Flying, flying away (or, how amazing airport bookshops are)

I’m on holiday! Hurrah! 

One of the great joys of my life when I’m travelling (and when you’re travelling there are very few joys unless you’re travelling first class and have your every whim catered for) is airport bookshops.


I love the way that everybody is so rampantly desperate for things to do that a bookshop becomes obligatory. I love how a crowd of hungry and desperate people circle the front door at four thirty am, waiting for it to wait. I love how the whole family piles in there, buying things with a fervour that comes of spending the next thirty-three hours on a budget plane when the only free thing you’ll get is the seatbelt. I love how the books are so spectacularly distilled into the purest of the purest; the business books, the children’s books, the eternal one copy of an Alan Moore that the WHSmith in Heathrow Terminal Five seems determined to hold on to year after year after year, the three hundred guide books that don’t actually seem to reflect anywhere the airport flies too, and the one copy of some hugely heavy coffee table book on Le Mans that will never, ever be bought and thus simply lurks mournfully on the edge of a discount table in Gatwick. 

I love airport bookshops. I love the way a Sylvia Day can stand next to Wikinomics and both of these titles can be in London one minute and then Tangiers the next. I love how they always, but always, sell maltesers and ambitiously sized bottles of water. I love how they sell those little crossword books, travel scrabble with tiles you’ll lose as soon as you blink, and the fifth book in the series but never the first. 

I love you airport bookshops. Don’t ever change. 

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