“Reading is important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. Reading is love in action.” – Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet
Well… 2019 was sunshine and rainbows compared to this shit storm. Everyone is experiencing a wide range of emotions right now — I know I feel depressed, anxious, and unsure about the future. When I am feeling trapped in quarantine, I have found reading to be a great source of relief and a way to escape. It’s also a way to experience an emotional connection to something outside myself, since contact is not an option right now. Here is a list of some of my favorite books to check out to break up the Netflix monotony. Click the links to go to the Goodreads.com homepage for their complete synopsis!
I recently purchased sea monkeys so I could grow my own friends to talk to, and if it weren’t for Zoom, I would have lost my marbles days ago. As an extrovert, quarantine has been hard; I miss connecting with people. Books are an excellent way to form a connection with a character and understand their perspectives, good practice for when this is all over, and we can grow our relationships again in person and not just through a screen.
- This is How It Always Is – Laurie Frankel
- Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid
- Lager Queen of Minnesota – J. Ryan Stradal
- Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
We all know humans can be pretty stupid. If you think you need 500 rolls of toilet paper, at all, ever, you should probably be visiting a doctor, not Costco. We are also a resilient species that has experienced a lot of grief as well as growth. If you need a reminder that we are quick to bounce back after hard times, and could use a few realistic affirmations, check out the following:
- Parkland – Dave Cullen
- Escape from Sobibor – Richard Rashke
- How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World – Steven Johnson
- The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
When everything feels bleak, I find fluffy and fun contemporary romance novels to be soothing. Some might say this genre isn’t serious literature, and quite frankly, they can shove it. You aren’t reading to impress other people; hell, you can’t even be around people right now! If you could use a laugh and a little steam in your life, check out these four novels. They are entirely devoid of shirtless Fabio on the cover, I swear.
- The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang
- The Bromance Book Club – Lyssa Kay Adams
- The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary
- The Bookish Life of Nina Hill – Abbi Waxman
I had always steered clear of science fiction novels after watching the 1996 Tim Burton film “Mars Attacks” at age 5. (Seriously, Dad, what the hell were you thinking?). I have been pretty much convinced that we are going to be completely wiped off the planet due to our stupidity, but these books completely changed my mind about the genre. So long as everyone stays inside to flatten the curve, we might as well read fictional worst-case scenarios of post-apocalyptic societies and alternate realities.
- Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
- Dark Matter – Blake Crouch
- The Stand – Stephen King
- The Martian – Andy Weir
It’s essential now more than ever to practice empathy and compassion to those around you because we are all in such a mind-bender. This is not only necessary for the times we live in, but to progress as humans. All of these books helped to expand my worldview and compassion. While their stories can be grim at times, these authors show an undying amount of resilience in the face of adversity. If you’re looking to get motivated by some badass women (even if it is just to motivate you to put on pants), these are for you!
- Educated – Tara Westover
- Know My Name – Chanel Miller
- Becoming – Michelle Obama
- Just Kids – Patti Smith
Yeah, I wish we could go back in time to simpler days when we could go outside and live how we usually would, and I didn’t have a constant feeling of existential dread, but here we are. Luckily historical fiction exists, and we can read wistfully about the plight of generations before us and how characters dealt with their struggles in a different era.
- The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
- Mistress of the Ritz – Melanie Benjamin
- Finding Dorothy – Elizabeth Letts
Sure, merely getting on social media these days is horrifying in itself. But getting buried in a fictional thriller is an excellent way to remind you that things could be worse, and you could be out in the wilderness running from a rabid politician. Thrillers are a good way to keep your mind sharp through analytical skills by guessing the ending. Plus, yelling and gasping at plot twists is a fun way to annoy your significant other while you’re stuck in the same room.
- Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides
- The Whisper Man – Alex North
- Never Have I Ever – Joshilyn Jackson
- No Exit – Taylor Adams
We could all use a good laugh during these tough times. Plus, no one is around to judge you when you spit your Cheez-Its out from laughing, except for your animals and/or significant other, who have no choice but to live with you and your guffaws.
- Food: A Love Story – Jim Gaffigan
- Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson
- The Last Black Unicorn – Tiffany Haddish
- Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Bosh
Sure, shit has totally hit the fan, and we are all scared of where we are and what the future holds. But one of the best things you can do is unplug from the constant stream of bad news. Sometimes, all you can do is reach for a cozy, light read to relax. However, I also encourage you to push yourself out of your comfort zone. These days, it may mean just getting out of bed and putting on pants. But I encourage you to branch out of your usual genre, try one of my recommendations, and dive into another reality for a bit. Or just watch The Office for the twelfth time, whatever keeps you going my dudes.
A few other tips for reading your way through quarantine:
- Set aside a time to read during your day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Studies have shown that reading can significantly decrease stress, which we definitely could use right now.
- It’s okay to put a book down if you’re not enjoying it! As with life, you’re not going to enjoy everything you start, and that’s okay. There are too many great books to enjoy in this world to waste your time on something you don’t like.
- Utilize Libby for audiobooks and ebooks through the Denver Public Library. The books are free, and you don’t need to worry about violating the Stay at Home Order (or abandoning your snacks). Check out our previous article to find out how to use these apps!
- Please consider supporting our local bookstores during this time!
- Tattered Cover will ship any order over $10 for free if you order through tatteredcover.com.
- The Bookies has a great selection of adult and children’s books, as well as an amazing selection of puzzles, coloring books, and games. They are fulfilling online orders through their website and will ship all the boredom busters you need right to your door.
- Shoot the Printed Page Bookshop a DM on FaceBook for book suggestions and potential delivery (these guys are awesome and know their stuff!)
- Kilgore Used Books and Comics is offering delivery – give them a call with your wishlist, and they will do their best to hook you up!
Let us know what you’re reading while you’re safe at home! Have you put on pants in the past week? Have you eaten all your quarantine snacks? Are your pets confused yet excited that you won’t leave your house? Let us know how you’re doing in the comments, wash your hands, and take care of one another.