Random Acts of Kindness September recap

RAK button FINAL1

In September I gave “Gone” by Michael Grant to Birgit from The Book Garden. She didn’t participate because she was busy touring England and Scotland but she had the book on her wishlist in August and I wanted to make it a birthday gift.

As it happens Birgit gave me something as well. She had already sent it as a RAK in August, but TBD was slow and then the book got lost so it had to be resent and only arrived in the middle of September. It is Alain de Botton’s “A week at the airport”. I have already read it and liked it very much. You can find my thoughts about it here.

Thank you, Birgit, for a great read!

A week at the airport by Alain de Botton


In the summer of 2009, Alain de Botton will be invited by the owners of Heathrow airport to become their first ever Writer in Residence. He will be installed in the middle of Terminal 5 on a raised platform with a laptop connected to screens, enabling passengers to see what he is writing and to come and share their stories. He will meet travellers from around the world, and will be given unprecedented access to wander the airport and speak with everyone from window cleaners and baggage handlers to air traffic controllers and cabin crew. Working with the renowned documentary photographer Richard Baker, de Botton will produce an extraordinary meditation upon the nature of place, time, and our daily lives. He will explore the magical and the mundane, personal and collective experiences and the interactions of travellers and workers all over this familiar but mysterious site. Like all airports, Heathrow (the 15th century village of Heath Row lies beneath the short stay car park) is a ‘non-place’ that we by definition want to leave, but it also provides a window into many worlds – through the thousands of people it dispatches every day. "A Week at the Airport" is sure to delight de Botton’s large following, and anyone interested in the stories behind the way we live.

In a nutshell:

I read it in: English

I liked it:  x Yes       No

For people who like: Alain de Botton in general, philosophical chatter, airports, travel

My thoughts: 

I love airports. Every time I travel by plane – provided there are no kids with me –, I try to get connecting flights that are not so close that I would have to run from gate to gate without the possibility to spend some time at the airport. So the first sentence of “A week at the airport” struck a chord with me.

While punctuality lies at the heart of what we typically understand by a good trip, I have often longed for my plane to be delayed – so that I might be forced to spend a bit more time at the airport.

From the beginning to the end this was a pleasure to read. I have always been interested in everything travel related so this book was just right for me. Working in the hospitality industry myself I very much enjoyed reading the chapters about his stay at the Sofitel and the training of customer service staff especially. When Alain de Botton describes how beautiful the meals on a hotel menu sound, a beauty that surpasses that of any haiku of the masters; when he wonders about the “scribe” who comes up with those flowery descriptions; and when you then start to think about a colleague of yours who sits in his small chef’s office writing his menus for the day, you can’t help but chuckle.

My line of work has made me very receptive to passages like this one which is all too true:

Though one can inculcate competence, it is impossible to legislate for humanity. In other words, the airline’s survival depended upon qualities that the company itself could not produce or control, and was not even, strictly speaking, paying for. The real origins of these qualities lay not in training courses or employee benefits but, for example, in the loving atmosphere that had reigned a quarter of a century earlier in a house in Cheshire, where two parents had brought up  a future staff member with benevolence and humour – all so that today, without any thanks being given to those parents […] he would have both the will and the wherewithal to reassure an anxious student on her way to the gate to catch BA048 to Philadelphia.

Alain de Botton describes his week at the airport starting from departure to airside to arrivals in small chapters and paragraphs talking about this and that covering a lot of topics, none of them in depth but enough to make you wish to know more. As far as I am concerned the book could have been much much thicker. A mere 107 pages wasn’t nearly long enough. I would have liked to read on and on.

Location: Heathrow Airport, England, UK

heathrow1 heathrow2 heathrow3 heathrow4

All images from wikipedia

Product info and buy link :

Title A week at the airport
Author Alain de Botton
Publisher Vintage
ISBN 978-0307739674
I got this book from Birgit at The Book Garden as a RAK
Buy link Buy A Week at the Airport
More info Heathrow’s website
and more Alain de Botton’s website
and more 5 minutes with Alain de Botton interview


Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.


Random Acts of Kindness September

RAK button FINAL1

A new month and new opportunities for a bookish RAK.

Last month was my first month to participate and I totally enjoyed it. I gave a very gently read copy of “The summer of skinny dipping” to Cait from Escape through the pages and have yet to receive a RAK from Birgit at The Book Garden. She gave me “A week at the airport” by Alain de Botton, however, thanks to the Book Depository which is even slower than usual, it has not arrived yet.

Would you like to participate? Then hop over to Book Soulmates who are hosting this amazing event every month and sign up! Even if you can’t give a book you can still participate if you are the crafty kind. There is a new feature for giving away bookish things as well….


Now with that said, we have received a few emails with people saying they cannot afford to buy a book for others but would be willing to create something, such as a handmade bookmark or something of that nature.
We’ll be adding an extra column for people who would not mind accepting handmade goodies.

What are you waiting for? It is fun and rewarding!


Random Acts of Kindness August

RAK button FINAL1 I am quite excited. I have often seen the RAK post over at Birgit’s The Book Garden, but never paid too much attention to it. Today I read it a bit more carefully and totally liked the idea behind it.

What is this Random Acts of Kindness thing about?

Let me quote Book Soulmates who are organizing the event every month.

It’s RAK time baby! We are incredibly grateful for all the participation and kindness that’s being shown. This is our 6th month hosting this feature and it has grown to 344 national and international participants already! Books {and kindness} are being sent all over the world! How cool is that?!  We are in awe. We are so proud of each and everyone of you that have helped make this feature a success.

To celebrate the last successful months of Random Acts of Kindness Book Soulmates are hosting a giveaway of a $20 Amazon giftcard for participants. 

Rules for Random Acts of Kindness

  • Sign up each month that you’d like to participate.
  • Show off your participation by grabbing our RAK button 🙂
  • Create a wish list (on Amazon, Goodreads, or your blog etc) and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.
  • If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wish list and contact that blogger for their address.
  • NEW REQUEST: Please, once you receive a RAK, email or tweet me {Vanessa} so that I can update the Google doc. There are a lot of requests for this!
  • At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K!  Make a post saying ‘Thank You’ to whoever granted one of your wishes and share it with us 🙂


Let’s keep our International bloggers in mind and in our hearts.

Remember, there’s always the Book Depository and they offer FREE shipping!

All the info and links you need you can find at the RAK post at Book Soulmates. Now, does this sound like a nice event. If you would like to sign up, go over to Book Soulmates and do it!