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Which books should you read while self-isolating from coronavirus?

Books can be life-changing. They can be a form of escapism that give a unique perspective into lives, times, places and ideas we will never experience ourselves. Or, a way of learning new ways of thinking, being and approaching the world. With all this time now spare, what are the key texts we should be reading?

The classics

Middlemarch seemed too long when time was scarce. Amazing how quarantine changes perspective.

Diary of the Plague Year

They say fashion comes in cycles. The fresh relevance of Daniel Defoe's classic requires no explanation. Explore

War and Peace

With 587,287 words, you may never again have the time to read Tolstoy's novel about high society in early 19th century Russia. Explore

Great Expectations

This Victorian page-turner will make you laugh, weep, and feel like nothing you've ever read before. In classic Dickens' style, the novel is full of the curious and the grotesque, and plot twists that will make you shudder. The perfect book to get lost in during the virus. Explore


Alone? Self-acceptance has never felt more important.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This classic text has endured since 1989 precisely because its advice is so impactful. Steven Covey tells his readers how to follow so-called 'true North' principles to maximise their productivity. Explore

The Power of Now

Eckhart Toll's guide to living in the moment shares many characteristics with practising mindfulness - or shedding anxieties to embrace the present. Explore


Numerous scientific studies have shown the secret to success lies in grit, or tenacity. Angela Duckworth shares her research and how readers can use it to maximise their potential. Explore


Ways to live a fuller longer life Explore

Science Fiction

Feels like we're living in it. Might as well read it.

The Andromeda Strain

Close to home. The story follows scientists trying to end a pandemic caused by an alien microorganism like none they've seen before. Explore


Nobel Prize winning author Jose Saramagio creates a chilling alternate reality, where blindness is contagious, and the government response is brutally authoritarian. Explore


Big Brother's watching. When French citizens are under virtual house arrest, and the over 70s face prolonged isolation, was there ever a more apt time to dive into George Orwell's classic novel? Explore

Under The Dome

Stephen King's Under The Dome was published in 2009, just over 40 years after The Stand. Under the Dome is a scifi nightmare of how frightening things can quickly become when people are suddenly isolated from the rest of the world and exposed to severe stress of being suddenly trapped and thrust into unfamiliar territory with no explanation. Explore

Short stories

A story a day keeps the doctor away.

First Love, Last Rites

Macabre, sinister and beguiling, Ian McEwan's groundbreaking collection dives into subversive narratives, looking at incest, sex and murder. Explore

The Thing Around Your Neck

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche is best known for her illuminating novels on women, marriage, politics and race. But her short stories are just as powerful. In this collection she examines the (often dark) nuances of human relationships and how they fall apart. Explore

This Is How You Lose Her

Junot Diaz's masterpiece is a beautifully written reminder of the difficult, addictive and enduring nature of romantic love. Explore


How did the people you admire deal with times of crisis?

The Story of My Experiments with Truth

Gandhi's autobiography highlight the fraught political and social landscape of the struggle for Indian independence, as well as the personal philosophies of this extraordinary figure. Explore

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou's moving memoir is a poignant and illuminating account of life as a poor, black teenager in racist America. Explore

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Lacks' incredible story is almost the stuff of movies. The cells of this poor Southern tobacco farmer were extracted without her knowledge. Those cells went on to become one of the most vital resources in scientific research even to this day. Explore

Current events & politics

Books about the current political climate and/ administration.

The Captain & the Glory

American satire about the current administration. Explore
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 18 Mar 2020 at 14:33 UTC