Advice for the Airborne

My worst nightmare is being stuck on a long flight without a good book. I would honestly prefer to undergo oral surgery (at least you get good meds). The problem is that I don’t concentrate that well at 35,000 feet. Also, I read fast. Also, I’m cranky about writing style. So I am always on the lookout for longish books with plenty of action that are somewhat elegantly written. Of course you’d be in good hands with Lee Child or Thomas Perry or your favorite mystery writer, but here are a few more suggestions, in order of length:

your home for HOURS

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick — arranged marriage in rural Wisconsin in 1907; what you see is not what you get. Only 320 pages but dense.

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice — a girl book, the very essence of charm. 368 pages and completely magical.

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry —  can you really read the future from a piece of lace? Towner Whitney says you can, but she also admits she lies. Salem, Massachusetts, a crazy narrator, and a mysterious death in 416 pages.

Stardust by Joseph Kanon — a solid 528 pages of thriller set in Hollywood in 1947. Communists, movie stars, refugee German Jews playing tennis. Lots of fun.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel — Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII and Thomas More. Mantel brings the dawn of the English Reformation to life. Long enough, at 560 pages, to get you across the country and back.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt — Is it a thriller or a coming-of-age novel or a philosophical rumination? Doesn’t matter, it’s gripping and 576 pages long.

The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas — There’s a reason it’s been made into so many movies. 736 pages in the new Penguin Classics version. Improbably absorbing.

About carolwallace

I spend most of my time writing and reading. Most recent publications: the reissue of "To Marry an English Lord,"one of the inspirations for "Downton Abbey," and the historical novel "Leaving Van Gogh." I am too cranky to belong to a book group but I love the book-blogging community.
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2 Responses to Advice for the Airborne

  1. Heather says:

    I’ve never heard of The Lace Reader, but I’m intrigued by your description of it.

    I think my favorite airplane read ever was Fingersmith by Sarah Waters: I bought it in an airport bookshop on my way back to NYC from London, and I don’t think I put it down for the entire flight.

  2. carolwallace says:

    Oh, Heather, I’m glad you mentioned “Fingersmith.” I read her “The Little Stranger” (reviewed in BGOO) and it’s very good. I have waffled over “Fingersmith” before but now I’ll give it a closer look.

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