Airports Culture Travel

Not Your Average Airport Novel

June 22, 2015

What To Read on a Plane: books that are perfect for a transatlantic read.



I was trying to think of a travel post for today when a friend of mine sent me a snapchat of her covertly reading at work. Inspiration truly is everywhere.

I’m not one for reading in cars or even subways but when it comes to planes, I’m allllll about sitting down and losing myself in a good book. In fact, I always used to do my summer reading on the plane home from Austria every summer (yes, all at once. hey, it worked!). I’ve picked out some books that are either perfect to read entirely on a plane or just seem to make airtime fly by. Enjoy!



1. Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie

This book is about Haroun, a storyteller’s son who sets out on a quest to save the Sea of Stories from being poisoned. Salman Rushdie is one of favvvvvourite authors and while this was technically written for his son as a children’s book, it’s a great and fantastical read. Perfect for escaping a stuffy plane cabin.


2. Red by John Logan

This one’s actually a short play about  “Mark Rothko is in his New York studio in 1958-9, having been commissioned to paint a group of murals for the expensive and exclusive Four Seasons restaurant. He gives orders to his assistant, Ken, as he mixes the paints, makes the frames, and paints the canvases” (source).  Basically, this book is cool because you get to really understand Rothko’s art (whose simplicity we’ve all probably made fun of at some point or another). If you want to know more about his, is an awesome place to start.


3. Peter Pam, J.M. Barrie

Before you roll your eyes, if you haven’t read the original Peter Pan, you totally should. It goes more deeply into the whole Neverland social structure, idea of this fear of growing up and the real psyche of the characters. I’ll literally just flip to a random page and start reading sometimes (it’s not my favourite story or anything…).


4. The Stranger, Camus

Before you roll your eyes again, hear me out. What better place to ponder life than 25,000 feet up in the sky? The Stranger is a little book (not exactly a quick read) and definitely a good plane book. I’ll just leave this here too: “”Camus once said, “I summarised The Stranger a long time ago, with a remark I admit was highly paradoxical: ‘In our society any man who does not weep at his mother’s funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.’ I only meant that the hero of my book is condemned because he does not play the game.” “” (source).


5. One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, B.J. Novak

Here we have a collection of completely unrelated and random little stories. Example: Julie and the Warlord (spoiler: it’s about Julie going on a date with a war lord). And all these stories are somehow super addicting. B.J. Novak is hilarious and his little stories are no different. The best part is you don’t have to feel interrupted when your on-flight meal comes.


6. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch

You’ve probably heard of this book but never read it. I was the same. Then one of my friends actually explained what it was about to me; it’s about Pausch’s last lecture at the university where he taught about “Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” after being diagnosed with fatal cancer. It’s not nearly as depressing as it may sound and it truly a great read (and really made me want to be a Disney Imagineer).


7. (Anything) by Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code, Inferno… you’ve definitely heard of at least one of Dan Brown’s page turners. These art historical adventures are perfect for airplane trips (esp those headed to Florence or Constantinople, hint hint). Bonus: you can always watch the movie once you land.


8. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

If you haven’t already read this, pick up a copy whether you’re flying or not. The writing is amazingly sarcastic, random and hilarious and the story is even more so. So while you’re doing the opposite of hitchhiking (spending big bucks on airfare), sit back and travel the galaxy with Arthur Dent in his nightgown and the friendly resident alien, Ford.

So there you have it. Do you read on planes? What are your go-to’s (I’m always looking for new ones)?



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  • Romantiquely June 22, 2015 at 11:19

    I always have a really tough time picking out what to read on planes! I haven’t read anything from your list (oh apart from The Da Vinci Code which was brilliant!) but I’m so excited to cross some off, especially Peter Pan and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! I had no idea B.J. Novak has a book, what?! This post is wonderful, thanks for the recommendations! xxxxx

    • Pia S June 22, 2015 at 14:07

      Yes!!! BJ Novak also has a picture book (well, it’s called A Book with No Pictures) that’s quite great. Glad you liked the post!! xx

  • Kate June 22, 2015 at 11:20

    I’m going to the beach this weekend, and was looking for a new book to pick up, so this came at the perfect time! Great picks. xx

    • Pia S June 22, 2015 at 14:06

      Aw that’s so good to hear!! Glad you like it Kate!

  • Elyse June 22, 2015 at 12:33

    I just posted a book review, and asked for some book suggestions! This couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. I love it!

    Thank you so much– and if you’re interested in Stephen King, I did a review about Mr. Mercedes which was a book he released last year.


    • Pia S June 22, 2015 at 14:04

      I’ve never actually read Stephen King…. hmm maybe I’ll pick up one of his novels for my next flight!
      Thanks for reading Elyse xx

  • taimemode June 23, 2015 at 04:54

    Such a nice post 🙂 MERCI! Bisous from France, *-* Sand. *-*

  • Ivana June 23, 2015 at 05:01

    Kindles are love.

    I have to admit I haven’t read any of those books, but I’m adding them on Goodreads right now! ‘Red’ seems like something I would really enjoy. Thanks! 🙂

    Ivana x
    Block of Beauty

  • Like, Wutever June 27, 2015 at 12:43

    I really enjoyed Dan Brown’s Inferno. It took me forever to read (I’m slow) but it was very thrilling. Candice Bushnell has a new book out called Killing Monica. I can’t wait to give it a read. It’s so hard for me to read books on plane rides. I just fall asleep. LOL!

    • gymbagsandjetlags June 27, 2015 at 15:15

      Inferno was amazing! I love how Dan Brown can make these super complex plots in a way that’s easy to follow. Thanks for reading!