With everyone social distancing or self-quarantining to some degree (God bless if you are unable to), that means that we all have some time on our hands. There is absolutely no better time than the present to get cracking on your reading list. Whether you already have a stack of books to read or a bunch of unread ones on your Kindle, now is the perfect time to get reading. If you need some suggestions for what to read, check out these 12 books perfect for self-quarantine!
1. City Of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
From the author or Eat Pray Love comes a fictional novel about a love story in the 1940s. Told from the perspective of 89-year-old Vivian, the story is set in the backdrop of the theater scene of New York City. The book covers themes of sexuality, promiscuity and complicated love. Good Housekeeping has called it “A combination of lust, scandal and fun you won’t be able to put down!”
2. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
If you want to start a book you won’t be able to put down, this is the one. I got it for free with my Amazon points for my Kindle with no previous experience of the authors but now I am obsessed! From the writers of The Wife Between us comes a story of psychological deceit and jealousy. Jessica agrees to be a test subject to earn extra money but soon finds the doctor’s experiments aren’t what they seem. People Magazine says “Hendricks and Pekkanen are at the top of their game…you won’t see the final twist coming.”
3. Polite Society by Mahesh Roa
If you enjoyed the glitz, glamor and drama of Crazy Rich Asians, give Polite Society a try. A modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma, the story follows charming Ania who is too clever for her own good finding others love while she moves through high society. Set in the world of India’s vibrant elite, you’ll love this sharp book that pairs social comedy with moments of genuine kindness. Esquire reviewed the book saying “With biting wit, this send-up of high society deflates social strata while bringing tenderness and romance to its comedy of manners.”
4. The Mother Of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit
If you are more into shorter bites of reading, check out this collection of essays. Written by the author of Men Explain Things To Me comes another book filled with commentary on women who refuse to back down. Solnit mixes her unique sense of humor, analyses and insight into pieces that will make you think about what it means to be a woman. Library Journal states that the collection is “A thought-provoking and important anthology.”
5. Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau
If you enjoyed Boardwalk Empire or period pieces in general, this book gives you a little bit of Coney Island, socialites and scandal. In 1911 when Peggy reluctantly arrives to spend the summer by the sea, she soon finds that her life of privilege might not be all she thinks it is. Read it for murder, mystery, love and extravagance. Library Journal has said that the book “Gives readers an up-close and personal view of New York’s Gilded Age.”
6. What Belongs To You by Garth Greenwell
This debut novel will draw you in with the story of an American teacher that is longing for companionship found in a young hustler. Greenwell explores the way that our pasts, cultures and shames can shape who we become and how we love. The New York Times review stated that the book is “A rich, important debut, an instant classic to be savored by all lovers of serious fiction because of, not despite, it’s subject: a gay man’s endeavor to fathom his own heart.”
7. Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
If you haven’t seen the movie because you’ve been waiting to read the book, now is the time! Experienced author Maria Semple tells a story that is dark, sad and funny that will keep you interested. Bernadette vanishes leaving her daughter to pick up the pieces and figure out where her mother disappeared to. The New York Times describes it as “whip-smart and divinely funny.”
8. Final Girls by Riley Sager
From New York Times best selling author comes another thriller that will captivate and enthrall you. If you enjoy books like Gone Girl, you will enjoy this read. The book follows the story of lone survivors of massacres or attempted murder. When the killers come back for revenge, one survivor has to solve her crime to survive. Stephen King craved calling it a great thriller!
9. Weather by Jenny Offill
From the author of Dept. of Speculation comes a darkly funny novel about families and a nation in crisis. Lizzie takes a side job answering mail for a podcast where she hears panic from both sides of the aisle. While dealing with her failing family, Lizzie tries to save everyone using her experience working as a librarian. The Boston Globe states that the novel is “Tiny in size but immense in scope, radically disorienting yet reassuringly humane, strikingly eccentric and completely irresistible.”
10. Park Avenue Summer by Renée Rosen
It’s the year 1965 and the first female editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown, is planning on saving the dying publication by talking openly about all topics women discuss. While editors and writers quit, refusing to write about such scandalous topics, photographer Alice flights to help Helen bring the magazine back from the bring. PopSugar calls it “A delightful and empowering read.”
11. The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz
In this debut novel by Chanelle Benz, the main character Billie returns home to uncover secrets about her father’s life and death. Her return to the South and her childhood home leads to a mystery that once solved, can put her in danger. The book is open and honest about race, justice and memory. NPR says that it is “An excellent novel from an author who writes with real grace and a wisdom beyond her years.”
12. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Finally, if you are obsessed with A Handmaid’s Tale (both the book and show) get ready to be immersed in the world of Gilead once again. The novel is intended to be read as a companion or separate from the other book, taking place 15 years after the story ends. Told from the perspective of two women born into Gilead, their stories are intertwined with the voice of Aunt Lydia. Los Angeles Times says that “Margaret Atwood’s powers are on full display…Everyone should read The Testaments.”
Do you have any books you’re looking forward to reading in the next few weeks? Share them in the comments below!
Emily Bell is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a degree in Journalism with a Public Relations concentration. She currently lives with her husband and dog on the coast in Florida.