Book Review: ‘Airplane Mode’ by Shahnaz Habib

Journey Beyond Borders: Exploring the World Through Travel

Book Title: Airplane Mode: A Passive-Aggressive History of Travel
Author: Shahnaz Habib
Publisher: Context
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 978-9360450366
Date Published: Mar. 11, 2024
Price: INR 499

Airplane Mode by Shahnaz Habib Book Cover

Book Review

Airplane Mode: A Passive-Aggressive History of Travel” by Shahnaz Habib is a thought-provoking investigation of the intricacies of travel and tourism, as seen through the eyes of a South Indian writer and translator. With a great eye for detail and a politically aware viewpoint, Habib navigates travel’s history and culture, mixing personal experiences with bigger societal insights.

In this nine-chapter book, Habib investigates the privilege inherent in travel, contrasting her personal experiences as a traveler and immigrant with social expectations. She explores the connections between race, identity, and privilege in the world of travel, from encountering preconceptions to managing bureaucratic impediments. She questions conventional wisdom and provides new perspectives on the dynamics of modern travel through funny observations and compelling anecdotes.

Habib’s work is distinguished by its combination of academic research and personal introspection. She flawlessly blends historical insight with emotive experiences, encouraging readers to reassess their views on travel and its ramifications. Whether deconstructing guidebooks or criticizing travel authors, she tackles her themes with a critical yet empathic eye, pushing readers to question their beliefs about the world around them.

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This book exceeds the readers’ expectations and is completely enthralling in its fascinating investigation of travel history, reinforced by the author’s tales that had me turning the pages. Shahnaz Habib’s unique perspective, which spans America and India, is a deep commentary on the perspectives of the First World vs. the Third World, delivering acute views on racism, colonization, misogyny, climate change, and a slew of other urgent topics. It’s amazing how flawlessly she utilizes the notion of ‘travel’ as a lens to probe into such significant societal issues, resulting in an extremely fascinating and thought-provoking book.

Airplane Mode: A Passive-Aggressive History of Travel” is more than just a travel critique; it is a contemplation of the human condition and how travel influences our perception of ourselves and the world. With humor, intellect, and honesty, Shahnaz Habib welcomes readers on a voyage of self-discovery and introspection, pushing us to reconsider our relationship with travel in an increasingly linked world. Highly recommended due to its readability and depth!

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