As the hour of reckoning between you and your stomach awaits, so too does the day of reckoning between you and the United States airline system. Probably Saturday or Sunday, you’ll be waiting at the airport with millions of other Americans (me included—solidarity!), mindlessly scrolling through photos of turkey and cranberry sauce, learning that you’re stuck there for another four hours. Please friends, don’t whittle away those four hours on your phone.
Head over to the airport bookstore and make that delay worthwhile with one of these sure-I’m-the-one-choosing-but-dare-I-say amazing picks. Don’t pick up the highly overrated Girl on the Train. Skip the new poser Lisbeth Salander novel—it’s not Stieg-written or even Stieg-approved, no thank you. And for the love of everything good in the world, leave Purity on the shelf. Do however, try these.
1. Fates and Furies by Lauren GroffTo recommend this highly acclaimed piece of fiction to you, I need only cite the opening of Robin Black’s New York Times review of it: “There’s always the danger, with novels structured around a marriage, that they’ll be perceived as centrally concerned not only with that particular relationship but with the nature of marriage itself. A domestic union set prominently in a work of fiction has the sometimes unfortunate capacity to obscure whatever else is going on. Yet “Fates and Furies,” Lauren Groff’s remarkable new novel, explodes and rages past any such preconceptions, insisting that the examination of a long-term relationship can be a perfect vehicle for exploring no less than the nature of existence — the domestic a doorway to the philosophical.” Do it.
I’ve been recommending this book at every possible opportunity, and given that it will indeed be available at any major airport bookstore, I see the opportunity once again! Ta-Nehisi Coates’ essay collection, written as a series of letters to his adolescent son, is simply a must-read for every American who is currently breathing. It’s an exploration of our nation’s history and current crisis, centered on our false idea of race. It is emotional, perspective-altering, and deeply disconcerting—a wake-up call that will make this airport delay the most meaningful of your life.
3. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
The third book in J.K. Rowling’s psyeudonomous crime series is just as compelling as the first two, and you do not need to have read the first two to enjoy it immensely. This one focuses more on the relationship between Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott, zeroing in on the characters in the way you know J.K. does. But don’t worry, it’s just as fast-paced—and at times, gruesome—as any thriller out there. (And obviously, much better written.)
4. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
There is no way that any self-respecting Gloss reader would NOT be intrigued by the subtitle, “Short Fictions and Disturbances.” Like, yes. Sign me up for short fictions and disturbances every single day of the week and twice on Thanksgiving. Oh and they’re written by Neil Gaiman? This is a no brainer people.
5. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
Yes, I realize this is not a new release and there is a decent chance you’ve already read it. But if you haven’t, now is the time! I include it because throughout the long weekend, it will be 40% off at Hudson Booksellers (what the majority of airport bookstores are). It’s the perfect opportunity to read the fascinating, controversial essay collection you keep meaning to read.
6. The Martian by Andy Weir
Again, this baby 40% off at Hudson this weekend friends! (Of course I much prefer the original cover, but this is the one you’ll likely see.) Whether you saw the movie or not (I haven’t yet), The Martian is absolutely worth the read. As someone who never—and I do mean never, check my Goodreads—reads science fiction, I gave this book five stars. Despite a very slow start, some admittedly corny dialogue, and an attention to mechanical detail that was at times tedious, I absolutely loved this book. It’s fun, sarcastic, and so impressively researched that it’s easy to let go of any doubt and totally go along for the ride.
7. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
A brand new collection from Mindy “America’s Bae” Kaling, Why Not Me? does not disappoint. Mindy tackles topics from her “weird as hell” relationship with BJ Novak to the truth about shooting sex scenes (they’re as awesome as you think they would be!) and oh so much more. Her thoughts on weddings? She hates them. “Asking your friend to be a bridesmaid is one of the modern paradoxes: no one actually wants to do it, but everyone would be offended if you didn’t ask.” On honesty? Overrated. “People don’t say “Give me your honest opinion” because they want an honest opinion. They say it because it’s rude to say “Please tell me I’m amazing.” Best of all, it’s so quick that you’ll probably finish it just in time for landing.