The Great Travel Read

The Great Travel Book. It’s a difficult beast to chase.

Should it be a new book? But then, there’s always the chance you won’t like it. Maybe, in spite of the publisher’s reassurances on the cover, you won’t be able to connect with the voice.

Should it be an old book? But what if it’s not distracting enough. What if you’re still aware of the airplane or train or bus around you?

And what about size? For an international trip, should you bring a big hardcover in your purse, so that you don’t have to worry about its weight in your checked luggage? Or should you opt for the small, used mass market paperback? But what if it falls apart during the third layover!

Genre. Literary fiction can take your breath away–but can it do it in a crowded airplane? Genre fiction can be great, but what if you can’t believe the alien world, or the implausible murder?

All these questions and more await. For now, based on 36 hours in which I flew from North Sulawesi to Jakarta and back, a re-read of Robin McKinley’s Sunshine is the best answer.

A

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