Thursday, May 01, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Mayday!

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 . . .

Setting aside the fact that I carry a book in my purse more often than not, something I'd likely not forget when going to the grocery store, for the sake of this exercise, what would I do?

It's really quite simple what I would do. I would buy a book to read. Airports have come a long way over the years, many sporting mall like stores--at least the ones I frequent. In particular, I remember passing time before my flight home in the San Francisco Airport where there's a decent sized bookstore. I took special notice of the Kurt Vonnegut books at the time because I was considering giving his books a try. The selection was broad and diverse, and there was just about a little of everything available. While the closest airport to where I live isn't quite to well endowed, there is a little magazine shop that sells a small collection of varied books. I imagine that if no books tickled my fancy there, I would simply buy a couple of magazines to tide me over.

I have heard the term airport book before, but frankly, I'm not sure what that means exactly. Some people refer to it as a bestseller while others deem it to be something light and without substance. Of course, that's all relative, isn't it? The without substance part, I mean. I read just about anything as it is, and so it wouldn't make a difference to me whether I read Kurt Vonnegut or the latest James Patterson novel.

Truth be told if it was a family emergency, I might be too worried and upset to concentrate on reading anyway. There are always plenty of people around in an airport so perhaps I would prefer to engage in a round or two of people watching.


  1. I too love watching people. Gives me fodder for my writing!

    Here is my BTT post!

  2. Thanks for visiting me and yes our airport is very small and doesn't have much in it. Since I'd have to fly to Halifax Airport to get anywhere anyway, I'd pick a book up there...hypothetically!

  3. It seems like several of the responses I've read so far have mentioned that in a true family emergency, they might actually be too worried or distracted to read. Me too.

  4. Hi - I tagged you for a meme - if you want to participate check it out at

  5. I would be too worried to read and would probably be on the phone the whole time.

  6. I've come to find things to like about airports, since I seem to spend a lot of time in them lately. You are right about the shopping at many airports these days! I'm in and out of the San Francisco airport several times a year and they do indeed have a quite nice and fairly comprehensive bookstore. The one I frequent is the Compass Bookstore. Hooray for bookstores in airports :o)

    Also, thanks for the heads up on the author Louise Ure. I hadn't heard of her and I try to look into all authors who use AZ as a setting (home state and all you know). Thanks!

  7. People watching is wonderful, but I think I'd buy a book anyway - just in the hope that it could carry me away from whatever fears I had about the emergency!

  8. I was poking around on the internet (because, you know, I don't have anything else to do) and found this when I looked up Compass Books
    (Hope that URL comes out OK in the comments.) Was impressed enough with the Compass Books at the SF airport that I might take a trip down to visit the one in Anaheim at Downtown Disney.

  9. Oops. Here is the link to the Compass Books in Anaheim
    The previous link is still interesting since it gives a bit of history of Books Inc.

  10. I always have a book on me as well at all times plus a notebook, but if for some reason I didn't I would buy one at the airport. They often get hardbacks brought out in larger paperbacks earlier as they are lighter to take on planes. I don't like hardbacks so it does me a favour!

  11. If it were my family, I'd be driving to the emergency, not waiting at an airport. Happy BTT.

  12. I'm pretty easily distracted, so reading in the airport isn't always the easiest thing for me anyway. But...being on the plane is a different story. Luckily I almost always have a book in my matter where I am going.

  13. Gautami - Yes, it's a great way to get ideas!

    Chris - I'm glad you'll be able to pick up a book at the next stop at least! ;-)

    Florinda - I've noticed that too. I guess it would depend a lot on whether I could concentrate at all. In a way, I think reading might actually be a good way to help with the worrying. Although a magazine might be better for that.

    Ritualmadness - Thanks!

    Jaimie - I guess it would depend on what the emergency is for me.

    Terri - Airports have come a long way in recent years. At least the bigger ones, haven't they?

    The San Francisco Airport bookstore is fantastic! I've been to the one in Anaheim a couple of times. It's a nice bookstore too. Thank you for the links, by the way!

    Amy - Great minds think alike. :-)

    Clea - I probably would too. Even if I don't open the book, it would be comforting to know it's there in case I do decide to read.

    Rhinoa - I prefer paperback too if given the choice. I keep a little notebook with me too, along with my book. :-)

    Pussreboots - If you live close enough, that would be the way to go. Flying would be much faster and more convenient if I was going to visit either of my parents or brother though.

    Trish - You make a good point. With all the movement and noise in an airport it can be hard to concentrate even on a good day.

  14. Exactly. I'll be worried sick and don't think I'll be able to concentrate on any reading. And people watch is another good way to pass the time too.

