Photo illustration by James Wilde with photos via PixaBay

14 Books to Read While Self-Isolating

There's never been a better time to start reading books
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There’s never been a better time to start reading books

You’re stuck inside. You’ve already watched all the best shows on Netflix. You’ve already done your homework. Instead of wasting away the hours on social media, do something good for yourself and your mental state. Read a book.

Maybe you’ve never read a book for fun, but don’t let that discourage you. Reading is for everyone. You don’t have to be an intellectual to enjoy books.

Listed below are a few my favorite books—hopefully you can find something to check out.

If: you want to read a dystopian satire set in a world eerily similar to our current pandemic-stricken one,

Then read: Severance, by Ling Ma

If: you want a thrilling, can’t-put-it-down time travel science fiction novel paced like an action movie,

Then read: Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch

If: you want to read a smartly plotted story of the very real lives of modern, urban Native Americans in Oakland,

Then read: There There, by Tommy Orange

If: you want a masterwork of combining science fiction and fantasy and also race relations in the first of a trilogy,

Then read: The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin

If: you want the best damn story of friendship chronicling two women in Italy from the 1950s onward,

Then read: My Brilliant Friend (and the next three books in the series), by Elena Ferrante

If: you just want some relaxing, in-touch poems about nature,

Then read: New and Selected Poems, Volume One, by Mary Oliver

If: you want to experience Nobel Prize-winning literature mixed with a little science fiction fun,

Then read: Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

If: you like history and want to reframe your perspective of society without feeling like you’re read a history book,

Then read: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari

If: you want to discover what it’s like to grow up without ever going to school and somehow ending up at Cambridge,

Then read: Educated, by Tara Westover

If: you want to read a saga about a Korean family living through multiple generations, spanning topics of love, family and history,

Then read: Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee

If: you want to get lost in the long, engrossing story of one kid’s slip into darker and darker rungs of society,

Then read: The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

If: you want some truly strange and original dystopian fiction with a giant floating bear,

Then read: Borne, by Jeff VanderMeer

If: you just want to read the words of a fearless, always-interesting filmmaker,

Then read: Werner Herzog – A Guide for the Perplexed: Conversations with Paul Cronin

If: you want to get existential and ponder how you experience life,

Then read: Why Time Flies, by Alan Burdick

Where should you buy a book if you want to pick one up?

I always recommend supporting your local, independent bookstores, especially right now. Each book above is linked to Powell’s bookstore—probably the most famous independent bookstore, located in Portland, Oregon.

If you’re in Arcata, you can order books online from Northtown Books and pick it up on the curb as of March 25. You can also order a book from Tin Can Mailman, which is shipping orders of $10 or more for free to anywhere in Humboldt, and orders of $40 or more for free outside Humboldt.

Eureka Books and Booklegger in Eureka can also ship books to you.

If you’re outside Humboldt, look up your local bookstore and see how to grab a book. More than ever, they could use your support.

If you’d rather not have anyone handle your books, your alternative is to try the e-book versions. Happy reading!

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