I’m that creepy girl at airports who looks over people’s shoulders to see what they’re reading. It’s a book nerd thing. Truly, though, what we read says a lot about who we are. For instance, if you’re reading a book about how to dispose of a dead body, I might switch seats.
There are other books that have a similar effect. Whether they make you horny, make you cry, or make you laugh (until you cry), here’s a roundup of books you shouldn’t read on an airplane. After all, if you make a scene, the flight attendant’s only option is to hand you a parachute.
1. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James
Guilty. I read this book on my honeymoon on the plane ride to Belize. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into because Fifty Shades was not yet omnipresent. I got about 30 pages in and began to realize my mistake, what with all the orgasms and bondage and… orgasms. You can only cross your legs so hard before they go numb, and those stupid air nozzles can’t cool you off when you’re dripping sweat.
2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Nobody likes when a woman cries in public. Nobody likes being that woman crying in public. Hazel and Augustus meet in a cancer support group and make an immediate connection. They improve each other’s lives. They (pardon the cliché) “complete each other.” That’s about as happy as things get. The sound of sobbing is disconcerting in a small space, and it’s a pain to go to the bathroom every five pages for another round of tissues.
3. Any book by Christopher Moore
Whether it’s A Dirty Job, Sacré Bleu or Lamb, Christopher Moore’s novels can cause serious injury due to overwhelming hysterics. I realized this in my own home with my husband trying to sleep next to me. He finally woke up and said, “You need to stop reading.” I was shaking the bed and not in the Fifty Shades way. If you’re stuck in your seat and can’t control your chortle, the person next to you might label you a lunatic and push the call button.
4. Exit to Eden by Anne Rice/Rampling
If you thought Fifty Shades of Grey was dirty, well… Lisa is a supreme mistress at The Club, a high-class island escape for doms and subs. Elliott shows up to be her slave, and phew, I’m out of breath just thinking about what they do to each other. This book will have you making inappropriate noises. You might entertain the guy across the aisle who thinks you’re hot, but everyone else on the plane will think you snuck a vibrator in your purse.
5. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Dogs. Dogs and illness. Dogs and death. I can’t deal. People say this book is heartwarming and “Oh, wasn’t that so sweet?” No, it’s not sweet. I was sobbing through chapter one. Chapter one! Enzo tells the story of his master and their life together and all they’ve learned from each other. This novel went way beyond tissues. I hugged my dogs until they whined at me, so reading this book miles away from your furry friend will have you banging your head against the double-paned window.
6. I Like You Just the Way I Am by Jenny Mollen
This essay collection is uncouth, filthy, cruel and hilarious. As a reader, you’ll have two responses. One: You’ll look around and make sure no one else is reading about the time Mollen’s dog pooped a condom in public. Two: You’ll then be unable to look around, because you’ll be laughing yourself to tears. Another book that makes you look like a madwoman, read this in the privacy of your own home or risk being escorted by airport security to the nuthouse.
7. Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov
Humbert Humbert is obsessed with young nymphet, Dolores Haze. I’m not talking, “Aw, ain’t she cute?” You know what I’m talking about. Although Nabokov is one of the best writers, like, ever and this book is a classic, you don’t want to get those kind of strange looks. People know what Lolita is about, OK? Don’t be the girl reading about pedophilia in public.
8. Why Planes Crash by David Soucie
Do I need to explain this one?