I’ve been stuck in an airport all day. (Not an exaggeration. I’ve been here for 14 hours at this point.) I’ve finished one book and am nearly at the halfway point in another. I’ve bounced back and forth between reading and dozing while listening to music. Entertaining myself away from my print shelves has got me reflecting on the importance of choosing one’s travelling reading wisely.
I’m traveling for an academic conference where I’m presenting a paper with a colleague. Over the next two days, I will be doing my best to pack my brain full of new information about the world of text and libraries and the academy—after I get over my nerves about presenting a paper*. In my spare time, then, I want to be entertaining. I struck gold with my first choice: Carter & Lovecraft, by Jonathan L. Howard. My next choice, Secessia by Kent Wascom, is not really clicking for me even though it was a) highly praised by readers I trust and b) has a great setting. The literary writing style is challenging. A noisy airport terminal is not the best place for focused reading.
In an airport terminal, one either needs a) pure brain candy or b) a novel so engrossing that it can transport you to completely that you don’t hear the crying children, angry flyers, or screeching and beeping machinery. I’m not giving up on Secessia; I really want to finish it. But I might bump it down the queue in favor of something a little…fluffier.
* I’ve presented at state and national library conferences before, but those were actually presentations. I’ve never had to present a paper I’ve written. Reading from my paper in front of an audience reminds me uncomfortably of my first college speech class. I got a C. Since then, I’ve gotten very good at speaking extemporaneously after obsessively cramming on my topic.