6 good books to read on your travels
Nothing could be more arbitrary than deciding which are the best books to read while traveling. Reading is such a subjective activity, based on personal preference, that telling anyone to take Janna Gray’s Kilingiri or Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code with them on the plane is nerve-wracking. On the other hand, suggesting a good read is as common as suggesting where to get the best sandwich.
The actual physical transfer of a trip is often enhanced by a good read. It instills the trip with an extra sensory boost that can make the trip that much more enjoyable and memorable. So it’s not just about killing a few hours to avoid going crazy while waiting to reach your destination. It can be about entertaining, learning, and challenging your perception of the world. Whether you’re doing it through fictional, nonfiction, historical, or police procedures, if there’s a reason to seek a good read, it’s while traveling.
So while we risk getting nervous, here are some books that won’t just pass the time during transit. They will remind you why you enjoy the written word so much in the first place.
The Harry Potter series (JK Rowling)
Has any other book collection provided so much entertainment and inspiration? With seven volumes in its catalog, it will keep you busy during the longest journey. The whole world marveled at the transformation from a naive and young child to intelligent adulthood and sorcery.
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963, Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-1965, At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968 (Taylor Branch)
This award-winning trilogy was a landmark in the author’s life, diligently telling the story of the civil rights movement in general and the story of Martin Luther King, Jr. in particular. Nonfiction and history buffs will find these books exciting as the segments can be read like a page turn. These books will definitely keep your mind spinning even during the longest journey.
Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
Already considered a classic work of literature, this first novel is a finely recorded and detailed story set in the Gion district of Kyoto during pre-war Japan. It focuses on a girl’s journey from an impoverished fishing village to becoming a celebrated artist. Memories is a living story of hope, courage and love that has been reminding readers that the experience of life is fragile and beautiful.
Hollywood Babylon (Kenneth Ager)
Some of us like to read about sordid scandals. Look behind the curtain and see that it’s not all sparkling lights and champagne. There are many books like this, but this was the first. Released in 1965, it was banned and not republished until 1975. There is nothing to learn here that will improve your life. But for us gossip mongers, it’s the cat’s meow!
A painted house (John Grisham)
Actually, anything from Grisham would make a good read on a speeding train, ship, or plane in and out of the clouds. They are all deliberately fast and attractive. This one, about a boy caught in a brutal murder, is not a bum in Grisham’s apartment.
Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts)
Captivating, it is loosely based on true events. A man escapes from an Australian prison and flies to India, posing as a doctor. From there, it’s a series of adventures that take our protagonist from the tumultuous slums of Mumbai to places like New Zealand, Afghanistan, and Germany. Don’t let its size stop you. This is as quick a read as possible.