Before social media, before Netflix, the best way to stay entertained was by reading a good book – a practice that has withstood the test of time

Book recommendations: Why it’s the best time to pick up a good book

You must have known at least one person back in school or college who always had a book in their hand and who seemed quite happy to be left alone. Maybe it was you! If you’ve never been a bookworm, that’s okay too – the coronavirus lockdown is a great time to discover the joy of reading. 

Books are a great way to detach yourself from your surroundings for a bit and be completely immersed in an exciting world with characters and stories that leave you with something valuable at the end – a great experience, a range of emotions, knowledge, or just pure joy. 

We have curated a list of brilliant books from different genres so that you can spend your time in quarantine without feeling bored for even a minute!

Books to read to feel light and happy 

If you’re finding yourself stressed and anxious with unending coronavirus news and want something light that will make your heart feel better, a romance novel is the way to go.

  • Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer 

An epistolary book, Love Virtually is written fully in the form of letters exchanged between Emmi and Leo, who chance upon each other online. A virtual romance that begins with friendship, sharing secrets, and authentic conversations that leave you wondering if their feelings will survive a real-life encounter. The book is funny, fast-paced, and dreamy. 

  • The Bride Test by Helen Hoang 

A romantic story with diverse characters, The Bride Test follows Esme Tran from Vietnam all the way to the US to woo a potential husband and seek a better life for herself and her daughter. Khai Diep has everyone around him believe that he has no feelings at all. He thinks he’s broken, but his family knows that he just processes his feelings differently because he’s autistic. Will Esme be able to get Khai to open up to her? Will she have to return to the slums of Vietnam or will she be able to build a better life for herself? You’ll just have to read the book to find out!

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The name of this book may sound a little weird, but it is totally worth reading. Another epistolary novel, it is written in the form of letters exchanged between Juliet Ashton, an author, and multiple residents of the British Guernsey islands who share stories from their lives under German occupation during World War II. The characters bond over books, and the little literary society they form during trying times serves as a much-needed solace to them. 

Related: 8 Must-read books for female entrepreneurs

Books to read if you want to up your knowledge game

Non-fiction books go beyond self-help; they are a treasure trove of knowledge. Experts in any field – be it business, science, or art – carefully narrow down and curate their years of experience and wisdom, giving you all the key highlights.

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert 

Are you a creative person – say, a writer, painter, or singer – but for some reason find it hard to indulge in your creative pursuits as much as you’d like? Or are you someone who’s never quite had a creative streak? Either way, Big Magic is a book you should pick up during the coronavirus lockdown because Gilbert discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we must have to live our most creative lives. She believes that human beings are inherently creative; it’s just that many of us forget to embrace this side. This book will help clear creative blocks and fears and help you deep-dive into doing what you love. 

  • Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Do you find yourself busy all the time but not productive? At work, do you feel simultaneously overworked and underutilised? Do you ever feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people and their needs? If you find yourself nodding to these questions, Essentialism is a book you simply must read. It’s like the mental version of minimalism. This book will help you eliminate everything that’s not essential so that you can focus your time and efforts on things that really matter. 

  • Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

You may hear the term ‘behavioural economics’ and feel intimidated but what this book is really about is breaking your decisions as a consumer and as an individual. It’s about why we make astonishingly simple mistakes every day – whether it’s procrastinating, failing to understand our emotions, overvaluing what we have, or overpaying for something. Ariely explains the systematic and predictable patterns that make us ‘predictably irrational’. He also discusses how to break these patterns and make better decisions – from losing weight to choosing a romantic partner, and more. 

Related: Are you a book smart or street smart when it comes to money matters

Books to read if you want to step into another world 

Thrillers, fantasy, and dystopian books are a great read at a time like this because they have a way of transporting you to a completely different world and keeping you entertained every minute of the journey.

  • We Were Liars by E Lockhart

This book is a beautiful and well-crafted journey of thrill and suspicion. It involves a summer getaway on a private island, four teenagers, family secrets, and lies upon lies. We Were Liars will leave you so shocked that you’ll want to go back and read the whole thing again. The brilliance of this book has been compared to Gone Girl but in a Young Adult setting. Nonetheless, it will keep you on the edge of your seat. 

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

It’s year 2044 and the world is dystopian. People spend more time in OASIS, a virtual utopia, than they do in the real world. The digital world of OASIS has a puzzle that everyone is obsessed with solving because whoever manages to do so is promised a massive fortune. Wade, an 18-year old boy, finds the first clue and other players are willing to kill to grab the prize. It’s the perfect book to read if you want to go down memory lane to a time when video games ruled your life. 

  • The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa

This book is set on an unnamed island where things disappear routinely, both physically and in people’s minds. People who remember these things are in danger. This book follows a young writer who learns that her editor is one of those people who can remember. She decides to protect him by hiding him in a secret room in her home. The Memory Police is about the power of memory and the trauma of loss.

Related: 6 Books for women to learn the art of investing

Where to read?

E-books and audiobooks are the way to go right now. They are easily accessible online, so you can get them even during the coronavirus lockdown. Here’s where to look:

  • Online retailers – There are a range of online websites where you can buy e-books. Once you make the payment, the e-book will be sent to you via email so you can download and read it on your phone, laptop, or tablet. 
  • Subscription apps – There’s a variety of e-book and audiobook apps for both Android and iOS. A monthly subscription fee may be required for full access to all their content. 
  • Free online libraries – There are a lot of online resources that don’t require you to pay anything. A lot of these are college library resources available to everyone, such as The Online Books Page from the University of Pennsylvania, Project Gutenberg, etc. 

If our recommendations excited you, share the list with your friends and maybe have a group discussion. It’s fun to be able to share your literary thoughts. You can also go to Goodreads and track the books you’re reading and, as a challenge, set the number of books you want to read this year. Whether it’s 5 books or 50 – it doesn't matter! It’s all about utilising your time during the lockdown in a positive and productive way. If you love reading, check this piece to know how you can maintain your passion for reading without going broke. 


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