10 books you can complete on a plane ride

10 Short Books for Plane Rides

Now that the world is kind of sort of opening up again you may be considering travel. I’m still not sure it’s the best idea but if you are going to see your family or have your first vacation in 2 years here are 10 short books for plane rides.

Each of these books is under 200 pages long and should keep you occupied during any boring plane or train ride. There is a little something of every genre here (not including graphic novels and comic books because that seems like cheating for this list) so find your next quick read!

Arranged by length, shortest to longest.

in order to keep me up to my ears in books please consider using the following amazon affiliate links to purchase these products. it’s at no extra cost to you and would really help me out, thank you and happy reading!

Sleep Donation book cover

Sleep Donation

Author Karen Russell

Page count: 110, genre: science fiction

An epidemic of insomnia has occurred. Luckily, science has found a way for healthy sleepers to donate sleep to those who need it most. Of course, capitalism complicates this by making sleep a commodity more than a right.

As a long standing sufferer of severe insomnia I found this book incredibly interesting. I would love to be able to buy sleep like I would anything else but it’s also probably best that a corporation doesn’t hold that kind of power yet.

Novellas are the perfect short books for plane rides, a complete story in just a couple of hours!

Night, book cover
get out of here oprah


Author Elie Wiesel

Page count: 115, genre: historical account

Seriously? You haven’t read Night yet? It’s a powerful first hand account of being a Jew during the Holocaust. Yes, it is not the easiest read but it’s extraordinarily powerful and important. If you haven’t read it yet, drop everything and pick this one up.

This short book for plane rides might make you a bit emotional, pack some tissues and don”t mind the person sitting next to you.

help! a bear is eating me! book cover

Help! A Bear is Eating Me!

Author Mykle Hansen

Page count: 132, genre: humor

This is one of those weird ones that I don’t remember how I found it but then told everyone about it because it’s so unique. Also an ex friend stole my copy and I’ll die mad about it.

It’s the story of a corporate jackass who is trapped under his car while a bear is slowly eating him while he waits for rescue. High on pain killers he recounts the ways in which this is everyone’s fault but his own. He’s just the worst and this book is pure hilarious schadenfreude.

The cover of this short book is sure to get you a little attention but it will also be a fun conversation starter.

Santa at a urinal, book cover design

SantaLand Diaries

Author David Sedaris

Page count: 138, genre: memoir, short stories

Okay, maybe you’re not a spring break person. Maybe you miss winter and Christmas.

This David Sedaris short collection is all about his experience as a Macy’s elf as well as a few short stories of holiday fiction to give you plenty of laughs and feels.

This addition to the list of short books for plane rides doesn’t have to be read during the holidays, it’s great any time of year.

crackpot, book cover

Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters

Author John Waters

Page count: 144, genre: memoir, essays

Anyone who knows me well knows I absolutely adore John Waters. I recommend all of his books even to people who aren’t fans of his movies. His genius is palpable.

Crackpot is a collection of essays about his favorite things, including true crime books and Christmas parties. It’s extremely entertaining, relatable, and funny.

This is another short book of mine that was stolen by an ex friend. This is why they’re all exes!

sexing the cherry book cover

Sexing The Cherry

Author Jeanette Winterson

Page count: 167, genre: adult fiction/fantasy

I adore Jeanette Winterson and her ability to manipulate language in the most breathtaking ways. The first time I read Sexing the Cherry I finished it in one sitting because there are no stopping spots. The language flows like a rushing stream that takes you under and barely lets you up for air but drowning in her prose feels light and pleasant, never suffocating.

It’s one of the very few books I’ve read multiple times and my copy filled with underlines and notes is one of my favorite things on my shelves.

Seems that the covers and titles of these short books for plane rides might all be too attention grabbing.

fugitives and refugees book cover

Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon

Author Chuck Palahniuk

Page count: 176, genre: nonfiction

Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club and Choke, takes you on a journey through one of the strangest cities on Earth. He brings you to unusual stores, museums, and festivals that will all either make you want to hop on a plane immediately or steer clear indefinitely.

Think of this like Portlandia’s dirty cousin. Read this short book on your way to visit Portland!

flight, book cover


Author Sherman Alexie

Page count: 181, genre: young adult

I actually did read Flight in its entirety on a flight from Seattle to Denver. Great way to spend those few hours.

Sherman Alexie is the name in Native American fiction. Flight is a wonderful piece of work that follows a young Indian orphan through a journey across history. It will make you laugh, it will make you think, it might make you cry.

bridge to terabithia book cover

Bridge to Terabithia

Author Katherine Paterson

Page count: 190, genre: children’s classics

Another classic that you certainly must have read by now. It’s the story of childhood imagination and friendship and has that infamous ending that will have you audibly crying next to strangers in public.

Sorry, I guess there are two highly emotional books on this list of short books for plane rides.

Annihilation book cover


Author Jeff Vandermeer

Page count: 195, genre: sci fi horror

The first (and best) book in the Southern Reach trilogy holds the honor of one of the few books that has ever truly scared me. I felt real dread and fear while reading this one. The tension and mystery that is created on these pages had it glued to my hands. Your flight will fly by (heh heh) while you’re completely engrossed in this cross between science fiction and supernatural horror.

Comment below with what you’re reading and where you’re going! Also please share this list with your traveling friends.

I love comic books, nonfiction, and everything in between! Come discuss your favorites!

4 thoughts on “10 Short Books for Plane Rides

  1. That’s a great list! Can I add Fever Dream (read in 1.5 hours on a flight) and Blue Salt Road (2 hours on a flight)?