Books

Souvenir Sunday: summer reading

Browsing for and buying a book – an actual book – in an airport bookstore is a treat I especially enjoy before a long flight.

Sometimes I choose a title that catches my eye, but most often I pick up something that’s been on my ‘to read’ list.

Today the choice is the just-out-in-paperback edition of Mark Vanhoenacker’s Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot (Vintage Departures)

Skyfaring

The New York Times review of the book says this is “an unusual entry into the air-travel genre. For one thing, the author is a commercial pilot, flying the Boeing 747 from London to cities across the globe. For another, he doesn’t speak of disasters, not even in passing…..”

Sounds promising and appropriate for in-flight reading, doesn’t it?

Vanhoenacker …”can put one in mind of Henry James,” the review continues.

“In “Skyfaring” we regularly come upon phrases like “the water gyre of the planet,” “technical rectitude,” “the ichthyology of our sea-sky” and “the light-filled clerestory of the world.” This is a volume that seeks to leave high contrails in your mental sky, and it does so in a manner that is nearly always appealing.”

Even better.

Now let’s just hope my seatmate isn’t a talker…

Souvenir Sunday: Fantastic Cities coloring book

Fantastic Cities cover

Here’s an activity book perfect for those lazy, hazy days of summer or those crazy days when you just need to take a break, focus on simple, creative tasks and chill out.

Fantastic Cities: A Coloring Book of Amazing Places Real and Imagined
– out in a few weeks from Chronicle Books – is a coloring book for adults filled with Steve McDonald’s intricate aerial views and bird’s eye perspectives of cities from around the world.

Large (12″ by 12″) detailed images inspired by places in Canada, Tokyo, Istanbul, San Francisco, Sydney and other cities around this world offer a great opportunity to get out the colored pencils, some markers, crayons or watercolors and dream about your next adventure.

Transportation revelations: how fast things go

Did you know that a sea horse can move as quickly (or as slowly) as a Galapagos tortoise? (.2 MPH), that a hedgehog and a millipede move at about the same pace (1 MPH) and that a swift and a Hughes MD 500 Helicopter can each travel at 125 MPH?

FullSpeedAhead_swift_Hughes MD500 helicopter

I didn’t.

But thanks to a book of ‘transportation revelations’ called Full Speed Ahead!: How Fast Things Go by Cruschiform (an Abrams Books imprint), I now know.

The brightly-colored, large format book is designed for young readers, but is perfect – and perfectly educational – for transportation fact-fanciers of all ages who might be curious about how fast things go – and how fast things go compared to animals.

A peregrine falcon, for example, can go as fast a Formula 1 Racer (217 MPH) but once we get to the tornado (310 MPH), the passenger jet (620 MPH), a Blackbird spy plane (2,175 MPH), the Apollo 11 spacecraft (25,000 MPH) and a shooting star (more than 60,000 MPH), no animals can keep up.

FullSpeedAhead_passenger jet

Buy it for the kids you know. And get a copy for yourself.

Playboy: airplane reading material?

airberlin playboy

Magazines are one of those on-board amenities that disappeared from domestic flights in the U.S. a long time ago. But many international airlines still offer a selection of reading material that includes newspapers, business, fashion and sports magazines, especially in business class.

On a recent airberlin flight I was a bit surprised to see Playboy on the counter as one of the options and asked about that when I visited the company’s headquarters in Berlin.

My hosts were a bit surprised at my surprise but told me that the cover of the issue I saw on the plane is a special airline cover that stays the same for each issue – and that Playboy is the magazine they need to replace most often.

Monkey spotted at Reno Airport + SFO Contest

Monkey spotted at Reno-Tahoe International Airport

RENO CURIOUS George

About 80 kids and their parents showed up at Reno-Tahoe International Airport on Wednesday for activities in celebration of International Children’s Book Day. (The holiday takes place each year around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, which is April 2.)

Everyone listened to an airport fire captain and a police sergeant read Curious George books, learned a little about fire safety, did some dancing, visited with the airport therapy dogs and had some snacks.

Sounds like a great event for an airport!

Fly Irish from SFO contest

SFO DUBLIN

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) now has non-stop service to Dublin via Aer Lingus and is celebrating with a sweepstakes on Facebook.

The “Fly Irish from SFO!” sweepstakes asks participants to vote for one of 17 cities in the Aer Lingus network they would most like to visit. Entries will go into a random drawing and one winner will be awarded two round-trip Economy Class tickets on Aer Lingus to the destination they voted for.

Deadline for entry: April 11, 2014.

Good luck!