Airport Books & Holiday Reads…

As it is the summer in the UK, not that you would really know from the weather we are having, talk here there and everywhere in the bookish world has been of ‘summer reads’ and ‘holiday books’. Just yesterday BBC’s Woman’s Hour did a feature on it which was rather interesting and you can listen to hear. I digress. I have been thinking of summer reads a lot recently, and if I read differently at this time of year which I don’t think I do. Having just come back from an amazing break away I took my usual fare of books with me, some of them just happened to be set where I was staying and some had to be gripping to take me away from the induced fear of being on the plane for several hours of torture for me and anyone who flies with me.

I don’t like flying at all, oddly though I do really like airports. In the hours, generally filled with fear and nail biting, awaiting getting on the tin can that will fly me 35,000 (or more, which just isn’t what humans were meant to do) above the ground to some delightful destination I wander the shops to keep me occupied. You try out aftershaves/perfumes you would never normally by, have a coffee or two and of course hit the bookshops.

I had a good browse and didn’t really find anything that was particularly up my street, but not because there was only ‘holiday reads’ as I have heard many people complain, I thought it was nicely varied I was just under the watchful eyes of The Beard who had only a few hours before been rolling said eyes as I popped the fourth book in my case and two in my hand luggage for the flight there. Only people who really love books can understand why you need to take so many away with you, even on one of those dreaded ‘K’ machines. Mind you, I did feel very smug, whilst also sweating with terror, when the plane back from Italy had to wait in the middle of the airport as it was delayed (due to bad weather in the UK which led to turbulence, vile) and everyone who had a Kindle/e-reader had to turn them off. I proceeded to very loudly turn the pages of Mary Beard, smuggity-smug.

So I thought I would ask you if you all read differently over the summer than you do the rest of the year? I don’t think I do apart from the fact I wouldn’t really read a ghost story, they seem more appropriate for long blustery dark nights, oh hang on we have those in the UK at the moment so it’s fine. What are your thoughts on ‘holiday reads’? What gems of books have you discovered at an airport book shop? Do let me know, I will be catching up on comments and blogs today so will respond very quickly which I have been lax with of late. I will also be reporting on the trip away soon, where shock horror… I did no reading really!

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31 Comments

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31 responses to “Airport Books & Holiday Reads…

  1. I am in the middle of terrible reader’s block :( I’m not sure why, maybe the oppressive heat here in the states has fried my powers of concentration? But I do tend to pick up lighter reads in the summer and save the meatier books for the dark days of winter. And like you I love to shop at bookstores in airports and I had great fun in Heathrow last summer trying to jam four new purchases I made at WHSmith in my carry on luggage :)

    • Oh no! I am sorry to hear that Tracy, I hope that it has passed now? I had a reading block on holiday, or maybe it was just that I needed a holiday from reading on holiday. I let the block take over and now seem to be back on track.

  2. Sarah Cubitt

    I love the K story! 1-0 to you! I don’t change my reading on holiday. The only time I regretted this was taking Cormac McCarthy’s The Road on honeymoon – it was so bleak & miserable, especially in the Maldives! Everyone else seemed to love it, so I wonder if I’d have enjoyed it if I’d read it here instead. I take several books as I like a selection when there.

    • Hahahaha it did feel a little bit like that. I was doing a ‘yeah!’ on the inside, I thought if I did it on the outself people might think I was a little strange.

      The Road + honeymoon + Maldives doesnt = a great apt read maybe hahaha. I did think that book was incredible, but I read it in rainy England.

  3. gaskella

    I find it so hard to settle down with a book on holiday – in airports I people watch, it’s so fascinating. At the destination I’m too busy being a tourist during the day, and falling asleep after all that fresh air and exercise in the evenings, so I’ll buy a paper or do a crossword rather than read much. If I do read it’ll be something light on a trip.

  4. What I read, as well as how much I read, does change much from summer to winter. On a recent flight I picked up a paperback in an airport bookstore and was told I could return it and receive back 50% of the price. I didn’t think it mattered much, as I didn’t plan to finish the book by my return date. But as it turned out, I finished on the return flight (ended up reading through both 5 hour flights) and returned the book. It was a lucky happenstance.

    • Thats an interesting idea for a book shop to do at the airport. I don’t think mine would be allowed to be returned, the amount my hands sweat with nerves during take off, flight, oh and landing hahaha.

