Plane reading

In a couple of weeks,  my wife and I are going to Las Vegas. We have been there a number of times, and we hadn’t planned to visit Sin City this year, but circumstances intervened, so here we go.

Due to the pandemic, our trip to Vegas will be the first time I have been on an airplane since February of 2020. Before I continue, let me say, I enjoy flying. I always have. Some of my fondest memories are of flying across the United States – seeing the flatlands of the plains merge into the Rocky Mountains — flying over the Grand Canyon at night — seeing the tips of the World Trade Center twin towers peeking out of the clouds over an overcast, Manhattan morning. Chicago at sunrise is particularly impressive when viewed on approach into O’Hare. I recall flying down the west coast of Florida on an August evening in 2005, watching the sinister clouds of Hurricane Katrina moving toward New Orleans.

One thing that I enjoy about air travel is that I get to read for pleasure, something my daily grind job doesn’t allow me to do. I like to spend my travel hours reading something that I would not normally read in my day to day life.

Our upcoming vacation involves several hours on an airplane, and after that, I am going to have some time to lounge beside a pool (if I don’t disintegrate in the desert heat). So what should I read? I have a list of books that I want to read before I die, and I have written about some of them here.

One book that has been on my ‘to read’ list for a number of years is “Jackson Pollack: An American Saga by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith”. This Pulitzer Prize Winning, New York Times best seller has been on my reading list since the 90s, so I finally ordered a copy last week.

When It arrived, I knew that I would not be taking this door-stop on vacation. At 934 pages, and just about as many pounds, this book has been consigned to the “shelf of the unread” in my office bookcase. I’ll read it someday, but not soon.

In its place, I have decided to read the following on my summer vacation:

  • The Garden of Eden; by Ernest Hemingway. This is Papa’s last book, published posthumously in 1986. Hemingway started this novel in 1946 and worked on it until his death in 1961. He gives me great hope for completing some of my older work. He wrote about 800 pages on this novel. When the book was published, only 70,000 words of the original work remained of Hemingway’s original 48 chapters and over 200,000 words.
  • The Mango Opera; by Tom Corcoran, long time photographer of Jimmy Buffett and co-lyricist of Buffett’s song, “Cuban Crime of Passion”. This download has been languishing on my Kindle for far too long. My advice: If you want to write a novel set in the Florida Keys, you need to read Tom Corcoran. He catches the Key West vibe better than anyone I know.

So that’s it for me. When I am through with those it will be time to catch the red eye home to the East Coast. What are you reading on vacation this year? In my opinion, keep it light. No books about the insurrection…not yet. Save those for the fire next winter. Go to the beach. Read something you have been putting off. Take a hike. Read on a plane…

—E

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