Best Books to Read on a Plane in 2023

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Ah, the joys of air travel – long lines, cramped seats, and an endless stream of in-flight announcements. The one saving grace of any plane journey is the opportunity to dive headfirst into a good book.

Reading on flights is the perfect way to escape the humdrum!

Whether you’re looking for a thrilling page-turner or a heartwarming tale to pass the time on your flight, we’ve got you covered with the best books to read on a plane.

Best Books to Read on a Plane 

Sit back, relax (as much as you can), and prepare for takeoff with this varied collection of the best books for flights! Whatever your reading preference, there’s sure to be something here to tempt you 🙂

1. How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie

Rating 4.2/5 | 21,100+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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Have you had days when your family drives you up the wall? Well, Bella Mackie’s darkly comedic novel is perfect for you!

The story follows Grace Bernard as she navigates through her dysfunctional family and their toxic relationships. She must decide if she will go to extreme measures to escape them.

Mackie’s writing style is witty and engaging, making it easy for readers to get sucked into Grace’s chaotic world. She injects humour throughout the story that will have you laughing out loud while feeling uncomfortable about how relatable some characters are.

“How to Kill Your Family” is a thrilling page-turner that keeps you guessing. Mackie expertly weaves together suspense and satire in a way that will leave you satisfied and wanting more. Settle in for an entertaining read.

2. Watermelon by Marian Keyes

Rating 4.2/5 | 21,100+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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This story follows the tumultuous journey of Claire Walsh, a newly dumped mother-to-be who moves back to Dublin with her eccentric family. Keyes’ wit and humour shine through from the first page as we meet Claire’s quirky siblings and kooky parents.

As Claire navigates the ups and downs of single motherhood and attempts to move on from her heartbreak, you will love the hilarious antics of this dysfunctional yet lovable family.

But don’t be fooled – “Watermelon” is also a poignant exploration of love, loss, and self-discovery. Keyes skillfully tackles important themes such as mental health and toxic relationships in a relatable and insightful way.

This witty and heartfelt read will have you reaching for tissues one minute and giggling uncontrollably the next – exactly what you need from the best books to read on a plane!

3. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

Rating 4.2/5 | 1,800+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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Have you ever heard of “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” by Anne Bronte? If not, you’ll love this literary gem!

Anne Bronte was one of the famous Bronte sisters but is often overshadowed by her sisters. Don’t let that fool you – she was a talented writer in her own right!

“The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” tells the story of Helen Graham, who moves into an old mansion with her son. The townspeople are intrigued by this mysterious new tenant, and gossip starts flying around.

You’ll learn more about Helen’s past through her journal entries, and see that she has been through serious hardships – including an abusive marriage. She is determined to start fresh and protect herself and her son from further harm.

The novel defies societal expectations for women during its time period (published in 1848). Helen refuses to be a victim and takes control of her life.

Heavy themes are at play here (domestic abuse, alcoholism, etc.), but Bronte infuses moments of humour and wit throughout the story. It’s one of the best classic books to read on a plane!

4. Holes by Louis Sachar

Rating 4.7/5 | 27,900+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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“Holes” is a quirky and captivating young adult novel with a unique blend of mystery, adventure, and humour that will leave any teen you’re travelling with wanting more (if you can prize them away from their phone).

The story follows Stanley Yelnats, a boy sent to Camp Green Lake as punishment for a crime he didn’t commit. But it’s no ordinary summer camp – instead of swimming pools and s’mores, the boys are forced to dig holes every day.

Now you might think digging holes doesn’t sound like an exciting plotline. But trust me when I say that Sachar weaves an intricate web of secrets and surprises that will have you guessing until the end.

One of the best parts about “Holes” is its cast of characters. From the tough-as-nails wardens to Stanley’s fellow inmates, each character brings their own quirks and personality to the table. While they’re all stuck in this seemingly hopeless situation together, they still find moments of camaraderie and friendship.

But don’t worry – just because “Holes” has some serious themes (like injustice and racism), it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sachar infuses humour throughout the story to make your teen laugh out loud.

5. The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadiya Hussain

Rating 4.7/5 | 27,900+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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The Pearl That Broke Its Shell” is an incredible story that follows the lives of two Afghan women separated by a century. One is Rahima, who grows up in a world where women cannot leave their homes without a male escort. The other is her great-great-grandmother, Shekiba.

