Thursday 1 May 2008


An appropriate Booking Through Thursday today, not only because of the Mayday = panic, but because I'm flying off to Northern Ireland tomorrow, for a friend's wedding...

Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??

And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember….

Well, it is entirely out of character for me to go anywhere without a book. I took one walking with my friend a while ago, who was not comforted by my rationale "Well, if you fall and break a leg, I'll have to do something while I wait with you." But I will stretch the mind... what would I do?


I assume the airport bookshop only has aptly named 'airport novels'? Not sure I could force my way through one of them. Perhaps I'd stock up on magazines, and play games in my head, like how many novels by Dickens I can think of in three minutes, or protagonists for every letter of the alphabet. Or perhaps I'd become the only person engrossed with the Saftey Information... Hmm.

This exercise has made me more determined than ever to have a book at all times. Now I'm going to choose the ones to accompany me to Northern Ireland tomorrow.


  1. If you could scrounge a pen and paper from someone/somewhere maybe you could start WRITING a book.

  2. I think writing would be an excellent option!
    I always have at least one book on me, but I once finished my entire stash of books and magazines during an unusually long layover, leading me to browse the airport store. In desperation, I picked up the first Harry Potter book and promptly fell in love.
    Sorry for the long comment, and enjoy your trip. :)

  3. I couldn't work with this hypothesis at all. I obviously haven't been practising believing in six impossible things before breakfast hard enough lately. Why would I go to the grocery store without a book? what would I do while I was waiting in the checkout queue if I hadn't got anything to read?

  4. Well I don't carry books around with me everywhere I go (not even textbooks or journal papers). If I could not find something to engage my mind (and I have for example bought Don Quixote at Heathrow) then I would use the time letting my imagination soar like the spiralling of Red Kites outside the window of my friend Tanya (my thanks to her for the metaphor).

    I would say that probably I do too much reading and not enough thinking and a forced break would be a good idea.

    Dark Puss

  5. I'd just buy lots of newspapers (which is fine since I love reading the newspapers) :) Really out of character for me as well, though : I have a book for my bag and one for when I'm at home, and the book for my bag never leaves my bag.
    Right now, book for bag : Elizabeth and her German Garden, book for home : The Way we Live Now.

  6. Of course, you would have enormous difficulty in NOT reading all the signs around you (like waiting for the doctor, where one finds oneself reading and re-reading posters about smoking and bad feet, again and again. Irritatingly.)Then you would be forever checking and re-checking every announcement and departure sign, anxious not to miss your flight. This is very bad for concentrated reading. So, back to the bookstall and (avoiding all the Archer books) pick up a book on 1001 uses for vinegar (or some-such) and see how many you can learn before your flight leaves. On the plane you will be distracted by still more signs. Close your eyes and you'll soon find yourself standing in an Irish bookshop handing over your hard-earned cash for a Real Read!

  7. The worst for me was when I was flying from Germany to the States with nothing to read. I don't actually remember why that happened because I remember buying two Persephone books on purpose just for that flight.

    But I didn't have them, and I was incredibly bored. I was so bored that I couldn't fall asleep and then I couldn't fall asleep because I was furious about being bored. I think I read the airport magazine ten times and then I tried to decode German words based on the signs around the airplane.

  8. Perhaps you should take up the habit of having a handbag ... or a bag of any kind ... about your person at all times.

    I always have a book in my handbag ... so would have had one on my way to the ethnic aisle of my local grocer. At the mnoment it would be Voss and/or A Lesson Before Dying.

    Hope the wedding celebrations were brilliant.


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