Nearly every Sunday, I post a book I am reading on my Instagram. Over the past few weeks, as the nation and most of the world has been sheltering in place, my DMs have lit up with requests for suggestions. It seems, while at home, more and more people have found comfort in curling up with a good book. In fact, a study in the UK found a 45 per cent spike in the reading habits of young adults. Some good news.
For me, personally, books have long been a form of escape. And it's clearly a sentiment many can now echo. Offering a respite from the frightening reality on-ground, stories provide a sense of solace and companionship, more so when the days seem interminably long.
As the world slowly opens up but the virus seems to have no end in sight, I decided to share a list of books that promise to transport the reader into a different world. One where Hillary didn’t marry Bill, a swapped plane ticket alters a woman’s life, and a murder during a wedding has everyone on the suspect list.
Here’s what I’m going to be reading over the next few weeks:All Adults Here by Emma Straub
It's been billed as a summer beach read, but while the reality of a beach holiday may be far from our present scenarios, the drama and intrigue in the Strick family is enough to keep you engrossed, even without the feeling of sand beneath your feet.Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
The idea of 'what if' plagues most of our lives. And that’s exactly what Curtis Sittenfeld plays on, when she creates an alternate reality for Hillary Rodham Clinton, minus Bill. What would her life trajectory have looked like? Though I found the initial pages a little clunky, I was immediately hooked, following Hillary’s ascent onto a larger stage in her own right.The Last Flight by Julie Clark
Something tells me that this fast-paced thriller will make it to screens near you at some point soon. When two women—one with a seemingly perfect life that most could only dream of—meet at an airport bar and decide to swap plane tickets, that decision changes everything.The Guest List by Lucy Foley
In the Agatha Christie vein, Foley’s latest (also a Reese’s book club pick!) focuses on a murder on an island off the coast of Ireland during a wedding, and the list of suspects make up the wedding guests.The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
It's been called one of the most anticipated books of this year, and has already topped The New York Times list. This story of twin sisters, one of whom decides to live as a white person, explores themes and ideas that couldn’t be more relevant.Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
The author behind the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy brings us more of his famed drama, that this time spans Capri and New York.
Need more? I asked some of the most dedicated readers, whose recommendations I always follow, to share the stories helped them escape the reality of the last few months. Here's what they've been reading:Shweta Bachchan Nanda, author and designerA Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towle
“I re-read this book and loved the elegance of the Hotel Metropole. It is so evocative of a time now lost to us and a pace we have forgotten. The count is a kind of man, who stops to smell the roses—and that’s what all of us have been doing through the lockdown, haven't we?”Navya Nanda, entrepreneurThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
“This book represents the sole reason I read—it transported me to a magical world, that I want to live and breathe.”Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, actorMy Gita by Devdutt PattanaikResh Susan, blogger, @thebooksatchelThe Inugami Curse by Seishi Yokomizo, translated by Yumiko Yamazaki
“A golden, cosy mystery set in 1940s Japan, it follows the murder of the head of the Inugami clan, and features bloody weapons, big mansions, family secrets, betrayals, too-many-heirs and many murders. It's pure escapism and terrific fun, especially if you love Agatha Christie crime novels.”Isheta Salgaocar, writer and wildlife photographerAll Adults Here by Emma Straub
“Especially when the outside world has been unpredictable at best, and terrifying at worst, Emma Straub’s All Adults Here brings with it some sunshine with its heart warming and light prose about families, and the secrets we keep guarded from our closest ones while trying to be supportive. This one may leave you yearning for a beach vacation though—good thing I read it while at home in Goa!”Hanut Singh, jewellery designerThe Cartiers by Francesca Cartier Brickell
“An incredible story of an extended family, spanning generations, and the creation of the most incredible jewellery house. The twists and turns, the sagas and the scandals, the immense creative highs, that we to date still exclaim and covet in wonder. Sublime jewels. A juicy read. What more could you want?”Arjun Sawhney, brand advisorThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
“Incredibly well written and ahead of its time. The themes of beauty, influence, morality and youth are still relevant. It signalled the end of a world of manners, post the Victorian era.”Also read:
11 feel-good books to read while in lockdown
8 female novelists share their ultimate quarantine reading list
6 self-help books that could help you through those bad days