12 Interesting Books to Read While on Quarantine

The current quarantine has got us thinking about interesting books we have read during far better times. If you are looking for recommendations, or just anything to do while at home, here are some books that you can check out to add some value to your days spent indoors.

Markus recommends:

1. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harrari

Success at taking a global view is rare and difficult. One quickly finds oneself not saying anything at all. But this book not only managed to retain focus, relevance and meaning. It perhaps even set a new gold standard for what taking a global view should look like. Especially if you love perspectives as much as I do, you are definitely going to love this book.

From more obvious points, such as Nationalism and Education, Harrari also tackles more conceptual, but far deeper issues, including the question of how to find meaning in absence of a unifying story.

2. The Kingkiller Chronicle – Patrick Rothfuss

Technically, these are two books, hopefully soon-to-be three. Like George R.R. Martin, Rothfuss has been frustratingly slow and opaque about the final installment of the series. But if you can live with such uncertainty, then picking up the first two books will send you on a journey into a world brimming with richness and depth. Legendary heroes, fantastic adventures – and the truth about what really happened.

3. Differently Morphous – Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw

In a unique twist on humor, social commentary and cosmic horror, Differently Morphous is hard to box into any established literary genre. An excellent character-centered story that will test your assumptions and provide an answer to the question of what would really happen if a cabal of intergalactic blobs suddenly appeared in a world of secret government magic-wielders and passionate social justice advocates. A very interesting read.

4. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Surely everyone wonders what their life’s calling is. This book has us follow a shepherd who, in a defiance of prudence but moved along by mysterious encounters and unexpected wisdom, decides to leave everything behind several times over. Sometimes confusing but always inspiring, The Alchemist can teach us to persevere in the face of overwhelming adversity. While it arguably has only one point to make, it makes that point very well – and the point is an important one. Maktub.

5. Through the Language Glass – Guy Deutscher

Does language determine the way we think, feel, even perceive reality altogether? Mostly no. But as you will read in this book, it has a profound effect even on mundane, every-day situations nonetheless. Reading it will certainly make you think and perhaps even inspire you to learn another language.

6. World Order – Henry Kissinger

Anyone who wants to understand contemporary global politics is going to find a treasure trove of observations, analyses and explanations in this book. It has its biases, of course. But whether you are looking for historical context or a brilliant insider take on why things happened the way they did, you will rarely find today’s world (or rather, the world of roughly five years ago when it came out) explained anywhere more accessible than in this book.

7. Seven Pillars of Wisdom – Thomas Edward Lawrence

War stories always offer valuable perspectives to those of us who have had the luxury of a lifetime of peace. But what I liked most about this book was how it contextualizes what is possible. Desert-crossings, asymmetric warfare, surviving against impossible odds and emerging the victor in the end – an amazing story, made all the more enjoyable by being based on what really happened. You are reading the man’s own account, though, so don’t expect 100% accuracy. But whatever it lacks in the faithfulness-department it more than makes up for with authenticity. And you can even read it for free!

Micah Recommends:

8. Big Wolf and Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme

I cried the first time I read this book. A sobbing cry reserved for the bereft. I repeatedly read it, because it is just lovely, and sometimes, I still cry. The other times, I pretend not to. Fortunately, the tears from rereading it are not born out of grief, but of gratitude.

This little story constantly reminds me of the purity of love and how it chips at the ego, an experience both terrifying and liberating, if we are brave enough to submit ourselves to it. If you are broken hearted, in love, or looking for love, I highly recommend Big Wolf and Little Wolf.

9. The Missing Piece Meets The Big O by Shel Silverstein

A lot of my relationship with Markus is aligned with this magical, minimalist book. Similar to the Missing Piece, we were both looking for something more, but not from another, but within ourselves. Similar to the Missing Piece, we thought the only way we can be happy next to someone is if we are whole, without the need to use another person to fill our holes. Similar to the Missing Piece, we met, and kept meeting, until we were like the Big O, and now we are finally rolling together happily. Read this if you are tired of disastrous and disappointing relationships. More than an interesting book to read, it is life changing.

10. 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

Some people read for pleasure, while others dive into books for learning. You can learn a lifetime from 33 Strategies of War. It is history, politics, self-help, tragedy, strategy, romance, and even comedy, rolled into one.

I remember writing and taking a lot of notes while reading this book. It is what I wished The Art of War by Sun Tzu to be, at least structurally, then I would have distilled its wisdom better instead of having my brain wrestle and writhe in an attempt to decode it. Get this book to fortify your mind in an enjoyable way.

11. The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety by Alan Watts

I believe that Alan Watts, to be experienced, must be heard, not read. Fortunately, there are tons of his lectures on YouTube, and in fact, it is one of the first things that connected Markus and I when we first met in Boracay in 2017. He introduced me to Alan Watts, and with excitement, I do the same for you, if you have not already. Markus also lent me this book, fast forward several years, and it is an important read to take your mind off the ‘chasing mode’ and into the ‘enjoying mode’.

12. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This is not just a story, but a life, rich, deep, and colorful. There is art, culture, and vivid characters that I adore to this day. But great as these qualities are, what I like best about The Goldfinch is its technicality. The way it is written mesmerizes me. The narration, how it unfolds, the choice of words, the structure – it is so smooth, like eating a satisfying dark chocolate mousse. This is the one if you want an interesting, elevated adult read that remains genuine and sincere. Actually, I might reread this book soon, or force Markus to read it.

Published by Markus + Micah

We are Markus + Micah. We live in a tiny house by the sea, grow our plants, cook plant-based food, travel, and design wellness retreats and mindful programs so we can all live meaningful lives.

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