“Chris Picks” Books for March: Airplanes

[Here are this month’s great recommendations from staff member Christopher Jennings Penders. Click on a title to place a hold. You can find previous Chris Picks through the “What to read” link at the bottom of this page or type “Chris Picks” into the search bar on our homepage.]

Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper
By Geoffrey Gray
I love this story! During Thanksgiving week 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper boarded a plane in Portland, Washington bound for Seattle. When in the air, Cooper opened the briefcase he had carried on and showed a flight attendant a bomb he said he had made. He demanded $200,000 in cash and four parachutes. Flight 305 landed in Seattle. Cooper released all the passengers, and the plane took off again. This time it was carrying Cooper, a flight attendant, and three pilots. Cooper demanded to be flown to Mexico. Sometime during the flight, he jumped out of the plane using the plane’s aft stairs. No one ever heard from him again.

Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle
By Marc Gonsalves
In February 2003 three American contractors, Marc Gonsalves, Tom Howes, and Keith Stansell were travelling to South America when their plane went down. They survived the plane crash only to be captured and held hostage for over five years by FARCAt just under 500 pages, this book held me in its spell from the first page. Out of Captivity is more than a story of these three people. What initially drew me to their story was the tale of their rescue.

A team of rescuers had infiltrated FARC and had spoken with FARC members who were holding 15 hostages including Marc, Tom, and Keith. The rescuers had made plans with FARC to meet and take the hostages to another location. Even the hostages were unaware of the plan, and it wasn’t until everyone was in the air aboard helicopters that the infiltration team took off their masks and revealed that the hostages were now free and were being taken to a secure location.

Into the Abyss: An Extraordinary True Story
By Carol Shaben
In October 1984 a commuter plane crashed in Alberta, British Columbia, killing six people. Four survived. This is the story of how the four survived and the bonds they made during that time.

When I Fell From the Sky: The True Story of One Woman’s Miraculous Survival
By Juliane Koepcke
Juliane Koepcke’s parents were scientists in the South American jungle. Juliane grew up with an exceptional knowledge of the forest, and this served her well when she was just seventeen. While traveling by plane with her mother back home to South America, the plane flew into a massive thunderstorm and everyone on board died. Juliane was the only survivor, but how she survived is the story. She fell two miles while still strapped into her plane seat and crashed into the leafy canopy of the very forest she grew up in.

Lost Horizon
By James Hilton
Along with The Scarlet Letter, Lost Horizon ranks high on my all-time classics list, in the top five.
Escaping the war in China, passengers on a plane are taken to a valley in the Himalayas where time seems to have stopped. I remember reading Lost Horizon for the first time in 1978 while in eighth grade. As with The Scarlet Letter, I have read the book a few more times since then, and I like it more each time I finish.

Share this