Balancing screen time is a struggle in lockdown. With most days spent indoors, it is easy to kill time by binging TV shows or scrolling on Instagram. Not to mention the hours sitting in front of a laptop, keeping up with online classes.
There is an overflow of information beyond the screen and the majority of it requires little imagination. Books could be good substitutes as they can take your mind to a different place not by numbing it, but rather by reigniting your imagination.
Here is a selection of books to free your mind or urge you to think:
Around the World in 80 Trains by Monisha Rajesh
This travel diary will pick you up from your room and take you all around the world. From London to Russia, North Korea, Canada and many more, Rajesh and her fiancé take 80 trains to various colourful destinations and meet astonishing people along the way. You can join the ride -from home- for £8.49.
“No matter how long or tiring the journey, the bothersome bits are shelved and forgotten in those final minutes. Impending arrival shifts the traveller’s mindset into hopeful optimism that a new and unexplored phase is about to begin.”
– Monica Rajesh, Around the World in 80 Trains
To think about…
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
With very descriptive language and historical facts, Eddo-Lodge brings institutionalised racism into light. It illuminates the experience of being a person of colour in the UK as well as many polemics surrounding race. This is a great source to get more informed about the Black Lives Matter movement. You can get a hold of it for £7.49.
“The mess we are living in is a deliberate one. If it was created by people, it can be dismantled by people, and it can be rebuilt in a way that serves all, rather than a selfish, hoarding few.”
– Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
From the Vietnamese American poet Ocean Vuong, this book is an expression of unspoken feelings through fiction. It is written in the format of a letter, from the perspective of a young Vietnamese man for his illiterate mother. The storytelling is extraordinary and touching, tackling issues of class, race and masculinity. A book about healing and speaking up even if no one seems to be listening. Find it for £12.70.
“Because the sunset, like survival, exists only on the verge of its own disappearing. To be gorgeous, you must first be seen, but to be seen allows you to be hunted.”
– Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
For a feminist approach…
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
Go back in time with this retelling of the Trojan War, from the eyes of women. War and destruction are key themes in this book, but also survival and rebirth. It is a refreshing take on history from a long-suppressed perspective. Women readers may find themselves relating to the hardships of Trojan women about gender and inequality while also sharing their passion and strength. It retails at £7.49.
“A war does not ignore half the people whose lives it touches. So why do we?”
– Natalie Haynes, A Thousand Ships
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given
An accessible look at feminism, there is a lot to learn from this book about self-love. 20 year old Londoner and activist Florence Given gives advice about how you should treat yourself, and how you shouldn’t let others treat you. It calls out toxic beauty standards and sexism, giving you reasons to understand your self-worth and not base it on external factors. It is a quick read with fun illustrations. You can get one for £12.99.
“Stop breaking yourself down into bite-sized pieces. Stay whole and let them choke.”
– Florence Given, Women Don’t Owe You Pretty
To revive your imagination…
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Be prepared to push the limits of your imagination with this book filled with magic and riddles. The protagonist finds a mysterious book that pulls him into an adventure like no other. With clues scattered all over the pages, the lines between real life and fiction will get blurred. Jump right in for £7.49.
“A boy at the beginning of a story has no way of knowing that the story has begun.”
– Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea
Words: Begum Kuruc | Subbing: Sara Guadrini