A week at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 by its writer-in-residence
UK price: £8.99
Pros: Intelligent, witty and well-written
Verdict: Worth reading if you find airports fascinating and/or appreciate good writing
Available from: Amazon
If you are the sort who rushes through their reading with the prime aim of getting from start to finish as quickly as possible, this slim volume may take you about two hours. But if you recognise good writing when you see it and then like to linger, luxuriate even, and take your time and reflect and re-read a really good paragraph or two, then it will take you much longer.
De Botton was given free reign to write what he wanted whilst writer in residence at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport, soon after it opened in late 2009. It’s a slim volume, divided into four logical sections: Approach, Departures, Airside and Arrivals with photography by Richard Baker.
De Botton writes using an economical style where not a word is wasted. His delightful light humour and sense of irony run through this work. It is his belief that our desire to go to the airport is compounded by our belief that we are “identifying happiness with elsewhere.”
Travel snow chaos and closed airports of late 2010 aside, this is an entertaining and informative read for anyone who travels and uses airports regularly.