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Best Books to Take In-Flight

Choosing a book to take on the plane is one of my favorite parts of packing a carry-on. The story has to be fast-paced enough to distract from the discomfort of airline seats, the loud seatmates, and the turbulence. I also prefer my in-flight read to have something to do with far-off destinations or exotic travel, to set the mood for adventure.

With so many great options to choose from, whittling down a list is hard. But here are five books I’d take along on a flight any day:

Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany

From Mario Batali’s kitchens in New York to pasta makers and butchers in tiny Italian towns, this memoir from Bill Buford inspires both a hearty appetite and curiosity for new places.

In Siberia

Colin Thubron’s journey by boat, car, foot, and train through Siberia offers a fascinating look at the people and landscape of this mysterious region. An interesting journey even if you never plan to explore Siberia in person.

Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China

This memoir by Rachel DeWoskin chronicles her move to China to work at a PR firm and her unlikely path to becoming a “foreign babe” on one of China’s most popular soap operas.

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey

Candice Millard offers this look at the nearly disastrous trip Roosevelt took down an unexplored tributary of the Amazon, the River of Doubt. Injuries, accidents, and cannibals populate the story. It’s all very exciting.

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World

Are certain places happier than others? Eric Weiner brings readers to destinations around the world in search of the keys to joy. With stops in Iceland, Bhutan, and Holland, the scenery is as much a part of the story as the quest to understand what makes people happy.

Want more ideas? Check out Flavorpill’s list of seminal books for world travelers.

Have you read any of these? What other books do you think make great in-flight companions? I’m always on the lookout for new books to read, so please share your suggestions!

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