  15. If it's an emergency I don't think I'd be doing any reading. But, I always have books in the car. Always. Got a boot (trunk) full of Stephen King at the moment. However, I don't like Stephen King so I'd probably go to the bar :)

  16. You're right, most airport stores these days are pretty nice. I have to be really careful when I go in--I'm a somewhat captive audience, and I'm likely come out with enough books to make carrying my bag uncomfortable. ;) But I have found some of my favorite reads in an airport bookstore...

  17. I love browsing at the airport book stores.. i used to always buy at least ONE book on vacation, often more! But i can't afford to buy books anymore, so read what i have (900 books and counting in this house unread)... and yeah, i used to always carry a book in my purse... purse isn't big enough so i usually have a tote bag with me to put in the extra stuff

  18. If it was a real family emergency, I would probably still want to read, to take my mind off it..but may find myself unable to. I am often a bit of a worrier when there is nothing I can do.

    I find that smaller airport bookshops tend only to have decent selections of "chicklit" and crime, the two types of fiction that I tend to avoid. The larger airport bookshops are far better, but there is usually at least one book I can find in any shop!

  19. I'd have to list the bookstore at SFO as one of my favorites. I've never bought anything there but magazines I admit, because I carry at least three books in my carry on, just in case I don't like the first two...

    I've tagged you. You can find the details here

    I hope you like tags....

  20. Melody - I would probably be able to read more if my husband wasn't with me. If he was there, I'd probably be talking nonstop about my concerns.

    Julie - That's an idea! I might got eat now that you mention it.

    Becca - You make a very good point. With my book buying habits being what they are, spending too much time in a nice airport bookstore could be a problem. I might have to pay for an extra bag.

    Marie - I try and always take books on vacation with me too. Right now my purse is big enough to hold an average sized hardback, but I've had purses in the past that would only fit a mass market paperback. I don't like to carry too many bags with me, but I adjust as needed. :-)

    Mariel - I might too, if I wasn't overly worried, otherwise I just wouldn't be able to focus enough to make reading worthwhile unless it was a magazine or something.

    C.B. - That's a smart idea, carrying three books with you just in case. I was really impressed with the bookstore in SFO.

    Thanks for the tag!

  21. Good answer! I always seem to be able to find something to read in the airport, and I'm sure I'd find something this time, too. But I like your idea of people-watching--the airport is definitely one of the best places for that :)

  22. I almost always have a book with me, but if someone was hurt I wouldn't even think of reading I'd be too buzy praying that it would all be all right.

  23. I always browse the bookstore, however small, when I'm waiting at the airport and even when I already have a book or two with me. I don't usually buy anything though. Airplanes are actually the time when I'll read a fashion magazine or something I normally wouldn't. Totally depends on my mood.

  24. Gentle Reader - Thanks! I'm sure I could find something to read there too. I enjoy people watching and ended up doing a lot of that the last time I flew. I always like to come up with stories for the people I see. Keeps me busy for awhile. :-)

    Alison - I think it would really depend on the emergency what I would be able to do.

    Tanabata - I do that too! And like you, I try not to buy anything, but I sometimes will make notes of titles that I want to consider later.

  25. People watching does provide quite a bit of entertainment, doesn't it? :-)

  26. I usually always have a book myself but if I was enroute to a family emergency without one? I'd be a mess.

    SFO has a great bookstore. Portland has a Powells satellite store, although sady it's not open at 5:30am (which was when I had to get there).

    I'm still sad Dresden Files didn't get renewed.

  27. Hi Wendy, I used to people watch a lot and still do now but less intense like I did last time.

    Like you, I read almost anything so it doesn't really matter what I managed to grab at that exact moment, but under normal circumstances where I do have a choice, I am a 'mood reader'.

    Have a good weekend!

  28. Interesting we have very similar answer to this one. Consider that I always have a book or two in my daybag, I'll safe. But the San Francisco Airport has great bookstores. Someone mentioned Compass Books in the domestic terminal. The one I frequent the most is Hudson Bookseller at the international terminal.And...the first name off the top of my head is James Patterson when it comes to airport book! :)

    Have a great weekend.

  29. Trish - It definitely can be entertaining. :-)

    Carrie K - Even if I couldn't read, I'd want to know I have a book handy for when I could.

    You'd think that stores in airports would be open at all hours since the airport is, but I guess it would be hard to find staff to keep the stores open 24/7.

    I'm sad about Dresden Files not being renewed too. I haven't yet finished watching the first season, but it seems like a good show so far.

    Alice - I would definitely prefer to be reading the book I was already in the middle of, but I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures. I hope you have a good weekend too!

    Matt - I haven't been to the bookstore in the international terminal at SFO, but I'm glad to hear that there is a good bookstore there too. With as long as a flight as most people flying out of that terminal have to look forward to, it's a must, I imagine.

    I hope you have a great weekend too.


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