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I admit I have a pretty eclectic reading style. My home library consists of several thousand books, with titles ranging from cookbooks to art books to the history of mathematics.
Of course, I also own to all manner of fiction and thriller bestsellers. While I never really took to 50 Shades of Grey, there are plenty of other slightly (and not so slightly) risqué titles in my personal library.
And yes, when I travel, I'm the throwback girl who still always carries at least four or five old-fashioned, paper-based books in my carry-on bags. Including, sometimes, one or two of the aforementioned risqué titles.
So, it's definitely a concern that the TSA has started asking people to remove their reading materials from their carry-on bags at select airports across the country.
As previously reported by my Travel Pulse colleague Janeen Christoff, the federal agency responsible for air safety has started testing new security screening procedures at ten airports around the U.S. To help "speed things up," passengers at these test locations are now required to remove not only their laptops but also other large electronics and in many cases food items.
And now, apparently, dense paper products such as books are being added to that list.
I'm pretty comfortable in my reading choices and not too concerned what people, or you know, TSA agents, think about them. For me, the bigger hassle will be finding all the various books I have stuffed away in random pockets to place them in a bin.
There are plenty of people, however, who are somewhat shy about what they are reading. My scientist brother-in-law, for example, always reads my castoff chick-lit spy thrillers. It gives him some much-needed escapism for a few hours. And, hey I don't judge because they were my books to begin with.
But I'm pretty sure he wouldn't necessarily want TSA officers knowing about his super-secret reading habit.
What's more, as Christoff pointed out, "it's hard to envision how taking more items out of a bag and using more bins will hasten the experience."
For many, there's nothing quite so personal as our reading material. Our books and literature define who we are. Much like our inner-most thoughts, however, we don't always want that content openly displayed for the general public to dissect.
Let's hope the TSA finds a way to understand that for the people who still carry books, those items are about as personal and valuable as anything else they carry in their bag.
Monica Poling, the evening and weekend editor at TravelPulse.com, has been writing about travel for more than 20 years....
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