Reading on Planes

One of my favorite things about air travel is turning off my devices. I know I could put my phone in airplane mode any time I want. I don’t. I allow myself to be distracted, largely by things I don’t care about.

But on a plane, I’m held captive. I can’t access anything because I’m too cheap to pay for wifi. I can be alone with books for as long as the plane is in the air, assuming I can signal to my seatmates that I don’t want to talk. That can be challenging since I attract talkers. (Case in point: I recently went to New Mexico and the cab driver asked me if I wanted to see her house. I thought it would be rude to say no. So I got to ride past her house where she showed me her new porch ottoman. Very lovely.)

The point is that planes are a great space for good reading, assuming you can ignore everyone around you and don’t mind being seated in a manner that must be the most clinically uncomfortable position known to humans. I like to take books that require a lot of concentration because I know that it’s either the book or talking to the guy in a Make America Great hat next to me. I’ll focus on the book.

I’m traveling this week, and I’m bringing A History of Knowledge: Past, Present, and Future by Charles Van Doren.

If you don’t hear from me again, I’m trapped under a stranger’s ottoman.

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