Essential Reading: The In-flight Edition
Okay, I interrupt the regular monthly programming of this feature for a special edition of Essential Reading. Usually, Essential Reading is a monthly thing but, since today is a special kind-of day, I think it’s necessary to circumvent the usual timeline of this feature and do a special thing.
Tomorrow, I’ll be flying to the US and, as many of my friends know, flying isn’t really my thing. For that, I need something to distract me while I’m up in the air and, of course, the best candidate are books and specifically books of short stories. SO why the short story? I already detailed why the short story is my preferred brand of fiction at the moment in a post here but, more than that, short fiction can be read in brief spurts and you require a different brand of energy and concentration that I think is perfect for reading on a plane. That’s just a hypothesis though and I don’t know how will that stand up against my crippling fear of flying.
Anyway, enough talk. Here’s my travelling companions on my flight:
- Dance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro – I’ve long been putting off reading Munro, supposed to be one of the living masters on the art of the short story, despite having three of her short story collections. I think now is the time to start by reading her earliest work.
- Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme – Part of the Postmodern 61, which makes it one of the books that I need to read, Sixty Stories is a part of my May Essential Reading so I decided that, since it is a short story collection, I will bring it on the plane.
- The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever – John Cheever is another master of the short story and this collection is supposed to be his masterpiece. The stories in these collection and the book itself comes highly recommended by a bookish friend of mine and I also think that the devastation of Cheever’s stories will take my mind off the flight.
- The Paris Review Book for Planes, Trains, Elevators, and Waiting Rooms edited by The Paris Review – As the title suggest, this book may be one of the most appropriate books to bring with you when travelling. Each piece in this anthology is tailor-made depending on your mode of transport (e.g. Planes, Trains) so it was a no-brainer for me when I decided to bring this
So there you go, dear readers, my travelling companions for my flight to and from the US. I just hope that Munro, Barthelme, Cheever, and The Paris Review can calm me down during my long flights.