Three Books For The Truly Fearless Frequent Flier

Play associated audio

I spend a lot of time at 35,000 feet, and while I am not by any stretch a white-knuckle flier, I am the sort who counts the number of seats between me and an exit row before we take off. As the old joke goes, I'm not afraid of flying; it's crashing I fear. And yet, I have a fascination with airborne fender-benders. It's that part of us that's drawn to disaster movies and stories of serial killers. Why do we love the Titanic? Because it sinks.

Just this summer, I was on a jet when lightning flashed (the flight attendant near me shrieked when the windows on the left side of the cabin went white). Here are three books I actually read while five miles off the ground that featured the worst that can happen in the sky. Even though they forced me to face my fears, I loved every moment I spent with them.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


A Star-Crossed 'Scientific Fact': The Story Of Vulcan, Planet That Never Was

For decades, astronomers believed there was another planet in our solar system, tucked just out of sight. Then Albert Einstein figured out it wasn't there. Author Thomas Levenson explains.

Internet Food Culture Gives Rise To New 'Eatymology'

Internet food culture has brought us new words for nearly every gastronomical condition. The author of "Eatymology," parodist Josh Friedland, discusses "brogurt" with NPR's Rachel Martin.

2 Degrees In Paris: The Global Warming Set To Dominate Climate Conversation

As world leaders gather in Paris to talk about climate change, one phrase that will dominate conversations is "two degrees." Global leaders will discuss how to prevent global temperatures from warming by more than two degrees since the industrial revolution.

Payoffs For Prediction: Could Markets Help Identify Terrorism Risk?

In a terror prediction market, people would bet real money on the likelihood of attacks. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Stephen Carter about whether such a market could predict — and deter — attacks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.