What are you reading during this isolation period? We know it is long overdue for some page-turner recommendations. But, we are here for you, especially during this quarantine period. Our quarantine reading list will keep you busy, entertained, and a little bit more knowledgeable.
Nonfiction quarantine reading list
1. Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Kenya by Nanjala Nyabola
At least 89.7% of Kenya’s population has access to the internet. We have seen social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook contribute so much in our social and political spheres. While the world talks about the #MeToo movement, Kenyans talk of #MyDressMyChoice.
Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics is a full package that sheds light on the ever-vibrant Kenya’s online presence. The book discusses the efforts of the political sphere to curb online activism and the era of fake news in Kenya.
If you are looking for a book that focuses more on Africa’s digital sphere, more so Kenya, then this is the book to grab.
2. Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker
On numerous occasions, our health specialists tell us to get enough sleep. But how many of us really know the importance of sleep? How many of us understand how sleep affects our overall health? Not many, considering most of the scientific data about sleep has only been around for a few decades.
But Matthew Walker, a sleep expert and a distinguished neuroscientist offers answers on the importance of sleep. What happens when we sleep? How does sleep enhance the different aspects of our lives? And, there are answers about dreams.
3. Permanent Record by Edward Snowden
Permanent Record delivers what sounds like a movie but is, indeed, a real-life story. Edward Snowdens goes down in history as an individual who did the unthinkable. He risked his life to expose the mass surveillance systems by the US government. Well, not every part of the book is about mass surveillance. Snowden starts by talking about his childhood to his work with the NSA and CIA and his exile.
How would you label such a person? A traitor or a hero? It is very easy to choose one of the categories, especially when the internet is full of debates on this. But you can form your opinion by reading his memoir and getting to know the reasons behind his actions.
4. Yuval Noah Harari
Yuval Noah Harari has several writings under his belt. However, there are three books that we highly recommend during this era.
First, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, is the book to read for a catalog of humanity through the years. How did humans evolve into organized individuals, who have come to build democracies and technologies? The answers are all here. Yuval uses simple language and short sentences that are easy to understand. We have a review of the book here.
The second book by Yuval to get is Home Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. While Sapiens covers humanity’s history right from our ancestors, Home Dues covers humanity’s future. Humans have managed to conquer plagues, war, and hunger, but we still die from overeating and suicide. In this book, Yuval explores humanity’s options in overcoming this and using technology to enhance our lives and the creation of artificial life.
And lastly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, a book that explores the current issues that either threaten or build our lives in the 21st century. We are advancing technology in many aspects of lives faster than we can even understand it. How does this threaten humanity and our freedoms? How can we navigate and win technological terrorism? There is so much more to unpack from this book, but we recommend you read the first two books first.
Fiction quarantine reading list
5. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Quite an apt read, considering we are facing a pandemic (Covid-19) that has seen countries across the globe lose thousands of lives to the infectious disease. We are also experiencing mandatory quarantine around the world and borders shut in a bid to save humanity.
In Station Eleven, Emily tells the story of five individuals who survive a pandemic that almost sweeps away the whole of humanity and ends civilization as humans knew it. For this group of survivors, survival is insufficient, although they try hard to protect each other for survival.
6. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
If you are not ready for a heart-wrenching heartbreak and a story that will stick with you for years, then this is not the read for you. However, we highly recommend it.
Hanya’s ability to weave around the main character’s past life into his present life, and how it is affecting his relationships is epic. Hanya also touches on a subject we rarely talk about, sexual abuse of men, albeit in graphic ways. The book teaches us about the power of friendships and empathy. But, first, grab a box of tissues because premium tears might be heading your way.
7. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
Yes, it has erotic by widows. Quite an expected! But here is what we like about the book- society tends to think sex is a “weird” subject for the elderly. The subject is even “weirder” when it involves elderly women, let alone immigrants from a strict cultural society.
But through Nikki’s English classes for the elderly in a Punjabi society, we learn that matters of sex transcend generations. Through Nikki’s experiences, we learn of the patriarchal society these women grow up in. We learn about personal identity as Nikki struggles with hers and finally finds her way back into law school, thanks to her interaction with the older women. It is a quick and entertaining book that you might finish in a day or two.
The above will keep you occupied as we isolate. Grab a copy of these for yourself or your loved ones. And, if you have more titles, feel free to share them with us.