Far be it from us to suggest that you spend your hours after take-off doing anything other than watching Unlikely Animal Friends 4 on repeat and drinking yourself into oblivion, but in case you do want something different while hurtling through space in a giant metal tube, may we suggest reading one of these five books? There’s no reason to resort to the latest Dan Brown to keep you company while you fly; any one of these selections will allow you to so completely immerse yourself in another place that you won’t even notice that your plane’s been diverted 100 miles away from where you were supposed to land due to thunderstorms at JFK.
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Do we really need a modernized version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that centers around a Bachelor-esque reality show and the woes of Cincinnati’s high society? Um, yes. Absolutely. Thanks to the deft hands of Sittenfeld, this classic story gets imbued with sly humor and smart commentary on the modern dating scene. Plus, most chapters are small, delectable bites, making it possible to rip through the story at, well, jet-speed.
Last Sext by Melissa Broder
Broder is the dark genius behind the So Sad Today Twitter account, and the poems in this, her fourth collection, are imbued with a similar obsession with death, love, sex, god, and the utter annihilation of the self. But while those topics could be heavy and ponderous in another’s voice, Broder’s irreverence and mordant wit mean that, while reading, a twisted smile will never leave your face.
Some Possible Solutions by Helen Philips
Proving herself a master at a specific brand of sci-fi surreal, Phillips’s latest short story collection is filled with eerie and captivating tales of alien children, clone mothers, human-like dolls; all existing in a world just a few degrees off ours, revealing our own idiosyncrasies as if in a fun-house mirror from another planet.
Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
It’s possible to read this achingly beautiful meditation on family grief in one sitting; but may we recommend that you then immediately read it again? Not because it’s anything other than utterly lucid, but rather because its haunting, wildly strange, and poetic world is one worth inhabiting for as long as possible.