When I was in college, I spent a lot of time on planes flying between school and home. I always carried a paperback book in my laptop bag for the hours of waiting. Both in the air and during layovers. It kept me entertained. Plus I’d get the chance to make good progress–if not finish a book–by the time I headed toward the baggage carousel.
Stephen King always accompanied me. At least his books did. I read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon on one trip from Providence, RI to Roanoke, Virginia. I started The Stand on one trip north. I read Duma Key, Night Shift, Insomnia, Bag of Bones, Cujo, Firestarters, From a Buick 8. A few times I brought along a book by a different author and tried to read it as opposed to the Stephen King book tucked away at the bottom of the bag. Each time I failed, miserably.
It was a tradition. It was a habit. And it was comfortable.
Then I graduated, and I started to collect Stephen King’s heftier books like Under the Dome, 11/22/63, and Salem’s Lot. The books I picked up to read were much too fantastical for my taste. Gone was the realism that made me consider that the horror elements could happen. Though, to be honest, the possessed press machine seriously damaged my ability to suspend disbelief.
So I struggled for a while with what books to read whenever I flew. I don’t travel nearly as much as I did during college. Only the occasional travel between Massachusetts and Florida, though I did travel to Ohio for a weekend.
I picked up a Jack Reacher novel before Christmas one year, One Shot, because the movie starring Tom Cruise was coming out. When I was browsing Hudson Books in the Logan Airport, I found The Killing Floor, the first Jack Reacher book, on the shelf. The rest is history. I read Killing Floor during my flight. I recently picked up the next in the series while in the airport. I read all but forty pages on the flight to Florida and then the one back home.
There are somewhere around seventeen Jack Reacher novels and more coming out . I’ve read three so far. No need to worry about running out anytime soon.
I might pick up a Stephen King off the bottom of my bookshelf again someday soon. Maybe read one of his older books that I haven’t gotten to yet. But I don’t think I’ll read one in-flight or in an airport again. I love my time with Jack Reacher too much to let go of my time with him. Plus I have the security of knowing that I’ll have him to keep me company when I travel. I’m not sure where I’ll be going beyond Florida and hopefully Australia in the next few years. No matter where I go, I’ll be able to count on a vigilante to keep me company.