Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Travel Reading

Traveling imposes its own kind of reading schedule, being that there are numerous external limitations to what one can plan on reading: the size of one's luggage or carry on bag, the size of the books, the time of the flight, layovers, etc. Each has their own specific challenge. I find that if I fly early in the morning, or red-eye, novels are probably the best, but no James Joyce or David Foster Wallace. Nabokov works sometimes (I read Laughter in the Dark on a red-eye), so does Michel Houellebecq (just read one though; my friend Mark reports that he's crossed parts of The Possibility of an Island and Whatever, because he read them on the round-trip from Ottawa to Glasgow for a conference) but I've probably read more Vonnegut novels on airplanes than I have any other author. That includes parts of Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, Timequake, and maybe also parts of A Man without a Country. For my morning flight to Memphis, I've decided to try Jailbird. It's not that my decision is based on ease. It's based on organization: Vonnegut's short chapters and sections make for a good read when there are constant interruptions to one's attention span.

I'm also taking Zizek's First as Tragedy, Then as Farce for my flight back (in the afternoon), and Michael Lowy's Fire Alarm (on Walter Benjamin), so that I can try, unrealistically, to work a bit on an abstract about Benjamin's concept of history.

And then, of course, there's the whole Sartre conference...which is why I'm going in the first place.

Tomorrow, I will have a post up about Nepal, thanks to Blogspot's ability to schedule the publication ahead of time.

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