Both women struggle with societal expectations and gender roles as they fight for their own independence and freedom. It’s a powerful tale of resilience and strength that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

This book dives deep into important themes like gender inequality and cultural traditions and paints vivid pictures of Afghanistan’s beautiful landscapes and rich history. Nadiya Hussain brings these characters to life through her captivating and engaging storytelling.

Overall, “The Pearl That Broke Its Shell” is a must-read novel that will take you on an emotional journey filled with heartbreak, hope, and triumph. So grab yourself a copy today and prepare to be swept away!

6. Blue Moon by Lee Child

Rating 4.2/5 | 50,000+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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In this action-packed thriller, we find our favourite drifter in the middle of another dangerous situation. This time he’s in a city where crime runs rampant, and justice seems nowhere in sight, but Jack Reacher is here to save the day.

Reacher tries to take down a powerful criminal organisation that has been terrorising the city. With his signature blend of intelligence and brute force, he sets out to ensure justice is served.

Along the way, interesting characters add depth and flavour to the exciting plot. From tough-as-nails women to cunning villains, this page-turner never has a dull moment.

What makes Blue Moon stand out from other thrillers is its witty writing style that keeps readers engaged throughout the entire journey. Lee Child’s prose is sharp and clever, making even mundane details seem interesting.

So if you’re looking for a fast-paced read that will keep you on edge until the end, Blue Moon should definitely be on your reading list.

7. Lazy Bones by Mark Billingham

Rating 4.3/5 | 3,000+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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This tense thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

Detective Inspector Tom Thorne investigates a series of murders that seem to be connected to a notorious London gangster, recently released from prison. The killer seems to be targeting members of the gangster’s family, but Thorne soon realises things are not quite what they seem.

Despite the serious nature of the crimes being investigated, Thorne is a likeable protagonist with a sharp wit and dry humour. He’s not afraid to poke fun at himself or his colleagues, which makes him all the more relatable.

One particularly amusing scene sees Thorne navigating through an awkward conversation with his boss while suffering from severe jet lag. Moments like these add depth and humanity to the characters in Lazy Bones, making them feel like real people rather than just caricatures.

But don’t let the humour fool you – Lazy Bones is tense and gripping, with plenty of twists and turns along the way. As Thorne gets closer to uncovering the truth behind the murders, he finds himself in increasing danger, leading up to a heart-pounding finale that will leave you breathless.

If you enjoy crime fiction, you will love Lazy Bones.

8. The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez

Rating 4.3/5 | 3,000+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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Welcome to the world of The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez! This novel is a delightful and heartwarming tale that will take you on a journey to the bustling streets of Afghanistan.

The story revolves around five women brought together by their love for coffee and desire for independence. Amid war-torn Kabul, these women come together to open a coffee shop – something unheard of in their conservative society.

Deborah Rodriguez masterfully weaves the stories of these women, each with their own unique struggles and dreams. There’s Sunny, an American woman who has left everything behind to find her true purpose in life. Then there’s Yasmina, struggling to provide for her family while dealing with an abusive husband. And let’s not forget Halajan – the group’s matriarch – who has seen it all and knows how to navigate life’s challenges.

As you immerse yourself in this charming novel, you’ll be transported into a world where friendships are formed over cups of steaming hot coffee and laughter. You’ll witness how these brave women fight against cultural norms and societal expectations as they strive towards their dreams.

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is more than just a story about coffee; it celebrates sisterhood, courage, resilience and hope. It reminds us that even in times of darkness, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

So grab yourself a cup of tea (or chai if you prefer) and settle down with this captivating read.

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9. Should I Tell You? By Jill Mansell

Rating 4.4/5 | 4,000+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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Should I Tell You?” by Jill Mansell is a heartwarming, feel-good read that will leave you with a smile on your face.

The story follows childhood sweethearts who lost touch after Tessa moved away to London. When they run into each other again, Tessa is engaged to someone else. As the plot unfolds, we see how their paths intersect and how their past relationship affects their present choices.

Mansell’s characters are so relatable! From Tessa’s struggles with her decision to marry her current fiancé to Ross dealing with his personal demons, each character feels like someone we could know in real life.

What really makes “Should I Tell You?” stand out is its witty dialogue and clever plot twists. When you think you have everything figured out, Mansell throws a curveball that keeps you guessing until the end.

While serious themes are explored throughout the book (such as loss and betrayal), it never feels too heavy-handed, thanks to Mansell’s light touch.

“Should I Tell You?” is a delightful romp through love and friendship.

10. The Mister by E L James

Rating 4.2/5 | 15,000+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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The Mister is a steamy summer read that will make your heart race and leave you wanting more; from the author who brought us Fifty Shades of Grey.

