I’m convinced that I’m one of the few people on the planet who enjoys long-haul flying. It’s nice to settle in and make a plane my home for 15 hours, especially if I’m headed someplace cool. While aloft, nobody can text me. I’m immune from telemarketers. That means I have a great sanctuary to enjoy some reading.
If you’re planning a long-haul flight, let me give you five suggestions for books that can make the flight a lot better.
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal (Christopher Moore) – This is a masterwork of speculative historical fiction. It’s funny. It’s moving. It’s creative. You’ll follow Biff, the Robin to Jesus’ Batman, through the childhood, missing years and eventual death of the Son of God. The first time I read this book, I laughed so hard that people at coffee shops thought I was going into convulsions.
The Underdog (Joshua Davis) – The author of this great non-fiction piece has mommy issues. He’s spent most of his life trying to please his former beauty queen mother. This leads him on a quest to be the best at something … anything! He takes up backward running, bullfighting, extreme sauna and more as he struggles to be more than a bespectacled data entry clerk.
Bad Monkeys (Matt Ruff) – This is a twisting, turning mash-up of cyber-spy thriller with the very real possibility that the protagonist is simply off her rocker. Jane gets arrested and claims she is part of a super-secret group that aims to rid the world of incorrigible evil. But is she actually that evil? A crazy and unpredictable book.
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (Mary Roach) – Roach is one of my favorite authors for non-fiction ponderings of life’s mysteries. Her latest tackles sex, and how researchers have poked and prodded the world’s oldest deed through human history. Any author willing to shag her husband in an MRI tube for a book deserves my props.
Slam (Nick Hornby) – Hornby is one of the few authors who’s both ubiquitous and genuinely deserving of his success. In Slam, he writes about the perils of teenage relationships and pregnancy without sounding preachy. He also presents a neat plot device involving 16-year-old protagonist Sam and a Tony Hawk poster. Hornby is also a master at writing in the perfect voice of his characters.
Count on these five to get you through a transcontinental flight with your sanity intact.