Flying across country...

Any good books to recommend for a long flight? I would like something light, funny… but nothing I would be embarassed to be seen reading. I know that should not matter, but I want strangers to think I am smart! :stuck_out_tongue: Nothing too thick either… Large books are unweildy for a flight. I am flying from Newfoundland to BC so I am going to have a lot of time on my hands.

How do you feel about Terry Pratchett? His books are very entertainng and not too heavy, but IMHO they are generally not perceived as lowbrow.

Bill Bryson’s non-fiction (travel) books are good too.

Stop reading my mind!

I was going to suggest Stephen King’s "The Stand’ until you said "nothing too big."Yes, it’s big, but it will last the whole trip and the return flight too.

Try some John Irving: Garp, The Hotel New Hampshire or A Prayer for Owen Meany. All entertaining and very very highbrow.

I’m currently reading The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman (the PC in those "I’m a Mac and I’m a PC commercials). It’s not a novel, but it’s quite funny IMO, not heavy (in either sense), and since the author also contributes to NPR and The Daily Show, should make you look smart.

I was just about to recommend Flight of the Intruder, which I just finished reading, but it occurs to me that reading a book with numerous prominent airplane crashes in it while you are FLYING in a plane might not be a great idea :smiley:

Changing Planes by Ursula LeGuin would be perfect. Light, satirical and very entertaining, it’s about other realms that can only be entered through the discomfort of air travel.

Have a nice trip. :slight_smile:

Anything by Spider Robinson.

Anything by David Sedaris or Sarah Vowell are perfect for flights IMHO. They are breezy and funny and strike just the right note for tuning out the misery that is modern air travel.

Thanks everybody! Some good stuff in there. I am not a huge fan of sci fi or fantasy and if I am not mistaken, that is Terry Prachett’s genre? I have read all of John Irving’s stuff and debated bringing it to reread.

I am such a contradition, cuz now I am thinking about buying a whole bunch of magazines. My guilty pleasures… trashy mags. But am looking forward to hitting the bookstore when I drive the three hours to get to one!

And thanks for not making fun of my need for total strangers to think I am smart!

John Irving is one of my favorite long flight authors…although I usually bring another book along in case it gets to heavy. World According to Garp I read on my first transpacific flight 25 years ago. Until I Find You was started on my recent trip back from Viet Nam.

Carl Hiassen is a good one for the plane. Funny, easy to read, couple hundred pages, engrossing, cover to cover kinda books.

Seconded. Bill Bryson is awesome.

I second David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell. I read Assasination Vacation on a flight home from Chicago and it was pretty good. I’ve heard that Take the Canoli is better, though.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Gerald Durrell’s books about growing up on Corfu.

In terms of airplane reads, I really enjoyed Ruth Reichl’s “Garlic and Sapphires” about life as a New York Times food critic, which I picked up during yet another Chicago trip.

My spiritual twin! The only time I’ll allow myself to buy garbage like “In Style,” “People” and (omigawdimgoingtohell) “Star” is on my way to a flight.

I don’t know what’s offered in Canada, but beware that “Us” and “People” are the exact same magazine. I got both for a flight once and had terrible deja-vu.

So much for your fellow passengers thinking you’re “smart” though. :stuck_out_tongue: Then again, you could win back their favor by whipping through the airline magazine’s crossword puzzle.


I don’t know what’s offered in Canada, but beware that “Us” and “People” are the exact same magazine. I got both for a flight once and had terrible deja-vu.

WE have US Weekly. Is that what you are talking about? Cuz I hate People, but love US Weekly. I am only interested celebrity… People can keep their “normals.” :stuck_out_tongue: I also love Star. That has to be the worst one! (and, I should not admit this, but I do the cross word from Star.)

Thanks everybody again. I am starting a list of books. I am almost more exicted about book buying than the trip!

True…“US Weekly” is “People” minus the (inspirational, criminal or dead) normals. But if you compare the celebrity stories and photos in any given week they are virtually identical. Star is total junk food. Utterly vile…and so fun. Enjoy your trip.

I strongly recommend ‘Twisted: The Collected Stories Of Jeffrey Deaver’. I’m not a Deaver fan, and I don’t care for his full-length books. But this collection of his published short stories is hugely impressive and enjoyable. With one exception (a duff item set in Elizabethan England) all the stories are brilliant - superbly well-written, and with beautifully clever and satisfying twists. In his short stories, Deaver plays a very high-class game of wits with the reader, and he just about always wins (at least, that was my experience and the experience of the many, many friends who have read this compilation on my recommendation).

I have actually used this book as flying fodder, and it works superbly well. It’s a compilation of short stories so you can dip in anywhere, read one or two stories, take a break, come back to it, do as you like. No great demands mentally, and no probs trying to remember plot details from one session to the next. Every story (bar the one) is satisfying and fun. And it’s not low-brow junk.

When I read this book it was only out as a large, chunky hardback, but now there’s a smaller, ligher paperback edition, so it’s perfect for travelling.

I fly a lot and I have my reading down to a science. I bring one somewhat light, but a little meaty book (like the above mentioned Sarah Vowell); one magazine with at least one good ‘heavy’ article (like Atlantic Monthly) and then a couple of cheesy magazines with lots of short articles about a lot of different things (my favorite is The Week).

This gives me the freedom to flit around. If I just have one thing to read it suddenly becomes a chore to me, like doing my homework. But if I have a mix I can read about enough different things that I fail to notice that the screaming baby kicking my seat back has spilled his drink on my head while talking loudly on his cell phone.