Up in the air

What should I read on this flight?

After you’ve watched Air New Zealand’s “Stretch And Slide” safety video for the umpteenth time, you are faced with many long hours before the joys of Heathrow are yours to behold. What else is there to do, but conduct an independent survey of  your fellow passengers’ reading material?

Given the number of library customers we’ve helped with their e-readers over the past few months, I expected to see heaps of heads bent over little back-lit screens, and it is true that people were playing games on iPads. But  when it came to actual reading, people had chosen books (at least that was true in Economy Class; heaven knows what  goes on behind the little curtain in Business and First!)

Here’s the lowdown from on high of some of the books that were being read on my flights:

There were others, but their titles were concealed and I stopped short of riffling through sleeping passengers’ seat pockets. That would be creepy. To my surprise, I saw no magazines, but a couple of passengers were messily doing battle with newspapers in their teeny tiny allotted spaces. You just have to ask: why, why, why?

What really took me aback though, was that I saw only three e-readers in use on the whole trip. I have no idea what books were being displayed on them and that’s the one thing I really dislike about e-readers: even though reading has always been a private activity, I love the potential connection afforded by an exposed book title. In fact, in my younger days I fantasised about the perfect pick-up line, one in which a handsome stranger invites me for a coffee/wine on the strength of the book title he has just seen me reading. Using an e-reader would scupper that one for sure.

I’ve only read three of the books that my fellow travellers chose. So what do you think, did they do well?  What would you recommend as plane reading fare? And, when you next travel, can you keep an eye on what your fellow passengers are up to (reading-wise, that is)? I’m all up in the air over this one!