Books can be informative, funny, suspenseful or thought-provoking. Reading books can take us to a whole new world through its powerful storytelling components, but it can also help time pass by quickly. This October for National Book Month, if you are traveling abroad and need something to entertain the long flight, consider reading these five books to increase your knowledge of worldwide travel.

  1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho This book narrates a young shepherd boy’s journey from Spain to Egypt to follow his dreams. He learns how to love and appreciate the meaning of life. Although this book is easy to read, symbolism and underlying meaning is revealed as you read over time. It’s a good one to have on your shelf if you’re a dreamer, searching for your purpose in the world.
  2. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner Writer and NPR correspondent, Eric Weiner, takes a yearlong journey to find the world’s happiest places as he travels to Iceland, Qatar, Denmark, India, and Moldova. His account includes his interactions with locals and the multitude of cultural experiences he encounters in his travels around the world in 2008. This is an excellent book to read if you’re also on your search for happiness.
  3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan Released in 2013, this novel became an instant best seller, followed by sequel China Rich Girlfriend in 2015 and Rich People Problems in 2017. It tells the  story of three upper class pedigreed Chinese families and their reactions when the heir brings home his American-born Chinese girlfriend for the wedding. With humorous tone, this book is an ideal fast-paced, lighthearted read.
  4. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer With a slightly more serious tone, consider this nonfiction book offering a personal account of the Mt. Everest Disaster. Descriptive imagery and detail will take your breath away as you read Jon Krakauer’s experience of surviving a terrifying natural disaster, published in 1997.
  5. Cruising Altitude by Heather Poole Ever wondered what life would be like for a flight attendant? Cruising Attitude narrates work life at 35,000 feet above the ground. A quick, light read and the book shares insightful flight crew terms, training, pilot interactions, and the day-to-day life that takes place up in the air.

Engage your mind on long haul flights. Spice up your travel with any one of these five insightful books to enhance your travel and cultural knowledge worldwide.

Sharon Schweitzer and Sunny Kim co-wrote this post. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is an award-winning entrepreneur, cross-cultural trainer, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, and Fortune. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, (3rd printing), was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.

Sunny Kim is a Fall 2017 Cross-Cultural Communication intern with Access to Culture. She is currently a junior journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin with a minor in Korean language and certificate in business. She is also the founder and president of UT Asian American Journalists Association. Her main focus is storytelling people’s diverse experiences relating to race and culture. Connect with her on Linkedin

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