Up in the Air – Walter Kirn


Up in the Air - Walter KirnInteresting story about a character named Ryan Bingham who racks up a million airmiles on domestic flights around US. George Clooney was perfectly casted as Bingham in the movie and if you’ve seen it it’s hard to picture the corporate vagabond / ‘Airworld’ citizen / nomad chick-magnet in the book as anyone other than my beer-drinkin’ Venice Beach buddy George. (Remind me to tell you that story some other time). Needless to say, the book delves deeper than the film ever could. Name me one time when that wasn’t the case – except maybe ‘Papillon’, which had an unfair advantage in the magnificent Steve McQueen and ‘Lord of the Rings’…which cheated because it was really 3 movies at a total of 9 hours.

Anyway, this is an entertaining read which grips equally for its strong characters (enter the decadent Art Krusk – “…a man’s man. Someone who’s been slapped around a little”) and its plot development from the point where Bingham realises that he’s really starting to lose the plot. His yin is de-planing in Ontario but his yang is popping pills in Vegas or necking jumbo martinis in a strip-club in Reno.

For a frequent flier (and the fact that you are on this blog at all suggests that you might be just that) this book also offers quite an insight into how airports and airlines work and how – if you are dedicated enough – you might just be able to find a way to make them work for you. Inshallah.

I bought this book in a secondhand bookstore in Saffron Walden, England (talk about jet-setting huh?) and finished it at home in my hammock on my terrace in Spain. I left it on the bandstand (‘el kiosko’) in Plaza del Castillo, Pamplona, Spain. Hope this copy had some happy flying!


Kitbaggers book project – travel literature on speed.

Have you ever handled a classic paperback and wondered where it’s been and whose hands it passed through? Do you love the well-handled look of a book that’s obviously seen decades of serious mileage through places you might only have imagined?

This project was conceived long ago through a conversation (in San Jose, Costa Rica) between a group of friends who’d wondered about these same things and thought it would be interesting to try to trace the history of just a few random books that we read on the road.

More than just a review – this is also the story of a single adventurous copy that’s probably still out there touring the world somewhere. Let us know if you find it.

Like to post a review of your own…? Contact us at info@kitbaggers.com



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