  5. I don’t tend to read differently in the summer but I do like to read thrillers/mysteries on planes. And I always carry a real book in addition to my kindle so I can read at all times.

    • I am much happier with a mystery on a plane, I think its the short chapters as well as the fact its gripping. Mary Beard worked with its shortness of essay length pieces on the flight back and she is so wonderful (my most overused word) that you get hooked in.

  6. Laura Caldwell

    I don’t read differently in the summer except if I am away from home. Then I read a lighter book because I am much more easily distracted. I would carry my Nook and at least one real book. (And visit any used book stores where I am, and therefore come home with more than I brought.)

  7. Kate G

    Made a huge mistake reading Snow by Orhan Pamuk for book club this month! It is definitely not a summer book (and the whole group felt the same way). I like mysteries and other quick reads on vacation, but I am also reading some literary things this summer. While I own a dreaded K it was a gift and while flying I always have a real book for the reasons you wrote. In the winter, I do tend to read heavier stuff, having read Dickens and Anna Karenina during the past couple of winters.

    • Ha, that has made me laugh. I agree with you on winter being a time for heavier denser books. I don’t mean longer books, but weightier classics work better for me in the autumn and winter.

  8. Why do you have to turn off Kindles on the plane? I don’t understand? Surely you could just turn off the wi-fi?
    I like a book for holiday that I know I can get totally absorbed in – I’m into Robin Hobb so one of hers is usually good, or a thick crime novel!

  9. I don’t think I read differently in the summer, though I frequently note if something I read was a particularly good or bad summer read (like that unfortunate time that I read Camus’ The Plague in the summer.)

    I do try to take very light reading on planes though, as I hate flying and can’t think straight. For those times, I read young adult or chick lit, though I take other books for other parts of the trip.

    • You sound like you have the same issue as me on the plane. I need to be gripped or the fact I am 300,000ft above the air in a tin can with huge petrol drums attached to it really starts to bother me. Hee hee.

  10. Of late, I think Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and 11/22/63 by Stephen King would make excellent holiday or plane ride reads. It was my first Stephen King and I was surprised to find that the man can write! I loved every minute of it. For years I’ve dismissed him but I’m so glad I finally gave him a try.

  11. I am so glad to hear I am not the only person to fly through Heathrow stuffing as many extra books as possible in my carry on!!!! :)

  12. Rhian

    I think that the only difference I consciously make for my holiday reading is that I choose books (or versions of books) that I am willing to leave behind. I always take more books than I read in case of delays (or something) – but then I do that on a daily basis! At the moment I have 2 books, New Scientist, History Today and the Economist in my bag. Not to mention some crossstitch! (All this for a 50 minute daily journey!)
    My Dearly Beloved also rolls his eyes at the number of books I feel it necessary to take on holiday, and at my inability to pass anywhere selling books without stopping (and often buying!)

    • Oh I haven’t thought about books that I am willing to leave behind. Hmmmm that is an interesting one. You see my worry is that I will love them all and so want to keep them, that said the library above did swaps so as I didn’t want rid of any of them (well one but I kept it just in case it got better) I couldn’t do a delightful swap.

  13. I don’t think I change a lot my reading habits, or maybe I unconsciously avoid books set in/about Winter. There were only two airport buys that I remember well, as they were good surprises. I bought them without knowing anything about the authors (pre-blogging days) although since then they’ve become really familiar: The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak and Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. On both cases I just really liked the cover!

    • I think you are right about no winter books (no snow in particular for me) in the summer, it doesnt work. Well it doesnt work when you are on holiday at least, in the UK this summer snow wouldn’t have actually come as a big surprise.

  14. susanatthetable

    I have memories of sitting on the floor of JFK frantically taking books out of one piece of luggage to stuff into another to avoid the extra-heavy -suitcase charge. I’m very picky about reading material, so I’m always afraid of running out of books on a trip. This summer I’m taking along the new Ruth Rendell, Tana French, a couple of Elizabeth von Armin’s books, Bring Up the Bodies, and a few yet to be decided!

    • Oh no that sounds awful Susan, I couldn’t bear that, I would be worried people would be judging my books or my book love hahaha. Sounds like you have a nice mix though in your luggage this summer.

  15. I must be rather odd, as I actually enjoy flying, or traveling in general. What I don’t like is waiting.

  16. I actually don’t mind flying; I just don’t like waiting.

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