Book Recommendations for Quarantine
This hasn’t been a creative time for me AT ALL. Yes, we have the time, but the time is also surrounded by immense anxiety about the world, our families and ourselves, and doesn’t leave much room for creative inspiration. Never mind the lack of sleep and chronic nightmares. This is the first thing I’ve been able to write since the middle of March. I started off strong with my work outs, keeping up with my Italian, learning piano, and a month and a half later, stuck in a stuffy apartment, it takes effort to get myself to do these things. It’s the sluggishness and lethargy that comes with being cooped up for so long, stacked on top of missing and worrying about your family, and waiting for that unemployment and stimulus check that may never come.
The one thing that I’ve really gravitated towards during the quarantine is reading. Curling up with an amazing book in my cozy robe, wrapped in blanket with an adventurous story ahead of me gives me such peace and relaxation and a sense of accomplishment when I’m done. If the only thing I come out of quarantine with is a list of finished books, I am totally fine with that.
I figured I share some of my book recommendations to you in case you were looking for something to read. I have most of my books at my parents house (thanks parents for housing my extra stuff that could never fit in my New York City apartment). So these are the books I have here with me now. I really hope they bring you as much joy as they brought me!
By Elton John
Elton John’s autobiography was unexpectedly hilarious. It chronicles his rise to fame and also his personal trials and tribulations along the way. It feels like he’s your best friend regaling you with hysterical and at times really intense moments. I flew through this.
By Laura Hillenbrand
This is a serious page turner and a story that is heartbreaking but so full of resilience. It’s about the amazing WWII hero Louis Zamperini who in one life time was an Olympic track star, and a WWII soldier who survived the most horrific experiences. I don’t want to give too much away. This story is truly incredible!
Life, on the line
By Grant Achatz
You become fully invested in this book right away. All you need to know is that it’s about Chef Achatz, a person whose life revolves around creating dishes, who is diagnosed with tongue cancer. Highly recommend.
By Julie Andrews
If you’re a musical theater soul you will love this one. Julie Andrews takes you through her early days as a Variety show child star and into her Hollywood career. I found out while reading this that we had actually performed on the same stage, the Schubert Theater in New Haven! It was 60 years apart but still pretty awesome.
The Six Wives of Henry VIII
By Alison Weir
This is the incredible true story of Henry VIII and all of his tumultuous marriages. The story is so captivating, and written like a novel which is the best part about it. I read this book so fast and I’ve read all of the books written after to follow the lineage and the DRAMAAAA of the monarchy. All the follow up books are written by the same author, Alison Weir.
Marie Antoinette The Journey
By Antonia Fraser
This is the biography about the misunderstood Queen of France, Marie Antoinette. It starts with her early life, being ripped away from her family in Hungary at the age of 14 to marry a complete stranger in a country far away from her own, and ends with the French revolution. It paints her in a much different light than what we are used to hearing.
A Song of Ice and Fire
By George R.R. Martin
If you’re looking for a series to delve into then I 100% recommend Game of Thrones. Most people have already seen the show, but I would say that it diverges a bit from the books so I would try it out. I read it before I had watched any episodes and I thought it was phenomenally written. So much detail and passion in the writing. George R.R. Martin even wrote an index of all the houses and families so the reader could keep track. It was so intense I had to take breaks between each book and read something light because I was so deep into this violent though very entertaining world.
By J.K. Rowling
This one needs no introduction and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been reading Harry Potter in quarantine. YOU CAN’T NOT LOVE the wizarding world of Harry Potter! It’s full of magic and non stop adventure and makes you feel like an excited kid again. I’ve read through this series so many times and I’m so in awe of the world that J.K Rowling built. From the spells she created and the storyline from the first to the seventh book, she is a genius.
The Count of Monte Cristo
By Alexandre Dumas
Such a classic fast moving story of a man wrongly accused and his road to vengeance. It’s so thrilling and set in Europe which I always love. Where else are you going to go during quarantine? Hunker down with this one.
By Andy Weir
I picked up this book on a whim in a bookstore in Ireland. I had never heard of it nor do I have any real interest in space and science but I really loved it! It’s about a mission in space, something goes awry, and that’s all I will say. I was so impressed at how someone could be not only a great writer, but so knowledgable about space at such an in depth level. Major props on this one Mr. Weir.
The Godfather By
Better than the movie dare I say! Great story to get enveloped in.
This one will turn your soul inside out, especially if you are going through any of the three phases.
Falling in love, heartbreak, and healing. WOW.
The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo
By Amy Schumer
I laughed so hard reading this book and was actually hysterically crying with laughter at some points. It’s full of stories about her life before and after fame. So worth reading especially if you need a pick me up!
By Sebastian Maniscalco
I really loved this one and read it in less than two days. He talks about his experiences before becoming a worldwide comedian and all the efforts it took to get there, including a tearful phone call to his mother asking for money from L.A. It’s really funny, honest and inspirational. Bonus points if you’re Italian and can understand the cultural references!
The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love
By Don Miguel Ruiz
I love books that really make me think and reflect, that help me get out of negative habits and to appreciate things more. They are the kind of books that you just pick up every so often and read through again as a reminder to keep your chin up, be a good person and just allow yourself be happy damnit! The world has definitely screwed us up so it’s about unlearning all the BS we were taught to believe about ourselves. In my opinion, its not too new agey or hippy. I think it’s the perfect balance !
By Debora L. Spar
Written by former President of Barnard College, it discusses the role of women in the past 50 years, what has changed and what has not. It also talks about the challenges working moms face today, trying both to be 100% present as a mother and as an employee. What got me were the statistics of how many years men vs women spend grooming themselves over a lifetime. Makes me never want to waste time brushing my hair again! A GREAT read.
The War of Art
By Steven Pressfield
I really loved this book. It highlights the resistance you feel when you are pursuing anything that will bring you from an amateur to a professional. One of my favorite parts, "Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance, even when he was 75. In other words, fear doesn't go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day."
How to be a Bawse
By Lilly Singh
She just had so many nuggets of wisdom for up and coming entertainers. She’s funny, really honest and transparent about her struggles, plus she was an underdog who knew no one in the industry and got to where she is today. She went from being completely unknown to collaborating with her idol, The Rock!
The Success Principals
By Jack Canfield
He was the creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series, which was a huge series when I was young. He pitched it to over 100 editors they all said no but one. That editor is the reason why he was able to get his message to the world. So keep pushing people!
Rise and Grind
By Damon John
The one thing that stuck with me from this book was when he talked about being 20 years old and making over $1000 a week being a club promoter.
He said, “I was making money but I wasn’t making progress.” That woke me up.
Wake Up Happy
By Michael Strahan
I love Michael Strahan’s attitude. After practice, he would stay on the field hours longer, working harder than all his teammates to be the best. What I loved was his advice of making your alarm clock go off to a song that you love, so you don’t feel irritated first thing in the morning. It really was a game changer. No more annoying iPhone dings that make me want to throw my phone at the wall!
What are some of your book recommendations!? Let me know !