Bookish introverts worldwide are wondering what's so different about social distancing and their normal routine. Turns out, staying home and reading is a highly effective way to flatten the curve and avoid spreading illness. It's also good for your mental and emotional health during this time of high anxiety.
So while some book nerds rejoice at the idea of an excuse to stay inside, finishing their current read and avoid going to public functions, some folks might be panicking about all this free time. We're all for Netflix binges, but our favorite means of entertainment and escapism is diving into a good book. Here are some recommendations on where to start for folks who enjoy reading but maybe don't do it on a daily basis.
Ask for recommendations
There's nothing worse than being in a book slump, or having a hard time finding a book you love, but believe me — there's something out there for everyone! Find a friend you trust — maybe someone who has the same taste in books as you — and ask for recommendations. You can also scope out friends' Goodreads ratings to see who lines up with your "want to read" shelf. Also if your friend is recommending you a book they love, they might own it and loan you a copy. No need to meet up in person, just have them drop it off by your door. Win win.
Join a book club
If you don't have a book sensai and are paralyzed by choices, join a book club! There are so many online groups, that you can still do this without leaving your house. Thanks to video chats you can discuss the book online, or just follow along and read the book selections they make. I joined Minneapolis's Books & Bars when I first moved to the city and discovered so many great authors and met some lifelong friends. If you're not sure which genres you love, a book club is usually a good way to find out as they typically pick a variety of popular crowd pleasers. Right now I've been loving everything from Hello Sunshine, Reese Witherspoon's book club.
Start a series
Reading a book series and falling in love with the characters is like coming home every time a new book is published. The authors simply have so much more room to develop the world and characters than a standalone novel. With each new story, you can jump right in where you left off with familiar comfort. There are certain books that I always know I'll enjoy, or read at certain times of the year. (Never met an Outlander book I didn't enjoy and I read a Harry Dresden novel every Halloween). You can binge read book series like you might watch a favorite show. Make sure to check to see if the series is finished, if you don't want to be left waiting for authors to catch up.
Set a time to read
Make it part of your routine. I love reading for a half hour each night and on weekend mornings for a couple hours while I drink way too much coffee. If you're stuck at home and struggling to find structure, doing a simple thing like setting aside time for a book will make a big difference. When I know I'm going to settle in with a book for a few hours I also make sure to get extra cozy in my favorite reading chair with all the things I need: blanket, tea, cat, and snack. The toughest decision should be which Book Lovers' candle to light up and what music to play in the background.
Hopefully reading can be a source of comfort to you while staying at home. I plan on making a dent in my TBR (to be read) pile but also getting a couple "feel good" books from my local bookshop — which is currently offering curbside pickup of online orders. Stay safe and read on!