For the last month, I’ve been trying to see the positives of lockdown. Making the most of downtime and doing things I don’t have time for. For many, that seems to be baking banana bread or making Pinterest-worthy Dalgona coffee. For me, that means reading. I’m sure there are plenty of other people who’d rather curl up with a book rather than let off a flour bomb in the kitchen! So while we’re still holed up in our homes, I wanted to share ten books to read during lockdown.
Having a positive mindset is so important, in any situation. There’s incredible power in trying to see the opportunities rather than the restrictions. It’s how you remain upbeat. In my regular life, I’m ‘too busy’ to read but I’ve loved reading since I was a child. In between working full-time, blogging part-time and trying to have a social life, there isn’t much reading time left. So I’m going to relish the opportunity to read now.
I’ve rounded up some of my favourite books as well as some new ones waiting to be read to give you some inspiration for books to read during lockdown.
Ten Books To Read During Lockdown
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I have read and reread The Alchemist several times, often when I need some direction in my life. It’s a short fable about finding your destiny, it follows the story of an Andalusian shepherd boy who lets his dreams guide him to the pyramids of Egypt.
This book holds a lot of comfort for me, especially when I’m feeling a little lost and need some reassurance. It reminds me to listen to my heart and look out for signs which are pointing me towards my destiny. It’s a beautiful book and a quick read.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma
This book has a similar message to The Alchemist. It’s a tale about a lawyer who has a spiritual awakening, selling all of his possessions and embarking on a life-changing odyssey to India.
I loved this book and took a lot from it, beyond the fictional spiritual journey. It’s a brilliant read for lockdown as it encourages you to live with courage, balance and joy.
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Written by Nobel Prize winner Hermann Hesse, this is another tale of self-discovery which would be pertinent to read during lockdown. The book follows the story of Siddhartha, as he leaves his family to become a rich merchant, lover and finally a ferryman, and achieve happiness and contentment.
Siddhartha came highly recommended by someone I met while backpacking in Kenya and it didn’t disappoint. It’s an easy, short read with a beautiful message. I find stories about self-discovery reassuring and comforting, especially at times like this when life seems very bleak.
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
This book starts with a protagonist who is meeting an old friend who tells him about an ancient manuscript in Peru. Frustrated with his current situation, he follows his instincts on a plane to Peru to track down the manuscript. While this tale unfoldes, the author weaves in elements of psychological and spiritual practice and ancient Eastern traditions.
I enjoyed reading this story but also picking up the ‘lessons’ around noticing the synchronicity and coincidences in life to help them guide you.
Inglorious Empire by Shashi Tharoor
This is a very different book to the rest on the list. Shashi Tharoor worked for the UN for 29 years and is an MP in India as well as an award-winning writer. This book charts the impact of British rule on India, going from one of the world’s leading economies in the eighteenth century to poverty-stricken.
I found this a very hard but essential read, offering a balanced view of Britain’s brutal colonialism.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
This is a book I downloaded to my Kindle and wanted to read for AGES. Gladwell takes success stories from xx, xx and xx and looks into what makes them successful. He argues that it’s complex and goes beyond talent. Opportunity and circumstances play as big a part as being smart of gifted.
While I don’t encourage pushing yourself to be super productive or pledging to launch a new business, learn a new language or start a new side hustle, this is a great time to explore what success is and hopefully spark some motivation.
All About Love by Bell Hooks
This book comes highly recommended by a good friend. Bell Hooks explores the notion of love and presents a new way to think about it. She focuses on self-love to bring you peace and compassion which will impact your personal and professional life.
This book promises to change the way you think about love, culture and all interpersonal relationships. While all relationships will face ups and downs during lockdown, this makes for useful reading during a testing time.
The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla
This is the first book I cracked open during lockdown and it does not disappoint. The brilliant Nikesh Shukla has bought together 21 brilliant black, Asian and minority ethnic voices to share their experience of existing in the UK and being seen as ‘other’.
Each chapter felt like talking to a friend, open and candidly, about our experiences and I drew a lot of comfort, often nodding along in agreement or with empathy. This is a rare relatable read for people of colour and an eye-opening one for white people.
Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez
In this brilliant book, Perez explores the shocking amount of gender bias which affects billions of women daily. The world is built by and for men, ignoring women with horrific consequences. From simple things like phones being too big for the average woman’s hand to being 47% more likely to be injured in a car accident, there are huge implications for women living in a man’s world.
I’m very interested in issues pertaining to women and the issues we face in the world. This book was highly recommended by my manager and I can’t wait to delve in and quite frankly, be infuriated.
Natives by Akala
I’ll cut to the chase. Akala has written an exceptional book which exposes the racialised legacy of Britain’s empire and the issue of white fragility. Exploring the intersections between race and class, using his own experiences coupled with social, historical and political factors.
I expect this to be an uncomfortable, but necessary, read and it’s particularly appropriate as there are ongoing discussions around why BAME people are being disproportionately affected by Coronavirus.
If you have any recommendations for books to read during lockdown, please leave a comment!