Flying the Unfriendly Skies

I couldn't be more excited to see some of the cool aerial and water stunts at this year's Chicago Air and Water Show on August 15 and 16. To prepare for the show, check out these great flying and sailing books.

After spending his life around diesel-powered Clanker machines, Austrian Prince Alek is suspicious of the genetically engineered animals the Darwinist British Air Force uses, but they're his only hope at stopping a war to end all wars. Scott Westerfeld’s World War I novel, Leviathan, is a must read for fans of steampunk, alternate histories, or anyone who loves the idea of a flying whale airship, bats that poop metal spikes and kraken submarines.

Fans of dystopian fiction will love Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. Stuck in desolate poverty and dangerous work, Nailer is sure the strange girl he rescues from a clipper ship wreck can help him change his life, if her secrets and his violent father don't kill them first.

Looking for something a little more realistic? These World War II books are fantastic examples of how important pilots were to the war effort. African-American Ida Mae has to keep her cover at the Women's Airforce Service Pilots program after making the choice to give up her family and pass as a white girl in Flygirl by Sherri Smith. Both Code Name Verity and the companion book Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein tell the amazing history of civilian pilots flying in Europe and the stories of their desperate attempts to survive after being captured by the Nazis.