CR's Recommendations for Roving Readers

KeskusteluClub Read 2023

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CR's Recommendations for Roving Readers

huhtikuu 15, 4:04 pm

There's been some discussion on various threads recently with people looking for travel recommendations, so I thought it might be an idea to have a thread devoted to the topic.

Set out your food/lodging/entertainment/hiking/sailing/you name it query here, and see what others have to suggest.

Just as a thought, it might help to put a heading on it, for follow up later.

huhtikuu 15, 4:08 pm

I'll jump in right away, as I need help.

Airplane Reading Suggestions

I am one of the world's worst airplane passengers. That said, I will be going on several 10 hour plus flights in the next little while. These are long flights indeed, and I suspect I will have to trust the flight crew to handle things on occasion, while I distract myself with some reading. It will need to be light enough that I can still keep the plane up, but distracting enough to keep me reading. Suggestions please!

huhtikuu 15, 4:44 pm

>2 SassyLassy: I'm with you--I have to help keep the plane flying, so I have difficulty reading on planes.

huhtikuu 15, 5:03 pm

Ha! I'll be completely useless, as always... For me, long boring trips must be countered with strong emotions. Once upon a time, when sex was sexier (to me--yes, dear reader, I have sadly aged), smut might keep my spirits up. Barring that, violence, i.e. hate-reading, might help to keep me awake and alert, if angry. Have a serious quarrel with an author? Take them on the plane and rip them to shreds mentally and perhaps literally.

But when I went through a phase of flying phobia, I was always clutching Proust because if I had to die, as I was convinced I would whenever I got on a plane, I wanted it to be while communing with my bestie. This also answered the question, much more complicated when I'm on terra firma, on who exactly is my bestie. Marcel and only ever Marcel.

huhtikuu 15, 5:58 pm

On the contrary, I do my best reading on transatlantic flights or long train rides, as I can concentrate free of many distractions I have at home, and comfortably sit for 8-10 hours without getting bored. When I travel abroad (or return to the United States) I ideally like to have a meaty tome with me, usually a work of literary fiction that I've already started and loved before I board the plane, along with my Kindle, which I'll pull out on overnight flights when the lights are dimmed and I don't want to disturb my fellow passengers by using the overhead light. The book I'm reading now, Retrospective by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, would be a perfect choice, as would books by Hilary Mantel, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Javier Cercas, and Mario Vargas Llosa.

I normally don't like to be disturbed by my seat mate during a flight or long train ride, unless I'm traveling with someone, but one of the most amusing comments and best conversations took place a decade or so ago on a flight from Atlanta to Philadelphia. I was completely engrossed in Don Quixote and barely noticed or acknowledged my seat mate, who clearly wasn't a comfortable flier. The ascent was very bumpy, as we were flying through storm clouds, and she gasped and grabbed the seat divider every time we started bouncing in the air. Finally she grabbed my arm and cried, "How can you read Don Quixote when we're about to die?!" I laughed, and saw that my seat mate was a strikingly beautiful thirtysomething Latina, who was finishing her PhD at Emory University, where I completed my pediatric residency. We had a great conversation, which relaxed her throughout the rest of the flight. Unfortunately for me she was visiting her boyfriend, who taught at the University of Pennsylvania, and I never saw her again.

huhtikuu 16, 8:49 pm

>5 kidzdoc: what was her PhD in?

huhtikuu 16, 10:04 pm

>6 dianeham: She was in the School of Public Health and working for the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), which is directly adjacent to Emory's campus on Clifton Road in Atlanta.

huhtikuu 17, 3:15 am

>5 kidzdoc: I’m like Darryl, I often find the distracting environment of a long journey by train or plane forces me in on myself and makes it easier to get on with reading something “heavy”. But that obviously doesn’t apply to everyone. And it’s risky, because you don’t want to be stuck with something seriously heavy that you find less interesting (or less intelligible) than you expected.

I often go for nineteenth century classics: you know what to expect, you get an absorbing but reasonably easy to follow narrative, you aren’t likely to run out of book two hours into the flight, and they are books that you can probably exchange or give away at the other end of the journey, if you aren’t using an e-reader. Only obvious drawback is the likelihood that you will need to get the hanky out in the last couple of chapters, which isn’t necessarily the look you are going for when reading in a public place.

Darryl’s story also raises the point that you might want to be reading a book on the plane that would be a good conversation-starter if you are lucky enough to be sitting next to someone sympathetic. Which means imagining what sort of cover would speak to the sort of person you like talking to and repel others: not an easy calculation. The e-reader renders that moot, of course. But something like a Virago or Penguin Modern Classics cover might be a way of signalling “I’m reading this book because it interests me” when a lurid thriller or romance could be interpreted by your neighbour as “I’m only resorting to reading because I’m bored, please interrupt me.”

