Written by Tiffany Leveille
In the wake of an unexpected pandemic, many of us have been locked away in our houses for weeks, only leaving for the essential trips to the grocery store. We went from constantly running errands, working, attending school, and spending time with friends and family, to sitting on our couches and continuously checking for the newest COVID-19 update. Thankfully, for those of us who are healthy, we now have time to do some of the things we’ve always wanted to. That’s why I created a list of my top ten books to read during quarantine. (These are also great to read during breaks between tele-working!)
1. I Am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai
Most people know Malala as the girl who was shot by the Taliban, but this is only a small piece of Malala’s story. In her debut autobiography, Malala shares about her life before the shooting and her fight to keep herself, and other girls, in school.
2. A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea
by Melissa Fleming
In 2015, Doaa, a young woman from Syria, was forced to leave her family and friends behind due to war and growing violence. Boarding a boat with her fiancée and 500 others, she set sail for Sweden. But when her boat sinks in the middle of the sea, Doaa only has two options: to give in, or cling onto hope. Not knowing how to swim and holding two children who do not belong to her, Doaa faces the crashing waves alone. This book offers a glance into the real life of a refugee and will linger in your mind for days after reading.
3. Beautiful Boy
by David Sheff
Written by the father of a methamphetamine-addicted child, Sheff looks back onto the years leading up to his son’s addiction, the warning signs, and the months of wondering what was happening to his once beautiful boy. Although deeply personal to him, Sheff takes a journalistic approach to this story, sharing not only his experience, but facts and data regarding rehabs and addiction in America.
4. Mrs. Sherlock Holmes
by Brad Ricca
This non-fiction historical thriller is a great read for mystery lovers. It follows the story of a real-life detective, Grace Humiston, also known as Mrs. Sherlock Holmes. Set in 1917, Humiston takes a case that no other detective would: a missing young woman in New York City.
5. The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
Although a young adult novel, The Hate U Give tackles real-world issues. Written in response to the police shooting of Oscar Grant, this book follows Starr Carter’s journey after witnessing the police killing of her childhood friend. It encourages teenagers to use their voice and to never allow anyone to silence you. I would recommend this book for adults and teenagers.
6. The Underground Girls of Kabul
by Jenny Nordberg
I had the privilege of interviewing this author two years ago for a school project. After the interview, I picked up a copy of her book, not expecting the revolutionary story that was about to unfold right in front of me. Norberg is the only journalist to ever conduct interviews on the practice of ‘bacha posh,’ or girls who dress as boys in the Middle East. She investigates the causes for this phenomenon, and the effects it has on the girls after they hit puberty. I would highly suggest this book for all parents.
7. A Long Way Gone
by Ishmael Beah
In this heartbreaking memoir, Ishmael Beah recounts his time as a child soldier during the Sierra Leone Civil War. This book opens your eyes to the stomach-churning truth behind wars and the transition of a young innocent boy into a soldier.
by Dave Cullen
We all know the infamous tragedy of the shooting in 1999 of Columbine High School. It was one of the first school shootings, leaving 13 dead and more injured. In this novel, journalist Dave Cullen examines this event, referring back to interviews and evidence to better understand and explain what happened on that fateful April day. Cullen shares the stories of the two shooters before the day they decided to kill their fellow classmates. We see the red flags, the incidents, and mistakes leading up to the shooting. This heartbreaking story is a must read in order for all of us to better understand what is happening to our schools and why shootings are becoming more prominent.
9. Touching the Void
by Joe Simpson
Joe Simpson reflects on his and Simon Yates ascend up Siula Grande, reaching its peak of 21,000 feet. He recounts an unthinkable decision and the insurmountable obstacles both he and his partner were forced to overcome. This true story of hope, friendship, and survival is a riveting read.
10. Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
Most of us know the story of headstrong Jo March and her tribe of sisters, but with the new Little Women movie recently leaving theaters, now is the perfect time to read this classic again. You may already have this novel on your bookshelf, which make it a great read for quarantine!
- I Am Malala
- A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea
- Beautiful Boy
- Mrs. Sherlock Holmes
- The Hate U Give
- The Underground Girls of Kabul
- A Long Way Gone
- Touching the Void
- Little Women
I hope you enjoyed this list and that you are able to read some of these novels. With so much happening in the the world right now, it is important to have an escape from this uncertain time, and what better way to escape than to get lost in a new book? Whether that be a fun read, a nonfiction thriller, or an autobiography, I’d like to encourage you to pick up a book and discover a new world, a new perspective, or an interesting story.
– Tiffany Leveille
I hope you enjoyed Tiffany’s book recommendations … I know I’m going to be adding a few of these titles to my personal quarantine reading list. Tiffany is the creator of the blog In The Write which is devoted to spreading knowledge and understanding through storytelling. If you would like your story shared on her blog, you can contact her here or find her on Instagram at @inthewriteblog.