Summer travel is a time-tested tradition that often involves long security lines and even longer flight delays. Whether we’re hopping state lines, skipping time zones or crossing international borders, time spent waiting at the gate and sitting on grounded planes can feel like an eternity. In times like these, solid entertainment is key.
For those who want to catch up on a good book while stuck at the airport, these reading recommendations either tickle the funny bone, touch on a universal truth, or cover the gamut of human emotions.
Each can be easily digested in bite-sized pieces between inevitable interruptions like gate changes, overhead announcements and the occasional seatmate who insists on striking up a conversation. So, to take the edge off, consider packing this quintet of great reads to get you through the grind.
Perfect for picking up and putting down multiple times without missing a beat, The Best American Short Stories 2016 brings together the top short fiction published in the United States over the past year. Selected and edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz and featuring entries from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ted Chiang, Karen Russell, Hector Tobar, its stories span humorous anecdotes to dramatic twists of fate, all written by some of today’s most talented scribes.
If you’re in search of the perfect conversation starter at the beach bonfire, look no further than Chuck Klosterman’s latest work of nonfiction. The pop culture savant poses mind-bending questions about everything from music history to physics, wondering which current nuggets of “conventional wisdom” will be adopted or disproven over time.
With an array of luminaries like astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, musician David Byrne and journalist Kathryn Schulz weighing in on some of life’s most open-ended questions, the book has the potential to ignite a friendly family argument over something other than politics.
Having proven her comedic chops in 2011 with her debut memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), television star and writer Mindy Kaling returns with a second serving of wry, self-deprecating humor, skewering the trickier elements of the entertainment industry as she makes her way through its idiosyncratic maze.
A combination of essays and memoir, the chapters can stand on their own, making the recently-released paperback version an easy read during a trip. You’ll probably laugh out loud more than once, so consider yourself warned.
If you find yourself grounded for hours on end while trying to get home (or away, for that matter), let Clara Bensen’s continent-hopping story of love and discovery take you halfway around the world while you wait. While working to recover from a quarter-life breakdown, Bensen meets a unique and adventurous compatriot with whom she travels to eight countries in three weeks with no reservations and zero luggage—not even a small carry-on.
Smartly written with a quiet sense of existential curiosity, No Baggage is a soothing and inspiring read for anyone in search of a metaphorical lift.
An ideal read for dry-humored travelers, Holidays on Ice was an instant classic upon its publication thanks to the author’s signature incisiveness and embrace of all things absurd. Since its release, it’s become an annual go-to for Sedaris fans as the year comes to a close and family gatherings loom large.
Filled with holiday-themed tales of childhood memories and grown-up calamities seasoned with a heavy dash of high-level snark, the collection is well worth reading any time, despite the season, and enjoying every devilish word.