So, as a college student, odds are that you travel a lot. Well, perhaps not travel travel, but spend the occasional vacation and long weekend someplace other than the campus dorms, your cozy eight-people-beneath-one-leaky-roof apartment, or wherever your place of residence in college happens to be. And maybe sometimes, in the process of this whole travelling business, you find yourself in one place truly representative of our era’s progress and modernity: the airport. In fact, at some point, you may find yourself spending a lot of time in this magical airport place.

Courtesy of CAPL

There are plenty of reasons as to why you may end up being there for what seems like almost eternity: your flight got delayed, your parents forgot to pick you up, you decided to save some money on tickets and now have a layover that is longer than the time you will spend at your actual destination, or you misread your itinerary and showed up a whole 12 hours early. Regardless of the cause, in this situation one inevitably wonders – what is there to do in the airport? If you are lucky, you are stuck in one of those renovated, fancy and interesting airports, with cool gadget things everywhere, galleries and fountains to stare at. But, odds being what they are, that probably is not the case. Now, if you are really unlucky, you will also be widely awake, without any sort of intelligent technology, and completely alone. In this situation, you may end up in one of the points of interest of any generic airport: the airport bookstore.

The airport bookstore is obviously an equally magical a place as the airport itself. First of all, the name of the shop will probably in some way remind you of what city you are in, just in case you forget in your mild, plane waiting induced delirium. Moreover, you can purchase lots of other things there, like all the different kinds of junk food, silly trinkets to give to your most favorite aunts (or to serve as reminders of your location), and those neck hugging pillow things. However, the airport bookstore will also proudly feature an array of things you can read. Such as magazines: just look at those glossy covers and pretty photo-shopped faces! You can expect to see all of your favorites, from Cosmopolitan to Marie Claire to Nylon. And probably something like Newsweek or National Geographic as well, if you are after that type of thing. After perusing the magazine shelves, you move on to the rows of books. There will probably be separate stands featuring the most popular ones. Nevertheless, there is something similar about all of them. First of them, they are inevitably New York Times bestsellers. Moreover, it is quite likely that each book is number one on that list, and has been for a while, in defiance of common logic. This is the airport, after all. Also, there will be plenty of hardcovers, hardcovers so bright and so big, you will have trouble deciding in what way the book will be a murder weapon: you could be banal and hit someone in the head with it, or take the cruel route and simply make your victim stare at the cover for a long, long time. The selection of books is wide and varied, consisting of everything from newly released autobiographies (the cover will be a headshot of the illustrious author), to recently adapted novels (cover = movie stars from the Hollywood poster), mystery stories (identifiable by their cover in dark colors, with some clearly mysterious object, such as a key. Or a knife), Danielle Steele (look for pastels) and other forms of chick lit (Fabio. or more pastels). If you search hard enough, you may find the obligatory classic, but it will mostly likely be among the paperback section. The paperback section, actually, has more variety. And by variety, I mean more chick lit and murder stories. Yay!

My advice to you: if you know you are going to be stuck in the airport for a long time, bring a book with you.

 For more posts on life as a comparative literature major, click here.