Reading a book in a language that isn’t the language of either end of your journey might be a good way of discouraging conversation, but it’s risky. You could end up sitting next to a native-speaker who decides that you need conversation practice…

huhtikuu 17, 3:40 am

Don't fly - save the planet

Recently I took my kindle on a long train journey and was so fascinated by the scenery flashing past I didn't open it.

huhtikuu 17, 11:17 am

>9 baswood: It's cute that you think I have infinite time to get across the country.

huhtikuu 17, 1:15 pm

>10 reconditereader: More cute to think there might not be a country to cross one day (sorry couldn't resist)

I know that >9 baswood: was a glib comment, and of course I apologise to anybody who might take exception, but my aim is to increase awareness.

Now back to the books, when travelling when there is so much all around us to pique our interest, I prefer a beach read book. I don't need a selection, because really anything will do. Old science fiction stories are perfect.

huhtikuu 17, 1:28 pm

>9 baswood: Feeling really guilty about the flying, and would love to cross the oceans by ship, but that's not an option. I feel I am using my carbon quotient and more for the rest of my life, but once I get where I am going it will be all public transport.

huhtikuu 17, 3:29 pm

I can't travel anymore except to hospital waiting rooms for tests and biopsies, which I think of as bad trips to Cancerland (and still not as scary as flying).

I find that long engrossing books chopped up into fairly short chapters (or chapters with frequent internal breaks) works good for me.

When my mother had open heart surgery, I had a long day of waiting and appreciated The Goldfinch. Not sure I would have enjoyed it as much had I read it under "normal" circumstances, but it took me out of myself.

I have also enjoyed the Patrick Melrose novels (tho some might find them upsetting) and The Lost Daughter.

I have thought about getting a copy of The Quincunx to re-read for my next extended "journey."

huhtikuu 17, 3:39 pm

>13 nohrt4me2: I have thought about getting a copy of The Quincunx to re-read for my next extended "journey."

I’m pretty sure that would count as excess baggage, even on ships. :-)

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 17, 4:15 pm

>14 thorold: To each their own. Just saying it fits the bill for me in blotting out as much of the hospital surroundings as possible.

One of the worst things travel and hospital lobbies have in common are the ubiquitous TVs blaring. It makes it really hard to concentrate on reading, so I take earplugs. I tell them I'm hearing impaired (which I am with earplugs in) because otherwise I won't hear them call my name. It's a pain for the aids to find me, but that's what they get for having the TV on.

huhtikuu 17, 4:18 pm

>4 LolaWalser: Dying in a crash with Proust - that's quite an image! You'd be a hero in the French media!

>5 kidzdoc: I would be that person grabbing your arm, although sadly I am not a strikingly beautiful thirtysomething Latina
Good idea to tentatively start the tome before you set off though. Imagine being up for half an hour and discovering the book meant to keep you sane just won't do.

>8 thorold: I'm considering those 19thC classics. My first Wilkie Collins was on the train from Glasgow to London at night, and kept me going. In daylight there's far too much to watch though (other people, what's outside, the tea trolley).

It seems electronic devices have completely cut off any contact with fellow passengers; everyone is completely absorbed in a screen.

I travel without any devices, so the books will be paper!

>13 nohrt4me2: I can't travel anymore except to hospital waiting rooms for tests and biopsies, which I think of as bad trips to Cancerland (and still not as scary as flying)
Denis Johnson has a short story about just that.

Internal breaks are something to consider, which sort of goes back to serialized Victorian novels.

I have thought about getting a copy of The Quincunx to re-read for my next extended "journey." I found that a disappointing book, and notice that it is one of the most available books in used book stores! Maybe take doc's advice and start it first before the journey. However, I just notice that you said re-read, so you know what you're getting into!

huhtikuu 18, 12:51 am

>16 SassyLassy: Yes, apparently The Quincunx is one of those books that gets you kicked out of the Cool Kids Reading Club now.

huhtikuu 18, 12:56 am

>2 SassyLassy: I read detective stories on planes - a series I like which have enough books left for me to read to last me the whole trip and then some. Just now it is Brunetti.

huhtikuu 21, 4:39 pm

Thanks all for the suggestions. I'll let you know how the reading went.

Anyone else needing help? I always love reading recommendations for restaurants and bookstores.

toukokuu 22, 4:50 pm

I posted a question on my own thread ( about a trip I’m planning to the USA in September and October. I’m visiting people in Cleveland, Ohio and in San Francisco, so mostly looking for suggestions in and around those cities.

I already know about the obvious famous things (e.g. the Orchestra and the museum of art in Cleveland and the bookbinding museum in San Francisco). lisapeet also suggested looking into the Public Library in Cleveland. Other ideas welcome.

toukokuu 22, 10:39 pm

>12 SassyLassy: I wish the US had decent train service like they have in Europe. We saw so much traveling, out those huge windows. We did indeed read but Id get distracted by the outside world

toukokuu 22, 10:40 pm

>13 nohrt4me2: when I was in the hospital waiting for them to fix my broken hip, I read Lucy Barton which was such a pleasre and comfort for me.

toukokuu 22, 10:44 pm

>15 nohrt4me2: oh dont get me started on tvs in public places. When my FIL was dying, the tvs were one in every waiting room, couldnt be turned off and couldnt escape. And because I am hearing impaired, sound from the tvs are louder than typical speech and its difficult to concentrate on a book. I keep ear buds handy and listen to music to try to drown out the drivel.