There are two types of people during quarantine: those who binge-watch their favorite series and do the minimum of work possible to be deemed productive at work, and those who read.
Even if you fall into the former group, there couldn’t be a more fitting time to dig up a few of those novellas stacked high on your bookshelf that you never got along to reading.
If you’re struggling with decision fatigue from the countless array of books (all sporting rave reviews), we get it. We’ve put together a list of five essential reads that will make your quarantine far more rewarding, and entertaining.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This 2017 Celeste Ng New York Times-bestseller is on everyone’s minds right now as it is also a star-studded Hulu series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.
Though the television program is great, the book is even better. You can definitely read Little Fires Everywhere in a quarantine weekend and then binge-watch it the following weekend.
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Wanna know how people in 1348 dealt with living during the plague? Well since they didn’t have Netflix, Twitter or phones they had to tell stories to pass the time while in quarantine in Florence. Can you imagine?
The New Yorker’s Joan Acocella wrote in 2013 of the book that centres on seven noblewomen and three men, “Ten tales times ten days: at the end, they will have a hundred stories. That collection, with various introductions and commentaries, is The Decameron.”
Even if you don’t like it, it may give you the inspiration to start writing every day.
Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener
Remember Silicon Valley? Maybe you even work there or even if you don’t, you will eat up Uncanny Valley, Anna Wiener’s memoir of life as a tech-industry employee in Silicon Valley circa 2013.
Ismail Muhammed of The Atlantic writes, “Uncanny Valley is a different sort of Silicon Valley narrative, a literary-minded outsider’s insider account of an insulated world that isn’t as insular or distinctive as it and we assume. Wiener is our guide to a realm whose denizens have been as in thrall to a dizzying sense of momentum as consumers have been. Not unlike the rest of us, she learned, they have been distracted and self-deluded in embracing an ethos of efficiency, hyper-productivity, and seamless connectivity at any cost. Arrogant software developers, giddy investors, and exorbitantly paid employees — all have been chasing dreams of growth, profits, and personal wealth, without pausing to second-guess the feeling of being ‘on the glimmering edge of a brand-new world’.”
Barrel Fever by David Sedaris
Need a good laugh? Then pick up Barrel Fever, a 1994 David Sedaris classic.
Sedaris’s ability to make us laugh even when he is remarking on some great tragedies is just what we need during this tense time.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
Are you struggling with the nothingness of sheltering at home and being isolated? Well, yes, you are human. But imagine if you volunteered to do this.
This is what Ottessa Moshfegh explores in My Year of Rest and Relaxation about an unnamed 20-something woman in New York (the city that never slept until March 2020).
After life gets her down, she decides to chemically induce her own hibernation. On the plus side, she thinks this self-imposed Sleeping Beauty strategy will help her wake up refreshed and rejuvenated. Something to look forward to for all of us.
This article was written by Meredith Lepore and originally published on The Ladders.