Monday, November 12, 2007

Reading Bryson

I know how guys like Bill Bryson get rich. Last Friday evening I was all set for my flight. I checked in and was free with only my laptop on my shoulder. Great. Five minutes later it dawned on me. I had left the book I was going to read in the front pocket of my case where I'd put it because it was too much hassle to carry it and it didn't fit properly in the laptop bag.

I couldn't face the 6½ flight (not counting the always fun 90 minutes on the ground at Kennedy before take-off and all that pre-boarding time) with no book to read. I had to buy a book from the small bookstore in the departures lounge. Once I had mentally eliminated all the romance novels and self-help books I was left with a pretty meager choice.

I saw one book I really wanted. It was the next book of three by Rick Atkinson on the US Army during World War II. I had read the first on the N. Africa campaign earlier this year. But, this was a hardback book and I didn't want it in hardback for $35. So, after hemming and hawing I settled on a Bill Bryson book.

I wasn't enthusiastic, but he's light and easy and sort of fun and I know his brand. So, plumped down my $12 or so and got through most of it during the flight. He saved me the pain of Live Free or Die Hard, for which I'm grateful.

Still, this is the third time (I think) that I've bought a Bryson book in an airport. This is how these guys get rich. They know there are people like me out there who will check their book with the luggage and be forced to buy something to read in the small airport bookstore. We're trapped by their cleverness.