Slice of Life: What? No Book?

I usually pack a bunch of books for travel, but I somehow didn’t this time. So, on the way to Alabama, I finished the book I had (Wonder) and I was left with only a magazine (Wired). Ack. Not good. I was able to survive on Saturday, since my day was packed, but I had that strange, vacant feeling as I entered the airport yesterday morning and realized that I had many hours to go … and nothing to read.

I picked up the Sunday New York Times. That helped. But you know … I needed a book. (And of course, I completely kicked myself for not splurging on a Sharon Draper book while we were at the same conference together — what was I thinking?)

I wandered the small Birmingham airport in a sort of daze. I needed a book. And I needed one bad.

Gosh, though, the Hudson news stands in airports stink for their selections, don’t they? I was staring at the titles on display on the wall and thinking: I won’t get a hard cover book unless it is a must-have book because I don’t want to pay $25. There were no must-have books. I glimpsed at all of the paperbacks … I don’t mean to sound snobbish, but they were just weren’t to my liking (and just how many darn books has James Patterson written, anyway? Holy cow.)

I finally fingered a short story collection by Stephen King (but wished his book, On Writing, was available. I would have scooped that up in a second.). It’s been some years since I have dove into King but he seemed the safest bet of the bunch.

This short story collection — Full Dark, No Stars — is incredibly dark, and violent. Well-written, to be sure, but man, I was hardpressed to keep reading the second story here. I know King can do macabre, but this was difficult reading due to the content. I skipped to the Afterward at one point, and King talks about acknowledging the difficulty a reader will have, as well as the difficulty he had in writing these stories. I appreciated that honesty and wished I wasn’t stuck with only this book on a two-hour flight.

Now that I am home, and only halfway through the collection, I am putting it aside. I may return someday, or not. I can’t rightly say. What I am happy to do, however, is reach into my pile of books by my bedside and start a must-read.

Peace (in the airport),


  1. I don’t travel in airports that much; however, I do find myself is situtions with “time on my hands” when I don’t have my book available. That is ONE of the big reasons I justified buying myself a fancy tablet notebook. I’ve yearned for a Kindle of Nook for some time now, and purchased MORE than a few as gifts. The very first thing I did was to download a Kindle App…and hopefully, as long as I have the “tablet” with me, I will never be without something to read! It doesn’t “feel” like a book……but it still does what reading does for me!

  2. A Mainer here…and I have never read a King book. I can’t do scary. My husband tells me to read “The Stand” it is his best but I just can’t bring myself to do it.
    Kevin…I know many people just cannot do it but taking a Nook or a Kindle on trips is the best. Once when we were in the airport without books my husband went off to the bookstore to purchase one while I connected my Nook to the Internet through my iphone, downloaded a book and had the first chapter read before my husband even returned! You always get the book you want and for a cheaper price.

  3. A great slice to share with your students. An authentic model of the importance of reading in your life and lessons that adults can find pleasure reading materials difficult and it’s ok to abandon a book.

  4. Scary (and not Steven King scary!) to be somewhere and not have something to read! It’s always amazing to me (or maybe appalling is a better word, when I see people getting on planes without something to read.

    And yeah, definitely a slice to share with your kids- I think kids need to know that reading is as necessary to our lives as breathing. I’m kind of surprised you didn’t have a Kindle or Nook or iPad with you…

  5. Oh, I was emotionally with you just from your title! I’m not sure I would have gone for S. King…..but I would have soooooo been there justifiying the cost too!

  6. Steven King is one author I cannot read – scary books are not something I enjoy. This post is what Donalyn Miller describes a reading emergency and judging by her tweets yesterday, she had the same experience you did. 🙂

  7. I could relate to this feeling. You can’t just buy any book from the airport selection. Once I stayed bookless. I didn’t have Kindle or IPad either. I took a nap on the plane.

  8. I feel like the only thing to say, is to offer my condolences for being book-less. Sometimes there are hard lessons to learn in life. 😉

  9. I was recently in this same situation, but I was visiting my parents, so my mom gave me a book. I haven’t opened it yet. What is it about a book from Mom? Shouldn’t we like the same things? I guess I should at least try it.

  10. The Kindle has been a game changer for planes. With a 24 hour journey from one home to the other I don’t have to lug books. I have some of the free classics on there to ensure I never run out, even if I had a major delay. Plus I can get library book and the cheap Kindle is $79 – just three airport hard copies. I was hesitant, but I so glad to have one!

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