Something about fall makes me want to be surrounded by piles of beautiful books. Books are the best way to dream about places to visit, aren’t they?
My fall list includes re-reading Alledaags, which I bought in the Netherlands this summer. It’s written by a Kiwi illustrator who put an image to each day of a year in Amsterdam. Check out the samples. It’s funny, clever, and true. What could be better?
The rest of my fall reading list after the jump.
I’ve already written about how much I love the work of Alain de Botton, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I went to the bookstore last night, after I found out yesterday that he had a new book.
I’ve already finished half of A Week at the Airport, a slim 100-page treatise at being the writer-in-residence at Heathrow’s new Terminal 5. Yes, seriously.
De Botton is the single best observer of the nuances of travel living today. Period. Whereas most writers fall into cutesy traps (example A here), his perspective is more philosophical and melancholy–more like what it can actually be like to travel.
Some favorite passages.
On the airport Sofitel:
After dinner, it was still warm and not yet quite dark outside. I would have liked to take a walk around one of the few fields that remained of the farmland on which the airport had been built some six decades before, but it seemed at once perilous and impossible to leave the building, so I decided to do a few circuits around the hotel corridors instead. Feeling disoriented and queasy, as if I were on a cruise ship in a swell, I repeatedly had to steady myself against the synthetic walls.
More cheerily, on the departures board:
Nowhere was the airport’s charm more concentrated than on the screens placed at intervals across the terminal which announced, in deliberately workmanlike fonts, the itineraries of aircraft about to take to the skies. These screens implied a feeling of infinite and immediate possibility: they suggested the ease with which we might impulsively approach a ticket desk and, within a few hours, embark for a country where the call to prayer rang out over shuttered whitewashed houses, where we understood nothing of the language and where no one knew our identities. The lack of detail about the destinations served only to stir unfocused images of nostalgia and longing: Tel Aviv, Tripoli, St Petersburg, Miami, Muscat via Abu Dhabi, Algiers, Grand Cayman via Nassau…all of these promises of alternative lives, to which we might appeal at moments of claustrophobia and stagnation.
Can’t wait to read the rest.
I’m doing a lot of heavy-duty reading for work, so the other two books on my list are really picture books, to give my brain some breathing space: The Japanese Gardens: Kyoto, because I am obsessed with getting there, hopefully next year, and a book still in its pleasing plastic wrapper, Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower.
One sample–with a pinkish coloration it doesn’t have in real life–is here: