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Close up of person holding and reading from a paperback book on a plane
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5 Books You Should Never Read on a Plane

SmarterTravel

A good book can be a lifesaver on a plane, making the hours fly by as you lose yourself in its pages. However, there are some books that you should avoid reading on a flight at all costs. Here are five books you’ll want to save to read on the ground.

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Hostage, Clare Mackintosh

Cover of Clare Mackintosh's book Hostage superimposed on a bookshelf with shelves of books in the background
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When I picked up Hostage, I did not want to put it down, tearing through the thriller in just a few days because I needed to see how it ends. While something so engrossing sounds like it should be a good in-flight read, this is not a book I recommend reading on a plane. Set on a 20-hour flight between London and Sydney, this novel is centered around a tense hijacking situation—and is so realistic, it will make even the calmest flier a little nervous. 

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

Cover of John Green's book The Fault in Our Stars superimposed on a bookshelf with shelves of books in the background
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It’s a scientific fact: humans are more emotional in-flight than on the ground. If you’re already tired and in a vulnerable state, you do not want to pick up The Fault in Our Stars, unless you’d like to startle your seatmate with ugly crying. This book may have been written for young adults, but the tear-jerker plot will emotionally wreck you no matter how old you are.

In the Unlikely Event, Judy Blume

Cover of Judy Blume's book In The Unlikely Event superimposed on a bookshelf with shelves of books in the background
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If you grew up devouring Judy Blume books, you might be tempted to grab her latest novel that’s written for adults, without ever reading the description. Which would be a mistake if you bring it on a plane, as In the Unlikely Event is centered around real-life historical events, in which three passenger planes crashed in Blume’s hometown over the course of a year.

Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, Piers Paul Read

Cover of Piers Paul Read's book Alive superimposed on a bookshelf with shelves of books in the background
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This true story about the 1972 plane crash in the Andes Mountains is a moving and inspiring novel… but not one that you want to read on a plane. Save this detailed account of a plane crash (and what the passengers had to do in order to survive the ten weeks until they were rescued) for when you’re on the ground. 

Flying Blind: The 737 Max Tragedy, Peter Robison

Cover of Peter Robinson's book Flying Blind superimposed on a bookshelf with shelves of books in the background
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Peter Robison’s shocking exposé of Boeing’s 737 Max failures is an important book—but it’s not one you want to read 33,000 feet above the ground. Flying Blind’s interviews with Boeing and FAA employees might make you lose faith in aviation safety, which is not what you want to be thinking about while in-flight. 

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