This is the story of Maxim Trevelyan, a handsome aristocrat who finds himself falling for his mysterious and enigmatic housekeeper, Alessia Demachi. As they navigate their complicated feelings for each other, they must also confront the dangers and secrets of Alessia’s past.

There’s no denying that E L James knows how to craft a compelling love story. Her characters are flawed yet irresistible, and she expertly builds tension throughout the book until it reaches its satisfying climax.

What sets The Mister apart is its setting in contemporary London and the picturesque countryside of Cornwall. This book offers a glimpse into the opulent world of British high society while exploring issues like immigration and human trafficking.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an E L James novel without plenty of steamy sex scenes. But unlike Fifty Shades of Grey, The Mister feels less focused on BDSM and more on the emotional connection between two people.

If you want a page-turner that will make you blush and tug at your heartstrings equally, try The Mister (just remember your poker face or row mates might guess what you’re reading!!)

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

Rating 4.5/5 | 35,000+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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Let me tell you why this delightful easy-reading tale should be next on your reading list.

This novel takes us back to post-World War II England, where our protagonist, Juliet Ashton, is a writer struggling to find her next big project.

Everything changes when she receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams, living on the island of Guernsey. During the war, Dawsey and his friends started a book club as an excuse to gather together without being caught by German soldiers.

Oh, but there’s more! They also created a potato peel pie recipe because food was strictly rationed by the German forces occupying the island.

Intrigued by these charming islanders and their stories of survival during the occupation, Juliet decides to visit Guernsey and meet them in person. What follows is a heartwarming tale about friendship, love, loss, and the power of literature.

The characters make this book truly special. From Amelia Maugery (who runs an eccentric household full of dogs) to Isola Pribby (obsessed with matchmaking) – each member of the society brings something unique to the table.

You’ll want to befriend them all and join in their discussions about books like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

12. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Rating 4.4/5 | 60,000+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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If you’re in the mood for a gripping page-turner, this suspenseful thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

The story follows three characters whose lives become intertwined through a dark, twisted family history.

First, we have Libby Jones, who, at 25 years old, inherits a mansion in London that she never knew existed. As she begins to uncover her family’s past, she discovers that her parents may not be who they seem and that her biological family has a mysterious and disturbing past.

Next is Lucy Lamb, a single mother struggling to make ends meet while raising two children in France. Her story intertwines with Libby’s as we discover how their families are connected through secrets and lies.

And finally, there’s Henry Lamb – Lucy’s brother – whose obsession with his family’s past leads him down a dangerous path towards revenge.

Lisa Jewell masterfully weaves these three narratives into one thrilling tale of betrayal, deception, and redemption. The writing is sharp and evocative, drawing readers into each character’s world with vivid descriptions of people and places. You’ll feel like you’re right there alongside them as they unravel the mysteries surrounding their families.

But don’t take my word for it – pick up The Family Upstairs today and see for yourself why this novel has garnered so much buzz! It’s perfect for fans of psychological thrillers looking for an enthralling read.

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13. Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield Thomas

Rating 4.3/5 | 3,000+ top ratings | BUY IT ON AMAZON

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Tired of living paycheck to paycheck? This book is packed with practical tips and inspiring stories about shifting your mindset and attracting wealth into your life. And let’s be real, who doesn’t want a little extra cash flow?

This is no boring finance textbook. Denise writes in a friendly and witty tone that engages from start to finish. She shares her own personal struggles with money and how she overcame them using the tools she outlines in the book.

One of my favourite things about Get Rich, Lucky Bitch is that it’s not just focused on making more money for the sake of having more money. Denise encourages readers to think about what they truly want out of life and how financial freedom can help them achieve those goals.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to grow your business or want to feel more empowered with your finances, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch is a great read.

Best books to read on a plane

Conclusion: The Best Books To Read on a Plane

So there we have it, folks! The ultimate list of the very best books to read on a plane. Whether you’re jetting off for business or pleasure, these page-turners will keep you entertained and help pass the time in style.

From romance to thriller, non-fiction to fantasy, there’s sure to be something for you to read on a plane! So next time you’re stuck thirty thousand feet up in the air with nothing but your thoughts for company, reach for one of these books to read on a plane and enjoy the journey!

You might find these articles helpful for planning your next trip:

How to Avoid Stress on Budget Airline Flights – 15 Failsafe Tips

How to Overcome Jet Lag – Tried & True Hacks

25 Best Things to Do on a Plane to Pass the Time

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Best books to read on a plane