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Books to Escape the Dullness of Social Distancing

While some people seem to be busier than ever during this pandemic, many others have more time on their hands. However, staying inside for a long time should not be a problem when you have good books to help you travel and discover new places far away without leaving your home.

Must-Read Classics

Classic books are popular for a reason! Not only are these stories entertaining, but they will teach us that good storytelling and great authors have existed for a long time, and that people from different eras have more in common than expected. They are an essential read for anyone who wants to disconnect from mass media and focus on stories crafted over more time and with special care.

If you search for “books to read before you die”, you will probably find one or all of these titles among them: classics such as The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, or Little Women by ‎Louisa May Alcott, are books for kids and grown-ups alike.

If you are looking for romantic stories with witty characters, we promise you will fall in love with the novels Pride and Prejudice and Emma, both written by Jane Austen. Another great read in a similar, albeit slightly more gothic, style is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. These books are set in the English countryside, around the 1810s.

However, if you are interested in darker stories and characters, you will find To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald fascinating, too. Both are American classics that address different social issues of their time. On the other hand, if you do not mind some added horror and drama, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, are great stories to discover.

Travel without Leaving Your Couch

Books about adventures and travel are sure to entertain you in a way that no other kind of book could. You will discover a little spark of adventure inside yourself you did not know was there in the first place, and be excited to find out where the story is headed next. A captivating adventure story will also give you a glimpse of what life is like outside the comfort of your home, especially now that going out is more limited than in normal circumstances.

If you would really like to travel the world, even if it’s just inside your head, novels from Jules Verne are a great place to start. Titles such as Journey to the Center of the Earth or Around the World in Eighty Days, are instant classics to read, as well as listen to as audiobooks.

Other good books to give a go are On the Road by Jack Kerouac, narrating a road trip through the United States, or The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which is about a young boy’s trip from the south of Spain to the pyramids in Egypt.

Fall in Love with These Novels

While romantic novels can be as entertaining and exciting as adventure books, there is an added emotional layer that the latter genre does not really cover in depth. These novels are said to be a perfect escape from reality, and you will probably also develop a feeling of connection with the characters.

Nicholas Sparks is one of the most acclaimed authors in this genre, with popular novels such as The Notebook (among many others). Another good read about timeless romance, and especially recommended for those keen on fantasy, is the Outlander book series by Diana Gabaldon. These books tell the story of a romance set between 1940s England and 18th century Scotland and are a great series to explore if you want to get emotionally invested in the relationship between the main characters and get a bit of historical background as well.

If you are looking for romantic novels for young adults, you will also like the tragic young adult romance novel The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and the romantic Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, which is set in a captivating Mediterranean landscape.

Adventures for the Long Haul

It is also a good idea to delve into long-term adventures that take you to faraway places. A book series will likely keep you engaged for a long time, which is ideal if you want to dive deep into a certain story or setting while socially isolating.

If this is something you are interested in, popular fantasy books might be the right option for you. For example, the Harry Potter saga by J. K. Rowling, spanning seven books in total, is one of the most immersive series you will ever find, with a world full of magic and captivating stories to discover. Another famous series is The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, telling the story of several children and a magical world called Narnia. Both were initially written for children, but they became so iconic that they are now popular among all ages.  

Although it is also considered a children’s book series, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket is a darker and more mature read. This is a collection of 13 books about three orphans who, after their wealthy parents pass away in a fire, are adopted by an evil relative who wants to steal their fortune.

If you are looking for something geared towards an adult audience, The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien is a fantasy classic. It tells the story of a fictional medieval world in a sophisticated way. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, known by most through the TV series Game of Thrones, is another popular fantasy saga. However, this one is more mature than most fantasy series.

On the Edge of Your Seat

Crime and suspense novels are a different kind of immersive reads, which are likely to keep you wanting more. To find a book that grips your attention is a privilege, and these are very likely to do so.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle is an all-time classic, as well as Murder on the Orient Express and other novels by Agatha Christie . Other, more recent titles in this genre are Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Books to Keep You Calm and Focused

Being aware and improving your state of mind is more important now than ever. That is why some might set aside fiction reads to focus on self-help books instead. It is understandable that for some, researching mental health theories and tips is more appropriate and helpful to become more aware of the state of their minds during stressful times like these.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling can offer some hope and bring things back into perspective, especially when mass media is so overwhelming. A book that focuses on the benefits of slow thinking and analysis is Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, which explains how to make choices on a daily basis.

During this time, constantly checking social media or the news can be especially draining. This is why Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport is very relevant, as it explains an alternative way of living in a tech-saturated world. A clean and organized environment can also improve wellbeing, and no book will help you achieve this like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

Overall, it is okay to decide to avoid books whose plot revolves around global catastrophes and disease in general. Trying to get distracted from what is currently happening might be exactly what you need to remain focused and positive about the situation. However, some might prefer the opposite, and delve deeper into what is happening in the world. Whatever you choose, try to reflect on what works best for you to keep your mind off things and make it through this time.

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