5 Cabin Attendants’ 5 Reading Tips

KLM cabin attendants are creative people, which comes in handy when you have to take care of passengers’ needs 10 km in the air. A lot of my colleagues write about their experiences. Some have even published books. Five of them would like to share their tips for a good read, whether you’re on a flight to the Frankfurt book fair or relaxing at home, preferring to watch the world go by from the comfort of your armchair.  

Wilbert van Haneghem – author of “Schipbreuk in het paradijs” (Shipwreck in Paradise):

About Jelle Brandt Corstius’ “Universele Reisgids voor Moeilijke Landen” (Universal travel guide to difficult countries):

“There is much in this book that is very familiar to me, as a frequent traveller. The author describes situations you hope never to find yourself in and countries you would rather not visit. Brandt Corstius surprises you with useful historical and humorous tips, which unexpectedly come into their own at destinations where nothing, normally, ever goes wrong. Or does it?”

About Paul Theroux’s “Deep South”:

“Theroux is, of course, the patriarch of modern travel literature and has been for 50 years. His passion for travel and writing is unparalleled. It is his in-depth descriptions, intimate portraits and incredible encounters that make his books so tremendous. In ‘Deep South’ he journeys through the southern states of the USA. As you read, you feel a strong sense of familiarity that comes from all the old movies and contemporary news reports we have seen. At the same time, the book proffers a far deeper understanding of facts we presume to know.”

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Linda van den Driessche – author of “Kracht voor tien” (The strength of ten)

About  “The Hidden Force” by Louis Couperus:

“This book is a Dutch nineteenth-century classic. I read it first as a teenager at school and was immediately hooked! On Couperus – whose entire oeuvre I have now read – and on Asia, where this story is set. The atmosphere in the book appealed to me enormously, even though strange things happen in it. ‘The Hidden Force’ is an highly mysterious tale, interwoven with elements of fantasy. What I find most beautiful is the way Couperus develops and renders his characters. To my mind he is still the Netherlands’ greatest author of psychological novels.”

About “How to Sit” by Thich Nhat Hanh

“Mindfulness opened up a new world for me. The Vietnamese Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, has written a number of books on the subject, which are great to take on your travels. To simply sit down and enjoy the moment is so important! When you’re travelling it’s easy to become wrapped up in taking pictures, checking reviews, arranging stuff, and consuming. This author writes enthusiastically about spirituality, but the tone of his books is down-to-earth, rather than head-in-the-clouds. I really appreciate this. He writes: ‘Instead of describing sitting as an exercise in concentration, profound looking and the gaining of insight, I prefer to describe it as enjoying doing nothing’.”

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Karin Belt – author of the “Midlife Cub”

About “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed:

“Following her mother’s death and divorce from her husband, the author decides to go on a long walk. Inexperienced, untrained and laden with a heavy rucksack, she sets off through California along the Pacific Crest Trail. She invites the reader to join her on the 1700 km hike; to grieve with her, to battle with her against the loneliness and, despite everything, to enjoy the experience. She leads you through stunning descriptions of mountains, forests and deserts. This book is more than an account of a trek; it is a metaphor for life.”

About “The Expat” by Patricia Snel:

“This story is set in the strictly regulated society of Singapore. The leading character is an expat woman who aspires to a life of luxury. But she soon discovers that she lives in a golden cage. It’s interesting to note that the author lived in Singapore for many and is able to tell us a lot about life in this metropolis.”

Melissa Franck – author of  “Vluchtzinnig” (Flighty)

About “Wereldmeiden” (World Girls) by Susan Smit,  Yvonne Kronenberg at al:

“The charity Because I am a Girl! works for girls’ rights and gender equality in developing countries. Eight well-known Dutch authors were commissioned by the charity to write a story about girls in the countries where Because I am a Girl! is active. The girls in the stories are denied rights, are exploited and abused, just because they are girls. The collection of stories was published in 2010, but the stories, unfortunately, are still relevant today. The charity asks readers to pass on the book to someone else, once they have read it, so that, ‘the voices of these girls can be heard by more people’.”

About “Are you Experienced?” by William Scutliffe:

“Like so many young people, Dave goes backpacking between leaving school and starting university. But, it doesn’t turn out to be quite what he expected. He is shocked by the heat and poverty in India and profoundly irritated by his fellow travellers. ‘Are you Experienced?’ pokes fun at the perennial backpacker and is so hilariously written that you find yourself laughing out loud. So loud, in fact, that I suggest you do not read this book in public.”

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Geeri Bakker – author of “Glamour en Glory van een stewardess@work”

About “Couscous op zondag” (Couscous on Sunday) by Khadija Arib:

“When I was a child, before we went to church on Sundays, we ate white bread with chocolate sprinkles, and thus a family tradition was established. Arib introduces the reader to her family and gives them a glimpse of its history. The author’s search for answers and understanding in this story, bring Morocco and its customs and traditions more to life than any travel guide could. I was enormously touched by her emotion, her humour, and her perseverance. Perhaps you will be too?”

About “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day” by Matt Kepnes:

“After travelling the world for more than ten years, Kepnes convincingly demonstrates that anyone can travel. Innumerable tips and tricks on how to explore this amazing earth on USD 50/day, including travel costs, activities, food, drink, and insurance. Dreams become reality and you might even find you have a bit of cash left at the end for the next trip – if you follow his advice carefully.”

Have you been inspired to read one of these books? I hope so. What would be your tip for a good read in a plane?