Quit Brooding, Start Reading: The 4 Books I Read & Loved in Quarantine
Earlier in April, just when the initial lockdown had begun, I decided I would take up my reading habit seriously once again. Social media has practically destroyed our combined attention span and with the format of the new 15-sec vine like clips, we should ideally kiss our focus goodbye. I have always been a book person more than a movie/series person and this habit has actually helped me channel my focus and improve it.
These are some really trying times and everyone is coming up with different ways to cope, however suits them. For me it has been my books. I derive peace from travelling into faraway places through the yellowed pages of new and old books. And as we cannot physically travel anywhere at the moment, maybe it could be a good thing to develop your reading habits while you’re sitting at home lamenting about the birthday plan that could never come to fruition. Instead of brooding why don’t we get to reading? You could pick up an exciting Kerouac-style travel memoir to satisfy the wanderlust in you while also stockpiling various ideas for the next trip. Or it could be a turn of the century classic to make your mind drift through the old countryside and picturesque villages. This is the time to educate yourself in all the burning social issues that are igniting our world at the moment. This is the time to discover the secret of time management and productivity with amazing self-helps. Or you could just sleep.
Sigh. Anyway, these are some of the books that I read in quarantine that helped me cope.
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert- Many of you might have seen Julia Roberts traipsing around the streets of Rome stuffing her face with the delicious food, or hanging out with gurujis in an ashram in Varanasi but well, although the movie was good, the book is always better. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote this memoire and gained a cult following, almost instantly. This came at a difficult time in her life which she successfully turned around while also helping all those other lost souls through her personal experiences and struggles. Read to follow her on her journey to self-discovery. Maybe you’ll find yourself in the meanwhile.
2) A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle- This book was published in 1989 and has also been adapted into a TV mini-series. The book is a memoire of the British author Peter Mayle during his one year stay in Provence, which is a small place in south-eastern France, bordering Italy. It is a warm, funny and insightful account of his life there and the locals he befriended. This is the best time to read this book and escape into sprawling vineyards and vibrant lavender fields. This might be all the vacation you can get for a while.
3) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie- Let’s be honest, when is it not the right time to read an Agatha Christie book? Although Christie had written a number of books before this one, it is widely regarded that The Murder of Roger Ackroyd propelled her into superstardom and gained her the reputation by which she is still known– the world’s best detective writer. This whodunnit is so wholly clever and ironic in its plot that by the time you finish it you would realise how the answer was there in front of you all along. The best thing about this book is that it is deceptively simple in its construction and therein lies its beauty.
4) Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo- Bernardine Evaristo won the 2019 Booker Prize for this book, which is her eighth full-length novel. Girl, Woman, Other centres around 12 ‘mostly black’ women living in the United Kingdom through several decades. It follows their journeys from different places and to different places which will make you laugh till your stomach hurt, think things that you have never thought of before and shed a tear or two both from heartbreak and happiness. Evaristo has given such distinct voices to all the characters that you sometimes wonder if it’s the same person writing at all. Girl, Woman, Other is that book which everyone regardless of age, gender, race and religion should read at least once in their lives. Maybe now is your time.
I hope you rediscover your lost love for reading with these. You’re welcome. Happy Reading!