‘Tis the season…for some good reading material.

On a plane, one has few choices as to how to the pass the time. I have a difficult time sleeping on planes for long periods (which is why international flights are the worst), so when I’m not clacking away on my laptop, it’s magazines and books.

I have a pretty standard rotation: I always pick up that month’s Harper’s Bazaar at the airport. But beforehand, I pop by my local bookstore to get the latest edition of Bitch magazine–feminist analysis of pop culture in fun-size bites! In addition to my magazines, I always bring a book or two.

I’ve been on a plane a lot lately. And I’ve gotten a lot of reading done. And since I’ve been reading some pretty good stuff, I thought I’d share it with you.

  • Children of Dust by Ali Eteraz. Following Ali Eteraz as he chases his ideals and ricochets off the shattered results is a fascinating ride. He has been on journeys most of us will never come close to undertaking, but many of his experiences have behind them the same hopes, rebellions, and hunger for belonging that the rest of us struggle with. His memoir is a bright look into resilience and renewal: Eteraz reminds us that no matter how disappointed we are with today, tomorrow will always bring something new. It’s a pretty amazing book: you’ll devour it on the plane, and then you’ll put on your Snuggie and turn on your reading light to read it again when you get home. Eteraz talked about the book on NPR’s Fresh Air–give it a listen.
  • Push by Sapphire. After Precious screened at Sundance and the entire feminist and anti-racist blogosphere started talking about it (including my lady Latoya Peterson, who has some great articles about it at Jezebel.), I was dying to read this. I’ll be honest: I picked up this version at the Minnesota St. Paul airport, which has a nice discussion guide in the back. You can bet I’ll be seeing the movie when I get a chance.
  • Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. There is a reason that this book was on The New York Times best seller list for so long last summer. There is a reason why all of my Muslim colleagues have been raving about the book and Eggers. Everyone has been talking about this book because it is a sad story wrapped up in a beautiful one, and because the Zeitouns (on whom the book is based) are amazing people, and because Eggers tells their story incredibly. On top of all this, Eggers has done wonderful work with the Muslim community through this book, and all of the author proceeds from it go the Zeitoun Foundation, which aids in the rebuilding of New Orleans.

If your gift list has a reader on it, I suggest you pick up some of these books!