Books

A rare and much-loved amenity at Raleigh=Durham International Airport is closing this week after serving passengers for almost 34 years.

2nd ed. Booksellers – a used bookstore located post-security at RDU – is closing it doors on December 31 after 33 and half years at the airport.

“It is quite sad to see it go, but it is time to retire as I have arthritis issues that strongly recommend that I stop lifting and toting boxes of books,” owner Walter High, who operates the store with his wife Karen, wrote on the store’s Facebook page. “We will miss our faithful customers and RDU will lose one of its most unique aspects. A used bookstore behind security at the airport doesn’t happen anywhere else in the US that we know of.Thank you all for your support over the years!”

RDU’s used bookshop was a favorite with travelers and a rarity at an airport. Two other airports have bookstores (that I know of) that also sell used books: Renaissance Book Shop at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport and a branch of Powell’s Books (selling new and used books) at Portland International Airport.” But these are pre-security.

Souvenir Sunday: read an illustrated history of travel

Journey – an Illustrated History of Travel, published by DK in association with the Smithsonian Institution, arrived in the mail a few weeks back and our household has been leafing through it since then.

It’s a big coffee table-style book – 440 pages, in full color and pretty heavy – and is separated into 7 chapters, or “ages,” each tackling advances, experiences and the means by which humans have made their way around the world.

Chapters 1 through 3 tackle the Ancient World (including travel in ancient Egypt and the travels of Odysseus and Alexander the Great), travel that powered trade and conquests, including the travels of Marco Polo, and The Age of Discovery, when explorers set out to find “new” parts of the world.

Chapters 4 through 7 dig deep into the ‘The Age of Empires’, ‘The Age of Steam,’ ‘The Golden Age of Travel,’ and “The Age of Flight,’ with lots more achival images, historic maps, artifact images, bits of journals, and works of art.

I was delighted to find a spread on the Wunderkammern – or curiosity cabinets – that collectors began putting together in the 16th century to show off souvenirs such as shells, preserved animals, scientific and mechanical obects, and other odd tidbits they’d picked up on far off journeys or purchased from others who had gone on adventures.

The three voyages of Captian Cook are detailed, as are the inventions and inventors that brought the world flight.

There are sections on the rise of the manufactured souvenir, World’s Fairs, Grand Hotels, luggage labels, national parks, efforts to create maps that accurately reflect the world and parts of it, camping, Route 66, travel to every corner of the world, the Jet Age, space travel – and much, much more.

Towards the end of this big book there’s a section of biographies stretching from Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen, to Amelia Earhart, Thor Heyerdahl, Ernest Shackleton, and Amerigo Vespucci.

This one is a keeper and a good gift for anyone interested in travel or history.

All images from Journey – an Illustrated History of Travel.

 

Souvenir Sunday: Aerial Geology book

Anyone who’s looked out an airplane window will surely have wondered about – and wondered at – the landscape below.  Mary Caperton Morton has clearly done that and put together a book that goes a long way to explaining how those great views got that way.

Aerial Geology:  A High-Altitude Tour of North America’s Spectaular Volcanos, Canyons, Glaciers, Lakes, Craters and Peaks (coming soon from Timber Press) is filled with incredible images, descriptive illustrations and fact-filled, geology-based explanations of how each site was formed and what makes each landform noteworthy.

I love all the photos in this large-format book, but one of my favorite features is the little box by each landform titled “Flight Pattern” that lets you know where you’d be flying when you’re most likely to spot the image featured.

Here are couple of images from the book:

Cape Cod – Massachusetts, credit NASA

 

Shiprock – in northwest New Mexico – credit Malcolm C. Andrews/AerialHorizon Photography

 

Light reading on Lufthansa flights

Need something to read on your next Lufthansa flight?

Lufthansa will be providing a selection of e-journals for passengers from a library that currently has more than 250 digital titles available in a choice of 18 different languages that can be accessed by passengers up to three days before their date of travel.

Download  is via the Lufthansa app, where  you enter your name and either your booking code or ticket number, then download a title to your own electronic device, where you can read it as a PDF on the flight or on the ground for an unlimited time.

The number of titles available depends on your booking class – from one (economy class) to twenty (HON Circle Member) – digital magazines/newspapers per flight. Additional titles are available for a fee.

Why is Lufthansa offering this?

“By switching over to digital reading material, Lufthansa is able to provide a better service to its passengers through the considerably wider spectrum of magazines and newspapers, offering many more genres and language options. A contribution is also made towards protecting the environment; the e-journals are more sustainable, as no paper or printing ink needs to be used and logistics services are not required for their distribution. The reduction in printed reading ¬materials also means less weight on board and thus also helps to reduce kerosene consumption. ”

Printed material won’t disappear entirely. In Lufthansa lounges and in the First Class sections on long haul flights, the usual printed reading material will still be provided. Printed versions of the magazines in the Business Class section on intercontinental flights will also still be available. And at Lufthansa’s Frankfurt and Munich hubs – and in Berlin, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports – newspapers will be offered to all Lufthansa passengers from several central distribution points.

Free books at the airport

Reading a book on a cross-country flight is a luxury that is too often replaced by a series of stupid movies offered (not always for free) on the seatback entertainment screen or on an app we’re urged to download before we leave the gate area.

But what if you’ve forgotten to bring a book from home or don’t want to shell out $29.95 for a bestseller at the newsstand near the gate?

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport there are currently two kiosks with hard-to-miss screens offering free downloads of e-books and audio books to people who have library cards – and those who don’t.

The kiosks are courtesy of the King County Library System and non-card holders are offered an instant two-day library card. Downloads are good for seven days.

People are enjoying the SEA airport book kiosks so much that the one of them already needs a tune-up, which I have been assured in underway.

Libraries in many other cities have installed e-book kiosks at their airports (some have permanent kiosks/others are temporary) and some airports have leave-a-book-take-a-book shelves.

I spotted this one at Washington’s Walla-Walla Airport.

Of course, if you already have a library card ( and you should) and your airport offers free Wi-Fi, there’s nothing to stop you from using your time at the gate to log on and scour the e-shelves for a book as well.

Or to just dream about the ‘good old days’ when an airport might have a library branch on site.

This one was at Nashville International Airport.