Friday, December 17, 2010

A Favorite Travel Book

I enjoy reading and go through a lot of books in a year. On this last vacation, I found one that is undoubtedly one of my favorite all-time books. A Week At the Airport by Alain de Botton has a title that may strike many as a bit strange. A book on an airport? A week at an airport? Why? It seems Alain was invited to spend a week writing about a new terminal at London Heathrow.

I travel a lot and find airports in general fascinating. So, a book by that title is bound to be one I will pick up. As it turned out, it turned out to be one of the more mesmerizing books I have read.

Alain has a wonderful sense of humor - a bit British I might say. I found myself laughing out loud many times as he described typical airport scenes.

He managed to cast a spell over me by weaving in the names of many exotic places in chapter after chapter. That alone might have made me love the book. Where were these places? Might I ever visit them?

But, what really drew me in was Alain's descriptions of humanity. Not just the poignant descriptions of travelers and airport workers. His depth of knowledge of human history is reflected in every page.  His ability to weave in questions that have faced us all through out time makes the book a most thoughtful piece.

Here is one of my favorite quotes:

At the beginning of human history as we struggled to light fires and to chisel fallen trees into rudimentary canoes, who could have predicted that long after we had managed to send men to the moon and aeroplanes to Australia, we would still have such trouble knowing how to tolerate ourselves, forgive our loved ones and apologize for our trantrums?

1 comment: