Right now, it’s hard to think of anything but what is happening in the world. In almost all countries, there have been major lockdowns, quarantines, and regulations put into place to avoid the spread of COVID-19. New York City, in particular, has closed schools, universities, restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas and more. Offices have also closed, leaving many people working from home. And while it would be optimistic to think that everything could be the same, or even similar, with working remotely, or for some, not working at all (you cannot be a waitress from home, I’ve discovered), boredom and sense of dread are just a few of the symptoms being experienced. Like being sad and wanting only to listen to Lana del Rey or The Smiths, sometimes it’s better to lean into your emotions through music, films and, especially, books. Reading is a somewhat less guilt-ridden pastime than binge-watching Netflix shows, and what better way to do it right now, by choosing topical apocalyptic and isolating novels written by women. Also, remember that it’s probably smarter and kinder to download these books on a Kindle or app to save the still-at-work delivery people from putting themselves and their families at risk.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
If you’ve always wanted to, or haven’t for a while, reading this classic and most iconic post-apocalyptic feminist novel right now is perfect. Plus, after that, there’s a whole three-season series on Hulu to watch after.
Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
There’s a reason, a just one too, that women authors often write about the effects of women in the event of chaos and a breakdown in society. Women give life and are often physically weaker, meaning they are both vital and vulnerable. In this novel, women are being rounded up like animals and taken to birthing centers because of a rare novelty of newborns being born with primitive aspects. For pregnant Cedar Hawk Songmaker, this means in order to keep herself and unborn child safe she must hide the truth.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Another classic, and another movie-adapted book series that will fill your isolated days with a new now-more-than-ever-realistic future to zone out to.
Past This Point by Nicole Mabry
An eerily similar setting with what’s going on now, a virus spreading and locking down the city, forces recluse and germaphobe Karis and her dog Zeke to “wait it out”. Soon, she has gone months without human interaction other than some friendly neighbors, is running out of supplies and ideas of how to escape. Who knows, maybe reading this will give you some tips on what to do if this is really is ~the end~
Severance by Ling Ma
While covers shouldn’t be an important factor of a book, this one is a millennial pink and so I’m programmed to want it. Other than that, the book focuses on a millennial office worker in NYC, who is living through a virus swept nation and loneliness once people start to flee the city. Sound familiar?
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Okay, so not apocalyptic- but close. Anne Frank was locked in a room with her family and others waiting out war and a dictator who wanted them dead just because of their religion and ancestry. At times, none of them knew what was happening, and as a young girl who may have not understood what or why it was happening, it almost definitely felt like the end of the world.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Otessa Moshfegh
A woman decides, after a break-up and losing loved ones, to sleep for a year with the help of her highly-irresponsible physiatrist’s prescriptions. Only leaving a few times for bodega coffee, snacks, and medicine, the protagonist rarely leaves her apartments. And, with all the pill-induced ramblings, this will feel familiar to what is most likely going on in your head atm at 2 a.m. when you can’t sleep, because what the actual fuck is going on?
Image Courtesy of Pieter Janssens Elinga via Wikimedia
More on BUST
“How To Be Fine” Is Exactly The Kind Of Self-Help Book We Desperately Deserve
11 Feminist Bops To Scream Into The Void (While Washing Your Hands)
The Coronavirus Exposes A Glaring Issue With America’s Healthcare System