WOW | Books

5 MUST-READS DURING THE LOCKDOWN

As we take on the ongoing global health crisis, a lull seeps slowly into our lives. Vacation plans have been cancelled, cute outfits await in the armoire and we have officially run out of creative ideas on what to do with all this time. The sweet magic of books, however, never ceases to transport you into a different world. Here, we have handpicked some interesting reads for you to devour under the sun or cuddled up in a blanket.

Text: Sachi Agrawal

SAPIENS
Author: Yuval Noah Harari

The future is uncertain and the present is confined. A look back at the past during such times might help you put things in perspective. In this case, we have the perfect book for you – Sapiens.

Harari’s ‘Sapiens’ is a crash course into the history of the entire humankind. He explains the roots of your little habits – why you gorge on something sweet or the urge to share stories as he delves into monumental truths about origins of art, literature, kingdoms and coinage.

Harari’s brilliance in weaving stories intermingled with his profound knowledge makes this book a captivating read. Harari reiterates tale after tale of human violence, war, and plunders with detached composure giving you the space to determine what is right or wrong, even as the author explores global cultures that govern our thoughts and behaviours.

KINGDOM OF DREAMS
Author: Judith Mcnaught

Against the backdrop of 16th century England, you are in for a vintage ride to the province of romance with Judith Mcnaught’s ‘Kingdom of Dreams’.

Judith uses her powerful, multifaceted characters to bridge the chasm between the an almost dreamlike utopia with our flawed realities. Her mastered prose and intricate storytelling will make you laugh and cry, and renew your spirit in the belief of life, love and dreams.

Clever banter, swoon-worthy moments, poignant insights about human nature, and seamless characters make it difficult to put the book down. While romance remains at the heart of the story, the Kingdom of Dreams explores the topics of dysfunctional families, teenage insecurities, and political rivalries just as well.

THE LITTLE BOOK OF HYGGE
Author: Meik Wiking

We spend all our time sequestered inside our homes lately. Since this camaraderie between the apartment walls and us is on the rise, it’s only acceptable that we add a little bit of warmth in between.

Pronounced as hoo-ga, Danish word Hygge is defined as that very warmth. Think of it as a friends marathon when a sense of comfort fills your being.

In the Little Book of Hygge, author Meik Wiking introduces you to the secret of the happy Danish life. Meik talks about how the secret of happiness lies in appreciating little treasures of life like a warm cup of coffee, a cosy sweater, or your favourite book.

Learn to build your own Hygge spot (you know you need it, particularly now) or dress in Hygge. Master the art of intimacy in relationships or just being alive. We are sure you are going to appreciate Hygge in your life.

P.S. The book also has a few easy-to-make cake recipes!

OLD MAN AND THE SEA
Author: Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway’s timeless classic tells the story of an old man with undefeated eyes and the sea – ever so magnanimous. A champion in his heyday, old fisherman Santiago has had no luck at the sea for 84 days. As he embarks to the sea on the 85th day, the course of events leads us deeper into the sea and his soul.

The book is delightful in the way it highlights little pleasures in life and explores the qualities of humility and nobility during the brightest and darkest of days.

Hemingway’s brilliance as a writer stands out as he takes you on this journey to the sea in all its glory. It’s almost as if Hemingway’s greatness as a writer came through the skills of Santiago. Both are experienced, dexterous, and masters of their craft.

After decades of its publication, Hemingway’s short novel continues to warm hearts and ignite souls with its sheer simplicity. “But I’ll show him what a man can do and what a man endures,” Santiago says in the book. Maybe in the light of current times, that’s what we need – a little hope and a lot more faith in ourselves.

THE LONELY CITY
Author: Olivia Laing

In her third bestseller, Olivia Laing brings you a work so honest and heartfelt that it’s guaranteed to leave a strong imprint in your heart. Laing’s book is a memoir. It’s a travelogue. It’s a deep research into how art appeases your deepest wounds.

In the past few days when the world has looked so bleak and dark, we have found solace in a deftly written prose or a funny joke, an art piece, or an immersive movie. Laing’s book talks about the same therapeutic properties of art, both for the audience and the creator.

Laing studies the work of Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper, David Wojnarowicz, and Alfred Hitchcock and the common element we all share as humans – the need for love and acceptance. She also explores why their work stands out in the art fraternity decades later after their initial release.

“It does have a way of healing wounds, and better yet of making it apparent that not all wounds need healing and not all scars are ugly,” says Laing as she describes the salubrious properties of art.

Social distancing is the norm these days and we are more susceptible than ever to this abyss of loneliness and anxiety, Laing’s work shows up as a comforting hug.  She also teaches us the most fundamental truth about ourselves – in the end, all we have is each other. She also tells you to value loneliness for what it is, because in truth, all of us are a little lonely inside.

As you lose track of what day it is, we hope that these books remind you what a joy it is to be alive at all. We hope that you find your place of comfort or a zone of stimulation in these wonderful books which are no less a whole world in their own rights. Read them and then, get your loved ones to read them. Live just a little more with these incredible books.