Flights can be a dreary business, especially in the age of double masks and face shields. Not to mention the endless waiting game you need to play if your flight gets delayed due to some unforeseen circumstances, like the wrath of the weather gods or the customary failing of technology. Catching up on precious nap sessions might also not be an option, thanks to the constant airport hubbub, travel anxiety, and your extreme caffeine intake.
While we can’t instantly transfer ourselves to our destination of choice, we can always opt for the closest thing to teleportation during our tedious plane rides, i.e. pick up a book! Your “uniquely portable magic”, as Stephen King describes books, will not only transport you to the lands unknown but also will provide an easy escape route from having to chitchat with a nosy co-passenger! So in case you need a pleasant distraction from bland flight breakfasts, the cranky toddler in the other row, uncomfortable seats, and a never-ending layover, this list is for you! Whether you’re in for the long haul or just taking a short flight that won’t take more than two hours to land, my list of brand new books that will make fitting travel companions is here to serve every bookish need. Read on to take your pick!
Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry By Joya Goffney
If romance is your jam, Goffney’s debut novel will keep you entertained for hours. Our protagonist Quinn is a compulsive list-maker, but this secret ritual is hers and only hers. One day, unbeknown to her, one of her lists is posted on Instagram. This isn’t even the worst part, because suddenly she is getting threatened: face her worst fears, or her entire journal will be made public. In her mission to track down the culprit behind it all, she learns how to live and love freely. From intriguing teenage drama to an enemy-to-lover story arc, this novel has every element that makes up a great romance!
Not My Problem By Ciara Smyth
Aideen’s problems have escalated beyond her control, and there’s nothing she can do about it. Her mother’s drinking problem is on the rise, and her best friend is drifting away from her. While she cannot find an antidote to her mess of a life, she becomes the official problem-solver for her fellow students in an unexpected turn of events. What started as a sprained ankle leads to a semester of teenage antics and a chance at falling in love. Young adult fiction at its best, this book will make your plane ride way better than you expected.
The Other Black Girl By Zakiya Dalila Harris
Nothing drowns out the din of chaotic flight rides like a good old thriller. Just when Nella is tired of being the only Black employee, she finds a friend in Hazel. But her happiness doesn’t last long, as soon she is getting threatened by an anonymous blackmailer about having to quit her job. She sets her suspicions on Hazel, who by now has moved to the rank of the office darling, but it’s still hard to believe that she would stoop this low. However, Nella eventually realizes that much more than her career is at stake here. From microaggressions to office politics, Harris has done a stellar job in bringing Nella’s story to life.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find By Joan He
Part mystery and part fantasy, this book is one of a kind. Cee finds herself stuck on an abandoned island for three years now. As if things weren’t bad enough, she can’t remember much about her pre-islander time for the life of her, barring the fact that she has a sister named Kay. Now Cee needs to cross the ocean to get to her, but how will she manage to reunite with Kay even if she does? An unconventional and twisty thriller, this YA novel is so engaging that you’ll lose track of time!
Some Girls Do By Jennifer Dugan
Morgan is forced to move to a different school as her Catholic school is homophobic and has obsolete codes of conduct that are not in the best interest of humanity. In her new school, she meets Ruby, and sparks start flying. Ruby has a thing for fixing old cars and competing in local beauty pageants. Morgan is open about her sexuality, but Ruby is not ready to come out yet. Now the question is, how will they figure out a way to be together if their ways of living are not in alignment? Cute and eye-opening, Dugan’s way of storytelling will make you fall in love with the characters!
Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir By Brian Broome
Broome’s formative years were spent in Ohio crushing on other boys. As a dark-skinned Black boy, he has always felt like he is not part of the grander scheme of things. In this gorgeous and powerful memoir, he goes on to explore the depths of these feelings and how he is gradually making his place in a society that is bent on silencing him. His childhood was far from ideal, and escalating drug use exacerbated his old wounds. This memoir is a tribute to Black boyhood and also sheds light on the ongoing cultural conversations on Blackness in modern America.
Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity By Justin Baldoni
Baldoni’s is a strong and fierce voice against the forces that have been imposing nonsensical models of masculinity on men since time immemorial. In this fearless exploration of men and masculinity, Baldoni asks his fellow men to reject the script that schools you into believing that vulnerability is synonymous with weakness. He encourages men to take ownership of who they are and embrace lovingly every part of their personality. He delves into themes of relationships, marriage, body image, race, and fatherhood and helps his readers reimagine what it’s like to be human.
The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism By Dr. Jen Gunter
The legacy of cultural shame around women’s bodies doesn’t allow for frank and open conversations about menopause and what to expect from it. In this wonderful nonfiction Gunter, a staunch advocate for women’s health, brings to her readers hard facts, logical and scientific opinions, and fresh new perspectives on the topic of menopause. She demystifies menopause and debunks misogynistic attitudes towards it, and reassures and empowers her readers in the process.
The rules of thriving and not just barely surviving in a workplace are never taught in school. In this practical guide for young professionals, Ng breaks down how to be your best possible version at work. From workplace politics to advice on climbing up the professional ladder, Ng has built a roadmap for everyone to draw inspiration from. His insightful and educational approach will transform your otherwise monotonous plane ride into an illuminating one.
Ready to plan your next trip? Try browsing Literary Tourism for some inspiration!