The best books for taking flight

Who am I?

When I was a child, every year, for Christmas, I would wish for wings, pixie dust, a flying carpet… anything that would make me fly. I will never forget the first time I did: my grandfather and mother took me with them on a trip to Brussels when I was about four. That blue, those clouds, that lightness… I have never stopped chasing them since.


I wrote...

No Land to Light On

By Yara Zgheib,

Book cover of No Land to Light On

What is my book about?

Hadi and Sama are a young Syrian couple flying high on a whirlwind love, dreaming up a life in the country that brought them together. She had come to Boston years before, chasing dreams of a bigger life; he’d landed there as a sponsored refugee from a bloody civil war. Now, they are giddily awaiting the birth of their son, a boy whose native language would be freedom and belonging. When Sama is five months pregnant, Hadi’s father dies suddenly abroad. Hadi must fly back for the funeral. He leaves America, promising his wife that he’ll only be gone for a few days. On the day of his return, Sama is waiting for him at Boston airport.

His plane lands, but Hadi never walks out of the Arrivals gate. He has been stopped, detained, and deported from the United States. Separated by the travel ban, trapped in a timeless, nightmarish limbo on either side of the world, Sama and Hadi must fight for a way back to each other, and to the life they’d dreamed of together. But does that life exist anymore, or was it only an illusion? 

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Wind, Sand and Stars

Yara Zgheib Why did I love 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.

By Antoine de Saint-Exupery,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Wind, Sand and Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The National Book Award-winning autobiographical book about the wonder of flying from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of the beloved children's classic The Little Prince.

A National Geographic Top Ten Adventure Book of All Time

Recipient of the Grand Prix of the Académie Française, Wind, Sand and Stars captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of the most popular works ever written about flying.

Translated by Lewis Galantière.

"There are certain rare individuals...who by the mere fact of their existence put…


Book cover of Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Yara Zgheib Why did I love 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.

By Richard Bach,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Jonathan Livingston Seagull as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic work is now available for the first time in paperback. Since 1951, when the last of the Witchcraft Acts was repealed, many books have been written about the reappearance of witchcraft and the development of a pagan theology. Churchmen have denounced it. Sociologists have wondered at it. Journalists have penned sensational stories about it. But until the publication of this book, no one had told the real story of it from the inside as frankly as it is told here.

Doreen Valiente, one of witchcraft's most widely known figures, was a close friend of the late Gerald Gardner,…


Book cover of Around the World in Eighty Days

Yara Zgheib Why did I love 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.

By Jules Verne,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Around the World in Eighty Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Some novels are considered classics of children literature, read by numerous generations of young readers who made them immortal. That is the case with Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, a true prototype for many later adventure tales. The thrilling race against time of eccentric Phileas Fogg and his manservant Passepartout, having to run around the planet to win a bet, is here presented in a modern and original way, thanks to the splendid drawings by Francesca Rossi, an artist able to capture the vivid atmosphere of the story.


Book cover of The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere

Yara Zgheib Why did I love 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.

By Pico Iyer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Stillness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of the TED series: The Art of Stillness

In this age of constant movement and connectedness, when so many of us are all over the place, perhaps staying in one place - and locating everything we need for peace and happiness there - is a more exciting prospect, and a greater necessity than ever before.

Through his extensive interviews with creative geniuses of our day, as well as historical records and his own life experience, acclaimed author Pico Iyer paints a picture of why so many have found such richness in stillness and how - from Marcel Proust to…


Book cover of A Moveable Feast

Yara Zgheib Why did I love 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.

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked A Moveable Feast as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway's most beloved works. Since Hemingway's personal papers were released in 1979, scholars have examined and debated the changes made to the text before publication. Now this new special restored edition presents the original manuscript as the author prepared it to be published.

Featuring a personal foreword by Patrick Hemingway, Ernest's sole surviving son, and an introduction by the editor and grandson of the author, Sean Hemingway, this new edition also includes a number of unfinished, never-before-published Paris sketches revealing experiences that Hemingway had with his son Jack and…


You might also like...

Terra Blanca - Insurrection: Gaia Prequel

By Zoe Routh,

Book cover of Terra Blanca - Insurrection: Gaia Prequel

Zoe Routh Author Of The Olympus Project

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Leadership futurist Adventurist Former bellydancer Historical and speculative fiction nut Marathoner

Zoe's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A test of leadership, loyalty, and legacy. Rylie Addison faces the greatest leadership challenge of her life. As climate change ravages the world, leaving millions displaced, Rylie is handpicked by the enigmatic Maja Garcia of Gaia Enterprises to govern Terra Blanca, an unprecedented man-made island community for climate refugees.

As the stakes rise and the fragile foundations of Terra Blanca begin to crumble, Rylie is forced to confront her own beliefs and faces a leadership decision that could change the course of history. Can she find the strength to make the right choice, or will her actions lead to the downfall of the very people she has vowed to protect?

Terra Blanca - Insurrection: Gaia Prequel

By Zoe Routh,

What is this book about?

Rylie Addison faces the greatest leadership challenge of her life. As climate change ravages the world, leaving millions displaced, Rylie is handpicked by the enigmatic Maja Garcia of Gaia Enterprises to govern Terra Blanca, an unprecedented man-made island community for climate refugees.


Thrust into a new world of power and responsibility, Rylie must navigate the treacherous waters of team dynamics and power struggles as she fights to make Terra Blanca a beacon of hope amidst the chaos. But her mission takes a sinister turn when a secret agent infiltrates the community, hell-bent on testing the innovative governance and social structures…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in France, technology, and circumnavigation?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about France, technology, and circumnavigation.

France Explore 860 books about France
Technology Explore 113 books about technology
Circumnavigation Explore 20 books about circumnavigation