What to Read on Your Next Flight

planes and book cover art

What to Read on Your Next Flight
| Published February 18, 20140 |

By Earl H. Perkins
Thursday Review associate editor

The next time you take one of those long airline flights, maybe you ought to ignore the in-flight entertainment choices, according to USA Today.

Margaret Bowles is a frequent business traveler, and she reads books on her Kindle almost every time she flies. The Winter Park, Colorado, attorney is reading Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, which is one of more than 60 books she's read in flight during the last 18 months.

"I absolutely love to read, and the only chance I get to do it is while I am on a plane," she said.

Travelers enjoy relaxing with a good book, but it also makes them forget the stress and discomfort suffered by most people in the air.

Bowles usually enjoys carrying fiction books, but if she's flying to a country she hasn't visited, then she'll take a book associated with that country.

"I went to Peru and bought a book about the history of Peru," she said. "It made the trip more enjoyable."

Many business travelers love their Kindles and other electronic devices, but frequent flier Bailey Allard is real old school. The Chapel Hill, North Carolina, consultant used to enjoy wandering down the aisle noting all the different books fellow passengers were reading.

"Seatmate conversation was often sparked by seeing your seatmate reading a book that you had read," Allard said. "It was an opportunity for two traveling strangers to connect in conversation of mutual reading enjoyment."

Matthew Brush of Wilton, Connecticut, is reading Revolutionary Summer by Joseph Ellis. The book analyzes the American political and military situations in 1776, and "its compact size makes it a great travel book," he said.

"Reading on the road affords me the opportunity to think about problems unrelated to work challenges, to refresh myself by focusing on something new and challenging, and sometimes to learn how others have overcome business, personal or political challenges."

According to Goodreads, there's a veritable plethora of fantastic options out there for your next trip. You may want to try Shogun, The Hunger Games, Graceling, or Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden. Then there's Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games: A Novel, The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 1 Daughter of the Forest, The Godfather, or maybe The Jester By James Patterson and Andrew Gross.

And with this winter’s extreme weather now a factor in nearly every day’s news cycle since Christmas, be prepared with stuff to read while stranded in airports or nearby hotels. Last month alone there were some 46,000 cancelled flights, and roughly 350,000 travelers who have found themselves stuck at airports for more than eight hours.

Check out the Thursday Review Book Department and pick one from among those our writers have reviewed: Audrey Hepburn’s Neck by Alan Brown; The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein; or Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier.

We also recommend In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell; and if you want the advantage of weight and density, there is always Wilson, by A. Scott Berg, a biography of Woodrow Wilson.

Oh, what the heck, why don't you just take them all? And don't wimp out by carrying that handy Kindle. Load up on hardbacks. Just hope your family doesn't plan to haul any luggage.