With all this craziness going on, it’s easy to lose our heads a bit. I’ve used my time indoors to check out a lot of prominent movies that I have somehow never seen, like Blade Runner, The Matrix, The Shape of Water, and Snowpiercer. Of course then I’ve also started and finished quite a few television shows as well, my favorite being Netflix’s The Stranger. After a while, your brain may become overwhelmed by all that LED entertainment, chaotic imagery, and noise, although I still have some movie recommendations.
In times like these, where we have no choice but to stay indoors, taking time for peace and quiet (and self-care of course) is essential. Especially if we are locked inside with our roommates or family, we need to remember to take the time to be alone and reset our minds. For me, I like to go on long walks with my dog, lay on my acupressure mat, listen to a podcast, and read a good book. In fact, now is probably the best time to read an exciting book.
An exciting book usually comes from the thriller, sci-fi, horror genre and is easy to finish in one read. Because of the new and unwelcome mundanity of our lives, reading an exciting book and being to mentally leave the house can be a healthy distraction and make all the difference in our mindset moving forward. I picked out a handful of books that I’ve read in the past few months that I found captivating and enchanting.
Hopefully, these eleven book recommendations can provide you guys with a little bit of the adventure we are missing out on!
The Devil In The White City
Genre: Historical/True Crime Non-Fiction
Author: Erik Larson
The Devil In The White City is a historic non-fiction book by Erik Larson and it was the first ever non-fiction book that I read outside of school. I gotta say…I absolutely adored it. The plot covers the Chicago World Fair in 1893 and America’s first urban serial killer, who was taking advantage of the fairs commotion to create a literal murder hotel. I was surprised at how I found both the story of serial killer H.H. Holmes and the details of the Chicago World Fair equally fascinating.
The Splendid And The Vile
Okay, I’ve been on a bit of an Erik Larson binge and, having just finished his latest book, had to put it on here. The Splendid And The Vile tells the story of Winston Churchill’s first year in office and the London Blitz, and, damn if it isn’t riveting. Quite frankly, if Erik Larson hadn’t written it, I probably would not have read it. With yet another phenomenal book, Erik Larson has drawn me deeper and deeper into the depths of non-fiction.
Genre: Historical Non-Fiction
Author: Erik Larson
Author: Daphne du Maurier
A classic! Rebecca is one of the most poetically written books that I’ve read in a long time. Despite the stressful and enraging plot, I really enjoyed Daphne du Maurier’s elaborate descriptions of flowers and foliage 🙂 It was a stark contrast to the sinister tone of the story.
Genre: Dystopian Science-Fiction
Author: Dave Eggers
Dave Egger’s The Circle essentially tells the store of a blatantly Google-like internet conglomerate that gets too much power. The narrator quickly slips into conflict and the fact that there are no chapters in the book only further that feeling of urgency and a dizzying loss of control.
Author: William R. Forstchen
This is one of my favorite books of all-time. I read the One Second After trilogy back in the fall and it completely changed my life’s perspective. Not only did it inspire me to start emergency prepping (which has obviously come in handy) but it also sparked a new interest in EMP technology. One Second After is a realistic, heartbreaking, and inspiring tale about a small community in North Carolina and how they dealt with the aftermath of a world-ending attack. I love it.
We Have Always Lived In The Castle
Author: Shirley Jackson
My favorite part of We Have Always Lived In The Castle is the fact that the narrator is completely unreliable. It’s the story of a creepy family in a creepy town in England with a creepy vibe and a creepy history. 10/10 will give you nightmares.
Genre: O.G. Cyberpunk
Author: Richard K. Morgan
One of my favorite sci-fi books and an absolute classic for the cyberpunk genre! It paints a vivid picture of the run-down electronic dystopia and a hit-man for hire.
Author: Josh Malerman
I saw the movie Bird Box and loved it so much that I just had to read the book. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. I like reading the book versions of good movies because I feel that it adds a new level of background to the story, which I find quite enjoyable.
We Were The Lucky Ones
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: Georgia Hunter
We Were The Lucky Ones is an incredible and true story of a family torn apart by the holocaust. One by one, they are ripped from their homes and sent alone to their own personal nightmare. But somehow, years and years later, they made it back together again. Spoiler alert: you will cry. A lot.
Author: Jo Nesbø
One of the first detective books I read and I’m digging the vibe of the genre already! The Redbreast not only had a twisted historical sub-plot, but the layers of threads to be pulled and secrets to uncover was so hectic that I felt I was wasting my time when I put down the book. This book is an adventure as well as an interesting behind-the-scenes view of early 2000s life in Oslo.
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
I read this last week and haven’t been able to stop talking about it. The story follows different timelines after most of humanity is wiped out by a fast-spreading virus. One such group is The Traveling Symphony, a group of traveling artists who play music and perform Shakespeare’s plays across the region. It’s authentic plot got them on EW’s 2010 list of the 10 Best Fiction Book of the Decade.
If you want to read any of these books, I highly recommend you start with Station Eleven.
A Gentleman In Moscow
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: Amor Towles
Funny enough, I actually think this book is most appropriate for our mutual situation. A Gentleman In Moscow is the three-decade-long story of Count Alexander Rostov of Russia, an aristocrat who is placed by the Bolsheviks on lifelong house arrest at the ever so majestic Hotel Metropol. Over the years, we watch the Count keep his life fresh, entertaining, and fulfilling. This book was enjoyable on so many levels, but I think the character Rostov himself is what really won my heart. I think A Gentleman In Moscow would be good to read if you are wanting to read something entertaining and enlightening, but not stressful, as some other books on this list can be.
Well, there ya have it folks. Good luck with your quarantine and remember not to panic. Survival essentials are a priority always, and that includes a good book! You simply can’t live without it.