A long flight is a perfect occasion to shut out the busyness of the world and disappear into another. If you have a long journey ahead of you, why not finally read that classic you skimmed in college or lose yourself in a page-turning thriller? No matter your interest, these ten books will help pass the time at the airport and in the air. Buckle up because you’re about to be engrossed.
10 Great Books to Read on the Plane
Now is the perfect time to read this classic by Jane Austen before catching the latest film adaptation at the theater. Austen is known for her novels about the British landed gentry of the late 18th century, creating some of the most memorable characters in all of literature. Emma is no exception. If you’re looking for some #drama with unforgettable characters and a protagonist who can’t help but meddle in the lives of others, this novel will make you swoon.
Pulitzer Prize finalist Suketu Mehta makes a compelling argument through reportage, historical analysis, and memoir that worldwide anti-immigration backlash is destroying the West. By examining the effect of colonialism through time, Mehta argues that the displaced have a right to settle elsewhere, and, in fact, the places they newly inhabit benefit greatly. This manifesto is for those seeking to understand the larger historical and personal implications of one of the most contentious and politicized issues of our time.
It’s been six years since Jenny Offill’s gorgeous last novel, Dept. of Speculation, so I couldn’t be more excited about this new release. When college dropout Lizzie begins answering mail for her mentor’s famous podcast, she finds herself swept up in an increasingly polarized world where Western civilization is in decline, but no one can agree why. Funny and incredibly relevant, this new novel by a brilliant writer is not to be missed.
If a nonfiction narrative contemplating nature and life is the speed you’re seeking, this classic by Annie Dillard is the ticket. Taking place over the course of a year in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Valley, Dillard examines everything from flora and fauna to writing and religion. Celebrating the natural world rather than the self, this book serves as a balm for those open to immersing themselves in the interconnected view of a master.
If you haven’t read the novel that broke headlines and hearts, a long flight is a wonderful time to begin. Hanya Yanagihara’s award-winning epic follows the lives of four college classmates from young adulthood to middle age. At the center of them all is Jude, the friend they love and attempt to take care of the most, despite his mysterious past. A Little Life is a love story about friendship and the ways in which we can never truly escape the scars that form us.
Speaking of epics, this reportage meets memoir bestseller from last year will stun with its sweeping counter-narrative of Native American history. David Treuer grew up in Minnesota on a reservation and has trained as an anthropologist. In this book, he begins where many have said Native American history ends—the Wounded Knee massacre. Taking us from the end of the nineteenth century to the present day, Treuer shares a story of modern Native American history that is fueled by exceptional reinvention and resilience.
There’s nothing like a good suspense novel when the most exciting thing on your flight is being offered a snack. With the opioid crisis in Philadelphia as its backdrop, Liz Moore’s novel tells the story of two sisters. When Kacey vanishes at the same time that a murderer is on the loose, her sister Mickey won’t stop until she finds her. At once a gripping thriller and a story about growing up, Long Bright River will keep you hooked from beginning to end.
Anyone affected by mental illness will want to read Esmé Weijun Wang’s bestselling collection of essays. Previously a Stanford lab researcher, Wang approaches how schizophrenia has changed her life with a tender, analytical eye. At once personal, yet broad in scope, this collection is a powerful, insightful look into an often stigmatized condition.
One of the most anticipated books of the year, Brandon Taylor’s debut novel tells the story of Wallace, a black, gay biochem grad student and transplant from Alabama at a Midwestern university. Despite trying to keep his distance from others, one weekend of shame and attraction forces him to face himself. At once resentful and desiring, it’s impossible not to root for Wallace as he gets in his own way in academia and in love.
While training for a boxing match at Madison Square Garden as a trans man, Thomas Page McBee explores what it is that makes a man. By questioning the limits of gender, he ultimately finds hope, even as a self-described “amateur” at masculinity. Amateur is all you could want from a brilliant memoir. McBee doesn’t look away from what’s difficult to untangle and leaves you feeling evermore empathy for what it means to be human.