Tonight I got to cross off two of the most enjoyable tasks on my pre-holiday/pre-travel to do list. The first was getting a much overdue haircut. For you dog people out there, you know how delightful it is to pick up one of the more shaggy breeds from the groomer and discover you can actually see his face again? Well, let me tell you, the analogy is not far off.
The second task was stopping by the bookstore to pick out my airplane reading. I am really not fond of flying. This isn't because I'm afraid of the flying itself, thank goodness; I have friends so affected and know it's a difficult problem to have. Nor is it because of the mild air sickness I experience. Instead, my issue is that I get a wee bit claustrophobic in the cramped confines of a plane, especially if I let myself think about the fact that no matter how much I might wish to get off, this is clearly not an option and completely beyond my control. [Deep breath.]
The best ways to deal with this affliction, I've learned, are to get an aisle seat whenever possible and distract myself with engrossing books. (They have to be engrossing enough to distract me from the mild air sickness, too.) To avoid the dreaded situation of running out of stuff to read midway through a flight, I give myself leave to pack liberally when it comes to reading material, even though that's not terribly practical in this age of increasingly strict carry-on rules and hefty luggage fees. And even if I'm in the middle of several books, as is usually the case, I allow myself to purchase new ones because if taking up precious suitcase space with books is impractical, taking up space with books that are already partly read is downright foolish.
My choices for this trip?
This latest issue of The Economist. Because only long flights afford the luxury of time to read an issue of The Economist from cover to cover. And this cover caught my eye because I've been feeling not as young as I used to.
Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Because it's one of the books my tutoring student will be reading next, which means I can read something I think I'll enjoy and know I'm getting work done.
Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves. Because I loved her first novel, The Historian, which exemplifies the magic that occurs when a skilled researcher is also a gifted writer. The Swan Thieves, her second novel, has been on my wish list for a year and finally came out in paperback.
I feel better just knowing these will be making the trip with me.