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Author Christopher Schaberg Takes Flight with New Book Released Today

Loyola press release - September 21, 2017

The last of a trilogy, Airportness: The Nature of Flight brings readers on an adventurous journey through airports - and the mind

Drawing on his gift for bringing wit and wisdom to the everyday and mundane, Loyola University New Orleans Associate Professor of English Chris Schaberg, Ph.D. launches Airportness: The Nature of Flight, a new book that takes the reader on a single day’s journey through all the routines and stages of an ordinary flight. The last in a trilogy focused on airports, the book releases today and was briefly reviewed by Times Higher Education this morning. Schaberg has written about the book, an exploration of nonfiction narrative and nature writing, on his publisher's blog.

“With all the harrowing headlines and stories in the news—skirmishes between passengers, airline agent aggression, the iron fist airport security, travel bans, shrinking seats, laptop bans, and so on—the topic of flight is in the air, more than ever,” Schaberg said. “I hope Airportness can help put some perspective on this fraught form of mobility.”

A nonfiction writer well-versed in both nature and pop culture, Christopher Schaberg is the award-winning author of The Textual Life of Airports: Reading the Culture of Flight (2013), The End of Airports (2015) and Airportness: The Nature of Flight (2017), and co-editor of Deconstructing Brad Pitt (2014). He is series co-editor (with Ian Bogost) of Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons.

Airportness takes the reader on a single day’s journey through all the routines and stages of an ordinary flight. From curbside to baggage, and pondering the minutes and hours of sitting in between, Christopher Schaberg contemplates the mundane world of commercial aviation to discover “the nature of flight.”

For Schaberg, this means hearing planes in the sky, recognizing airline symbols in unlikely places, and navigating the various zones of transit from sliding doors, to jet bridge, to lavatory. It is an ongoing, swarming ecosystem that unfolds each day as we fly, get stranded, and arrive at our destinations. Airportness turns out to be more than just architecture and design elements — rather, it is all the rumble and buzz of flight, the tedium of travel as well as the feelings of uplift.

Fellow authors, have called the book “an enchanting, meditative journey through the cultures and ecologies of contemporary flight,” and “a journey from curb to curb, chastising us for our indifference to cloudscapes, rekindling our wonder for liftoff, asking us to reckon with airport as metaphor for late-stage capitalism, for American identity, for the last vestiges of faith, even, ironically, for what we call home.”

In 2016, Schaberg was awarded a $250,000 Public Humanities grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of his essay and book series Object Lessons, with co-editor Ian Bogost of Georgia Institute of Technology.

Bringing life to everyday items, Object Lessons is an essay and book series that explores the hidden lives of ordinary things. Published by The Atlantic and Bloomsbury, the series invites contributors to develop original insights and lessons around any particular object. NPR named Dust, a book in the series, among the Best Books of 2016.

“We’ve been delighted to see how authors and readers alike have embraced the basic idea of the series: to focus on something earnestly and openly and see what lessons emerge,” said Schaberg. “The series has motivated me more than ever to help my students prepare to engage the world and to make it a better place — one object at a time, one lesson at a time.”

Readers can learn more about the book on Amazon.com or on Bloomsbury Publishing’s site.