Thursday, March 01, 2012

Three more minis - Cruising Attitude, The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet and Peace is Every Step

Cruising Attitude by Heather Poole is subtitled "Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet." I'm guessing that between the flight attendant's uniform and the word play in which "attitude" is substituted for "altitude" that not a single one of you looked at that cover and thought, "Hmm. I wonder what on earth that's about?" Am I right? Actually, I do like the clarity of the cover.

Cruising Attitude is the third flight attendant memoir that I've read, if you count the classic, "Coffee, Tea or Me?" by two anonymous flight attendants who were later accused of making it all up. While Cruising Attitude is not as laugh-out-loud funny as the other two books I've read, I loved the fact that Heather Poole goes all the way back to her training and fills you in on what it's like to be a flight attendant -- how they're trained, what the lifestyle is like, the complexity of scheduling, which planes and cities a career flight attendant aspires to work in and why some attendants commute to their flight base rather than living there, why your flight attendant and pilot might be really, really hungry -- as well as the usual crazy passenger stories, a bit about her love life and stories of friendship with other flight attendants.

Recommended - Engrossing, entertaining and highly informative. I enjoyed Cruising Attitude immensely. While the sheer quantity of rude and crazy passenger stories may make you a little bit more nervous about flying, Poole's reassurance about turbulence and her obligation to put safety above all else offset the stories about the nuts very nicely. You'll also come out of the reading knowing what is expected of you as a passenger -- what can get you removed from a plane, what ticks off a flight attendant, why you should wait to take your drowsy meds till you get on the plane and the reason a flight attendant will awaken a passenger rather than allow him or her sleep through a meal service. The only thing I disliked about this book was the repeated use of the deliberately misspelled "Buh-bye". Annoying.

The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen is a book that I'm relegating to mini status merely because it's been so long since I read it. T. S. Spivet is the story of a precocious 12-year-old, map-making genius who wins an award that leads him to set off from Montana on a journey to Washington, D.C.

The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet was the February selection for my face-to-face book group. Unfortunately, it was raining cats and dogs and only 4 people showed up. The conversation was pretty much a dud. Our fearless leader said everyone who called to say, "I'm not coming," at the last minute loved the book. Most of the group members who showed up were a little iffy because they found the illustrations and notes distracting. I loved it.

Highly recommended - An adventurous, brilliantly-written, charming, funny, poignant and surprising story. Young T. S. is a delightful character, humble and lovable in spite of his brilliance. My thanks to SuziQ, whose enthusiastic review led to my purchase of the book as well as the suggestion that the book group read T. S. Spivet along with me. The meeting may have fallen flat, but the reading experience was awesome.

Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the books I removed from my closet, this past weekend, during the Cleaning That Made My House Even Scarier Than Normal. Subtitled, "The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life," it contains writings about how to become more "mindful," which I'm interpreting as "in the moment" -- aware of what you are doing, who you are speaking to, how you respond, your emotions, the life around you, etc. It's about living a peaceful, joyful life and turning the negatives of your life into positives.

I had a migraine that was really pissing me off, while I was reading this book, and loved the fact that he was telling me to be mindful of my pain so that I'd appreciate it more when I'm not hurting. I was also informed that my anger can be turned to compost to grow happier thoughts. There are lots of gardening metaphors.

Highly recommended - You don't have to be a Buddhist to learn and practice the kind of thought process Thich Nhat Hanh recommends. A wise, thought-provoking, wonderful little book.

In other news:

I'm going to upload my Fiona Friday post then take off a week to practice mindfully cleaning my house and peacefully reading. I moderate comments, so don't freak out if you try to comment and it takes a day or two to show up, okay?

This may end up being one of those months that I end up doing a lot of mini reviews and periodically disappearing for large stretches, especially given the fact that Kiddo will be home for Spring Break somewhere in the middle and I like to be present when he's around. The weather is fickle but on the good days the sun shines and a breeze blows. These are days that I need to spend my time outdoors, before the real heat descends. We broke a heat record, today, with a high of 83 degrees, so we're getting there quickly.

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. I can't wait to read Cruising Altitude!

  2. I have a copy of The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet, and bought it several months ago after some great reviews were posted. I still haven't gotten to it yet, but I am excited about it because it seems a little different than most of the stuff I have been reading. These were great mini-reviews, and I may be looking for Cruising Attitude as well. It sounds like a really fun read!

    1. Oh, you are in for a treat, Zibilee. T. S. Spivet is a very unusual book - a total keeper. It'll be exciting to see what the author comes up with next. Cruising Attitude is really good. Probably ought to be mandatory reading for airline passengers.

  3. flyz4work3:08 PM

    Nice review of "Cruising Attitude"! I've been a flight attendant for over three decades & normally hate reading these exaggerated memoirs, but I've been reading author Heather Poole's "Galley Gossip" blog for several years & love her true, entertaining musings on our no longer glamorous profession. I can't wait to read it!

    1. Flyz4work,

      Thank you! I really loved the fact that Cruising Attitude isn't all over-the-top silliness; she really gives you a good look into the lifestyle. It's very nicely written and informative. I'm sure you'll love it. :)

  4. I'm reading T S Spivet right now! Well, right now when I get out of work and can actually read. I'm really enjoying it. I love the "notebook" feel to it all. Like Harriet the Spy, annotated.

    1. Carrie,

      I loved the uniqueness of that layout, too. It's a great book. But, you already know that.


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