social distancing

With social distancing becoming the call of the hour, many of us have moved to a more isolated set-up with reduced chances of real-time human interactions. With schools and colleges closed and a lot of workplaces implementing a work-from-home policy, we’re suddenly faced with extra time on hand (you know, the time you’d spend commuting on a regular day). Rather than get bored or worry about the future of the world, here’s a chance for us to introspect and maybe, finally, do some of the things we’ve been regularly putting off for ages. From writing to learning the basics of cooking, from learning new skills to decluttering our lives and homes, this essential list of books will help enhance our lives in the time of social distancing. 


Write The Next Bestseller

Have you, like most of us, been procrastinating or putting off writing because of lack of time? Social distancing, then, might just be the push writers need to start writing and honing their skills. Stephen King’s On Writing is one of the best books to read to get your journey going, where he talks about his own experiences as a writer, along with writing advice that will inspire you to pen down something, anything. Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird is one of the most promising books that will help you create a list of instructions in order to build a structural story, along with dealing with problems like first drafts, creating characters and filling plot holes. Another problem most writers face is grammar, and that’s where Dreyer’s English comes in handy. The book’s simple advice and humorous tone will make you a grammar pro in no time.


Marie Kondo Your Life

While COVID-19 has shown us the importance of our own health and well-being, why not use this time of enforced social distancing to declutter our homes of the unnecessary items we own (or hoard)? Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up is of great help here. Kondo dishes out practical step-by-step advice when it comes to decluttering, and only holding on to those things that ‘spark joy’. For the hard-core hoarders, or those who find it difficult to get rid of things, Joshua Becker in The Minimalist Home helps us declutter by moving from room-to-room. His book also tackles the issue of over consumption. For the busy bees, Dana White provides insightful advice in Decluttering At The Speed Of Life, a book that helps you declutter within a limited amount of time, while keeping our emotional attachment to things in mind.


Take Care Of Yourself

As important as it is to pay attention to one’s health during these times, social distancing unfortunately means going to gyms and for therapy is out of the question. However, there are ways to take care of yourself even while you’re stuck at home. For your mental well-being, take a look at Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. This book will help you to increase your happiness in tiny but significant ways. Another important aspect of self-care is healthy eating and Rujuta Diwekar’s Don’t Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight will help you out with its easy and helpful tips for clean eating. For those missing out on their daily gym sessions, read Abhishek Sharma’s Fitness On The Go which gives useful advice on how to exercise without equipment, and on the importance of yoga.


Skill Up

In today’s world of cutthroat competition, you need more than a degree to survive. Constantly updating yourself via new skills is as important as your education and work experience. Unfortunately, the time needed to learn these skills gets lost in between one’s existing professional, social and personal commitments. However, social distancing has provided us with a unique opportunity to learn something new. The First 20 Hours is a highly promising book that, as the name suggests, teaches a person how to learn a new skill in just 20 hours. To learn the skill of cooking, read Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Chef, where he teaches us how the building blocks of cooking, with tips from famous people around the world. Another great skill to pick up during this time? A new language! And, Fluent In 3 Months is a great book to read to learn how to speak and learn an entirely new language without stepping out of your home.


Conquer You Literary White Whale

Don’t we all have a list of books that we want to read but keep putting off citing reasons like the lack of time, size of the book, plot, language, and so on? Social distancing provides us with a great opportunity to check off those books from the list. With no social commitments to distract you, it’s time to tackle your literary white whales, starting with the infamous War And Peace. The story of Russian society in the 19th century, this magnum opus is considered to be Leo Tolstoy’s finest literary achievement. Another heavyweight to read during this time is Infinite Jest, a 1,100-page novel that talks of happiness and how far we are willing to go for entertainment. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2019, Ducks, Newburyport is another mammoth book you should certainly get your hands on.


Want To Be The Next Masterchef?

With restaurants and cafes shutting down in order to prioritise the health of their staff, and the growing focus on being aware of the food we eat in order to remain healthy, it is high time we learn how to cook for ourselves. A great book to start off with is The “I Don’t Know How To Cook” Book, an essential guide for cooking that guides a novice through simple recipes as well as complex ones. Vegans who still want healthy but delicious food, look no further than Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen, which simplifies vegan cooking to suit Indian needs. And if you feel the need to try out something a little more fancy, especially on those days when you’re craving some restaurant-style Indian food, take a look at The Curry Secret.


Break Old Habits, Create New Ones

Social distancing has made us ponder over our habits, both good and bad, and how to either enhance or quit them. The first step for any kind of change is willpower, and this is where the book Willpower comes to our aid. It reveals the truth behind self-control, and how we can manage it by setting realistic goals. For those looking for help in quitting those nasty bad habits, ranging from smoking to our obsession with our phones, The Craving Mind is all set to offer us a perspective on how our mind works, and what we can do to eradicate the habits that destroy us. And, how could we forget James Clear’s Atomic Habits, which shows us that through tiny changes, we can overcome any habit, and even set good ones.


Make Some Extra Moolah

While social distancing has reduced our scope of movement, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a side hustle to add to your income. It is 2020, after all! One of the most popular books to read on the topic is Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle, where the author advises you on how to start an additional source of income without giving up your day job. This also means managing your time more effectively. And, Tim Ferriss strikes again, this time with The 4-Hour Work Week, where you can learn how to get more work done in a short amount of time. Now, let’s say you’re interested in writing (for The Curious Reader, perhaps?) or in freelance journalism. If you have no idea where to start, read Everything You Wanted To Know About Freelance Journalism, where you will learn about the basics of publishing and how to take your work to the next level.