The perfect book

I’m lucky enough to be going to on trip to New York with my daughter in a week’s time and it goes without saying that I can’t wait. The list of things to see and do is already quite long and new things get added every day.

Any trip away requires planning, although in my case it’s not really what to wear that takes up most of my attention, but rather what book to take on the plane. The decisions about what clothes to take are relatively easy as I don’t really have that many clothes, but the decision about what book to take is more difficult because there are just so many choices.

It’s important to get your book choices just right when you are flying long distances.

I remember going on a trip to New Zealand a few years ago. It’s only a three and a half hour flight from Sydney but it seemed endless because I’d chosen the wrong book. I really hated the book I’d taken and spent the whole trip trying to read Harry Potter over the shoulder of the woman sitting next to me. I’m sure she thought I was a bit weird.

I know you are probably thinking that I should just take a whole bunch of different books on my iPad but sometimes your eyes get quite irritated on a long flight and I find an actual books to be more soothing.

This leads me to the first thing on the list of plane reading requirements (after being interesting and engaging) which is that that the print can’t be tiny. I can no longer read really tiny print at the best of times, and certainly not when I’ve been awake for more than 20 hours.

Secondly, the book needs to be not too heavy both in terms of storyline and physical weight. No gut-wrenching memoirs for me thank you. But on the other hand I don’t like reading anything dry (no biographies) and I don’t really reading like out and out rubbish, but I’m sure there is a sweet spot of books that are page turners but also well written. I quite like hopeful books and I like psychological thrillers but I’m not a fan of too many gruesome details.

A couple of books on my list of possibilities are Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. This book sounds interesting, if a little confronting, so perhaps not the thing for a long plane trip. My sister has also recommended The Seal Woman’s Gift which sounds interesting and extraordinary. If it doesn’t make it on the plane, it’s definitely on my TBR.

Some other books on the list are How to be Happy by Eva Woods and Strangers at the Gate by Catriona McPherson, which sounds pretty thrilling.

If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. If they don’t make it onto the plane, I’ll definitely check them out so please share your favourite recent reads.

9 thoughts on “The perfect book

    • Margaret says:

      I ended up taking a curiously old fashioned book by Robert Goddard that my friend recommended. A kind of spy thriller, reminds me of watching an old black and white movie. Great stuff for a plane ride.
      I’ve also got a new Nicci French book on audio which I’m enjoying called The Lying Room.

  1. Valorie Grace Hallinan says:

    Margaret, I travel with print books, too, and feel the same way that it has to be the right book. I’m so thrilled you are going to NYC – have you been there before? If I still lived in Rochester I’d take the train and come and meet you, lol, if your schedule allowed. I hope you have a wonderful time – if the weather is good it should be glorious. Lots of great bookstores to visit, among other things. I think you and your daughter would enjoy walking the Skyline. I have not yet been in Freedom Tower, only the Oculus and the memorial outside, but you might enjoy the sights of lower Manhattan, it is quite something. Have a wonderful time. I’m looking forward to photos on your upcoming blog posts.

    • Margaret says:

      It would be so lovely to meet you in person but you never know, I might make it to Oregon one day. Or you might make it to Australia!
      Thanks so much for your travel tips, we are going to be busy but I’m looking forward to seeing as much as possible. I may need a holiday when I get back. My daughter works in theatre so we have a few shows on the list. I’ll keep you posted!

  2. Margaret says:

    I would panic too if my purchased book didn’t download! I guess that’s another reason to take a real book. I hadn’t really thought about the reading light dilemma. I’ll have to think about that.
    I have read Millers Valley and really enjoyed it too.

  3. ibcreader says:

    Another first world problem for air travellers is turning on the overhead light in the dead of night – which it always seems to be on our flights! I feel guilty but I really can’t read without a bit of light. In that way, an ipad does help as it has some backlight but I prefer a “real” book. Imagine my panic when recently I thought my downloaded (but not opened) book was not going to open! It did eventually to my great relief. I really liked Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen for the reasons you mention but also loved The Sealwoman’s Gift.

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