The best books for taking flight

The Books I Picked & Why

Wind, Sand and Stars

By Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Wind, Sand and Stars

Why this book?

This is the book for those who dream of big open skies, adventure, danger. This book made me want to become a pilot, see the world, fly over Africa. The first time I read it, I was so young, I remember that incredible, overwhelming feeling of “big,” of vastness it gave me. But this book is also about fear and courage, about that tiny pang in the chest before leaving; that part took some living, traveling, and growing up for me to get.


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Jonathan Livingston Seagull

By Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Why this book?

The brave little seagull who dreams of flying higher and faster than any seagull has before… then does! Defying his genetics, family, the world, failing and failing and failing until he soars, and then, (spoiler) actually coming home to teach others how to do it. This is not a children’s book. This is a manifesto for those who believe that only they decide who they want to be.


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Around the World in Eighty Days

By Jules Verne

Around the World in Eighty Days

Why this book?

A classic. A roadmap for anyone who wants to pack up and take on the world. It has everything: planes and ships and elephants, a hot air balloon, an eccentric Englishman with a valet and top hat! Also, it made me laugh, and gave me courage on my own adventures; if Phileas Fogg can escape enraged priests, storms, robbers, Sioux Indians...nothing that happens to me can be as bad as all that.


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The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere

By Pico Iyer

The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere

Why this book?

Really, any book or essay (or scrap of paper!) by Pico Iyer, the master of flight and finding that quiet, blue place above any clouds. The first three books in this list were to make you want to take flight. This is the how-to manual. Start it on the plane, as the engine roars to life, the wheels begin to turn… and go.


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A Moveable Feast

By Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast

Why this book?

Because no matter how brave and ambitious and in love with the sky you are, you need a place to land. A home you can carry, that reminds you of who you are and where you belong. A Moveable Feast is that home, for me. I take it wherever I fly. It is about Paris, but not just; about love and life and art and savouring every moment, bite of bread, and a sip of wine, wherever you are.


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