6 pageturners for a long flight

Call it a habit, but even in this age of ipads and smart phones, I still pack a pageturner in my carry-on bag for a long flight. It’s kind of like insurance.

Josh is headed out tonight on his last mileage run of the year (woo hoo!). A few minutes ago, he was rifling frantically through our bookshelf, looking for “something good” As we studied all the titles, a handful of them leaped out at me, and I set them aside to read again soon. So, I thought I would share them with you, in case you need a good read as well.

1. Bel Canto

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In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. His hosts hope that Mr. Hosokawa can be persuaded to build a factory in their Third World backwater. Alas, in the opening sequence, just as the accompanist kisses the soprano, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

2. The Outlander: A Novel

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In 1903 Mary Boulton flees alone across the West, one heart-pounding step ahead of the law. At nineteen, she has just become a widow–and her husband’s killer. As bloodhounds track her frantic race toward the mountains, she is tormented by mad visions and by the knowledge that her two ruthless brothers-in-law are in pursuit, determined to avenge their younger brother’s death. Responding to little more than the primitive instinct for survival at any cost, she retreats ever deeper into the wilderness–and into the wilds of her own mind.

3. Olive Kitteridge

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At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse. As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty.

4. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

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At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

5. The Other Boleyn Girl

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When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the kings interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king, and take her fate into her own hands. 

6. The Magicians: A Novel

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Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians, the prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician Kingand the forthcoming The Magician’s Land, is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren’t black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.


Has anyone read any other amazing books lately? Please tell us in the comments if you’ve got a good one to share!



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  1. Great choices – you’ve included a few of my all times faves.

    I’d love to suggest my recently released novel – Room 702! I think it would strike a chord with the seasoned traveler. One hotel suite. One year. Many stories. The Winchester Hotel is an active property in Beverly Hills, California. Luxurious and discreet, it is a perfect location for business meetings, weddings, affairs, and other important life events – including the death of an A List celebrity.

  2. The book needs an extra long flight as it’s over 900 pages long, but Neal Stephenson’s “Anathem” is an excellent and smart read.

    • Points Pixie says:

      I love a super long book! I’ll definitely take a look at Anathem. From the online liner notes it seems richly detailed and packed with intriguing concepts…thanks for recommending!

  3. Love your book list – I’ve read Bel Canto, Olive Kitteridge, and The Other Boleyn Girl. So I will have to look into your other choices too. Thanks for sharing.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Denise – Sounds like we’ve got similar taste in books! Write back if you can think of another one of your faves…I’m looking for a good book club pick. 😉

  4. pinkisnice says:

    Love. Love. Love. Nothing makes a flight fly by like a pageturner. I’ll add the Secret History to this list!

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