Five Things: The Best Books for Self-Isolation

Social distancing, self-isolation and, in some cases, quarantine means we’ll be spending more time on our own than ever before, so now would be a good time to stock up on some books and escape the drudgery of the short term disruption we’re facing.

Many will be working from home, ourselves included, or keeping an eye on social media and the never-ending news cycle, but we can help our mental wellbeing by taking a break from all that.

To help with that, professional story-tellers and biography writers, StoryTerrace, has created a list of some of the best books that we have never quite got around to reading and those based on some of the greatest life stories ever told, perfect for self-isolation.

Amongst the best books for self isolation is 1984
1984 by George Orwell

This is one of the most iconic books of the 20th century and one of the most impactful on those that read it. The book also tops many lists of books that people claim to have read but have never got round to actually reading as well as one of the books that many people own without ever reading.

Buy 1984 from Amazon.co.uk

Amongst the best books for self isolation is Becoming
Becoming by Michelle Obama

One of the biggest selling autobiographies of 2018 and one of the most inspiring and uplifting. While Michelle may be known by many as the wife of Barack her own achievements serve as a huge inspiration in her own right. Michelle Obama described the experience of writing the book as deeply personal – something that many people that we work with identify with when they write their own book.

Buy Becoming from Amazon.co.uk

The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo

The Alchemist is one of the world’s largest selling books of all-time and has been translated into dozens of languages since its original publication in Portuguese in 1988. It has a truly global reach and is loved by many generations, both by parents and their children. This is a great book to pass on and read together, one of the most valuable parts of stories is the sharing of them with loved ones.

Buy The Alchemist from Amazon.co.uk

Amongst the best books for self isolation is Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Many families, especially on Mothers’ Day, will be using technology developed or influenced by Steve Jobs at Apple. Whether that be through FaceTime on iPhones or iPads, Steve Jobs has had a huge impact on the world we live in today and how we connect with family members in a time of immense social change and upheaval.

Buy Steve Jobs from Amazon.co.uk

Amongst the best books for self isolation is World War Z
World War Z by Max Brooks

Forget the film with Brad Pitt, the original book takes the zombie apocalypse horror novel to a new level. The novel is a collection of individual accounts narrated by an agent of the UN Postwar Commission, following the devastating global conflict against the zombie plague, and record a decade-long desperate struggle, as experienced by people of various nationalities. Still banned in China, there are some similarities to the current virus outbreak that hit a little too close to home.

Buy World War Z from Amazon.co.uk


“This is an incredibly difficult time for many families dealing with the new measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 but it may offer a chance to take the time to finally read the book you have wanted to get round to, or sit down and talk to family members about your own story – either in person or over video calling technology,” commented Rutger Bruining, CEO and founder of StoryTerrace.

“We normally pair our writers with individuals to interview them about their life stories in person but we are now offering these interviews over video calling software,” he adds, explaining the StoryTerrace service. “We have helped a number of clients create amazing life storybooks of their own remotely and now could be a great chance to reflect on amazing lives by telling stories to children or other family members.”

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Phil Huff

Phil Huff is one of the UK’s leading motoring journalists, with years of experience test driving new cars for national magazines and newspapers, as well as popular online sites. When not driving other people’s cars, he can be found provoking the ire of Cambridge residents in his old Corvette.