‘I dusted off the old, forgotten bookshelf in a lonely corner of my home last year. It contained many buried treasures. Who says you have to step out of the door to escape into a new world?’
That was someone’s answer when we posed the ‘tell us that you’re living in the middle of a pandemic without telling us that you’re living in the middle of a pandemic’ question. And we couldn’t stop thinking about it afterwards, no cap!
There was a time when reading was the ultimate drip. From fantasy novels to delightful memoirs, and from young adult adventures to self-help sermons, we’ve all found sheer comfort in the words and worlds of another at least once in our lifetime. Before screens took over, that is. Thereafter, we’ve all been guilty of neglecting books in one way or the other.
But then the pandemic came in, and suddenly, the need to escape shot through the roof. And when you couldn’t visit your friends and loved ones, or found it hard to cope with sickness, uncertainty, loss, and helplessness, you didn’t know what to do anymore.
So, how about rediscovering a lost habit (or forming a new one!) – reading? Ask avid readers and they’ll tell you that there’s no greater escape and comfort than the smell of old books, the tasteful fluttering sound of turning pages and, above all, the sheer joy of discovering new characters, worlds and stories. If you know, you know! In a sense, reading books is very much like music – you relate to not only the beats but also the lyrics. And in this shared empathy between the reader and the book, you get to cleanse yourself of all the baggage that has been wearing you down.
If you know, you know!
So, bear with us once, and set sail on the boAt to different worlds, navigating through rivers of words and oceans of chapters to arrive in your sunny spot. Don’t know where to start? Here are three lovely reads that boAt recommends for the ultimate comfort during the pandemic.
The Humans by Matt Haig
Humanity through a humorous, poignant lens
The first one on our list is the thoroughly entertaining and deeply thought-provoking The Humans by Matt Haig. You could call it a sci-fi tale, but it’s much more than that. On the surface, the story revolves around an alien visitor to Earth who disguises himself as a Cambridge professor, and slowly learns about the ways of human beings whom he thoroughly detests – before warming up to humanity as a whole. At the heart of the story is how imperfections make us beautiful, and how we must learn to accept them – something that is plaguing us all amidst the pandemic as we struggle to cope with our shortcomings and the insufficiencies in life. This terrific novel will make you laugh, cry, laugh some more, and leave you with a gladdened heart!
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia
A ready reckoner for a better ‘you’
Next up is the international phenomenon, Ikigai by Hector Garcia. You’ve heard about it or seen it, right? Well, now would be a fantastic idea to devour it as well. A meditative self-help book of sorts, Ikigai is a must read for those struggling with routines, habits and mental health amidst the pandemic. In Japanese, Ikigai translates to ‘finding a purpose to live’. That’s exactly what anyone feeling a little lost in these trying times needs to latch on to. The book details the secrets of Japan’s oldest living citizens on the island of Okinawa on how to live healthier, happier lives – thus encouraging you to follow the same path and find your own ‘ikigai’. The book is a treasure trove of insights on mind-body-soul connections, meditation, mental health, healthy eating, routine forming, and immersing oneself in the simplest joys and pleasures of life.
Home Body by Rupi Kaur
A downpour of emotions with a healing touch
Who hasn’t heard of Rupi Kaur? Her latest bestseller, Home Body, provides a fresh perspective on the themes which she has dabbled with in the past, such as anxiety, depression, love, hope, etc. With bursts of two-line poems and lyrical gems hidden amongst the pages echoing beautiful thoughts on embracing change and introspection, readers will find a lot of relatabilities in Kaur’s words. This is a collection of new-age poems that that anyone can pick up, understand and find delight and comfort in. Go for it!
Like the list? Then it’s time to give your screens a break and soothe yourself with stories and poems that are sure to leave an indelible mark on you. We have another mad idea: you can perhaps even try to pair your reading sessions with magnificent instrumental music boAt headphones. After all, who doesn’t love a good background score, right?