of reading a physical book – perish the thought.
However there are a few golden rules when it comes to travel reading materials, and here they are:
- No disaster stories, sinking ships, crashing planes, hi-jackings etc. for plainly obvious reasons.
- Nothing too emotionally engaging, one does not want to be seen crying in an airport lounge.
- Nothing too racy, hot flushes are unbecoming for a man of any age and you never know who might be reading over your shoulder.
- No scientific journals or other boring periodicals, one needs to be engaged enough to ignore the crowds and thrilled enough to make the time fly – even if the gentleman isn’t.
- Always choose a book that will make one look intellectual, worldly and cultured! If one really must read something trashy, covering a lesser book with the cover of another will at the very least keep up the pretence.
Not that long ago I received some flight vouchers as a gift and took my self off to Dublin for a short city break. I decided that Ulysses by James Joyce would be a most fitting reading endeavour.
However not long into my journey I discovered the book was almost as dull and unintelligible as the conversation with the taxi driver that had just delivered me to Glasgow airport. Needless to say the book was ‘accidentally’ misplaced in one of the many Dublin hotels I had the pleasure to stay in. Good riddance to poor prose!
With that mistake behind me, here are my top 5 books for the bored and travelling gentleman:
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown – Dreadfully written, lacking in depth, poorly researched, yet horribly compelling – the perfect airport book. Perhaps one deserving of a bespoke disguising cover though, Ulysses perhaps?
On The Road, Jack Kerouac – Read about traveling whilst traveling, this seminal novel by Jack Kerouac with its stream of consciousness writing style will keep you thoroughly engaged for the longest of delays.
The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka – Strange, dark and somewhat depressing much like an airport really, most importantly quite short and snappy, the cover will make quite a statement to your fellow travelling companions too.
Silly Verse for Kids, Spike Milligan – Sometimes one just isn’t in the mood for too many words, especially if the gin has been flowing hard. This novella-absurdum will still whittle the hours away even with a heavy dousing of gin.
The Coma, Alex Garland – This may be breaking rule number one to some degree, but there’s nothing like a dose of surreal, reality-smashing fiction to melt your mind and keep you constantly turning pages trying to figure out what in heaven’s name is going on.
Have you any further suggestions for travel reading materials? Let us know in the comments below.
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