Given that a lot of us are stuck inside for longer periods of time than normal, I’ve assembled a list of some of my favorite books. Included are several novels that seem fitting for the present circumstances. Or, after skimming through the list, you can just go back to watching Netflix.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

by Gabriel García Márquez

I’ll be honest: It took me a while to read this. But it’s worth it. The supernatural elements that place in the fictional town of Macondo, along with the characters who inhabit it, make this novel a saga worth reading, and the ending will blow your mind.

Catch 22

by Joseph Heller

If I’m making a list of books to read, this one has to be on it. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much while reading a book. Many have likened the current pandemic to a war, and this novel hilariously exhibits the hypocrisies during wartime, albeit a wartime filled with weapons instead of Clorox.

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler

by Italo Calvino

A book about people reading books couldn’t be more relevant than now as everyone is trying to kill time in quarantine. This novel starts out in second person and only gets wilder from there.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation

by Ottessa Moshfegh

I’m not sure that a book about trying to sleep one’s year away could better describe the national psyche at this moment. Anyway, I’m a sucker for endings and this one’s got a good one. It also briefly mentions Purdue’s own president, Mitch Daniels, when he was in the Bush administration as the director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Conversations with Friends

by Sally Rooney

Remember those things you liked having not over Zoom? Well, this one realistically and spectacularly exhibits a lot of the intricacies of social situations, particularly in the advent of digital communication, where a lot of our interactions are taking place now.

The Hitchhiker’s Trilogy

by Douglas Adams

Adam’s five-book series, which has been purposefully inaccurately labeled a “trilogy,” still contains some of the most hilarious moments I’ve read, from revealing the “meaning of life” to the signature phrase that’s particularly appropriate right now, as always: “Don’t Panic.”

Dark Matter

by Blake Crouch

A thrilling science-fiction novel about multiple realities and the decisions one makes. It’s wildly entertaining and definitely a page-turner.

Breakfast of Champions

by Kurt Vonnegut

It’s got a lot of funny drawings. And I’m a book — I mean, English — major, so I know what I’m talking about.


by George Orwell

While “Animal Farm” is another one of my favorites, no list of books to read during a pandemic would be complete without Orwell’s dystopian novel, which has drawn numerous comparisons to the seemingly dystopian world we live in now.

There There

by Tommy Orange &

Native Speaker

by Chang-rae Lee

I read each of these for different classes, and they are perhaps two of my favorite books I’ve had to read during my time at Purdue so far. I couldn’t pick just one to include, so I’m including both because a Top 11 list just isn’t as satisfying.

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