You know what I’ve heard a lot of? “I’m bored.” And that’s a trash take. Wanna know why? Because we haven’t even been stuck in our homes for two weeks yet. When Trump issued his 15-day “no 10 people or more parties” on March 16, that marked the moment most people began to take social distancing and keeping to themselves seriously. And for good measure. Flattening the curve is a simple thing to comprehend: Don’t let everyone get sick at once because if we do, the hospitals are basically f—ked.
Since the White House’s request, local governments have been following suit, issuing shutdowns and pleading with people to not leave their homes for anything nonessential. Because of this, a lot of people have been stuck at home before, during and after work, and this lack of movement and variety has caused people to claim “boredom.” I know, folks – these Netflix and Hulu updates can’t come fast enough, but streaming services and movie databases aren’t the only forms of entertainment.
So what am I suggesting? Maybe take a walk through a distant land using your imagination, a.k.a. read a damn book. I’m just a lowly casual reader myself – so much so that I often accumulate books at a rate beyond my ability to read them, which leads to a clutter of unread texts on my shelfs. With that being said, I’m not talking down to you unless you’re claiming that you’re bored. And if you are, maybe give these books a whirl.
If You’re Into Science Fiction Movies Like Arrival, Annihilation or Interstellar
Book: Exhalation by Ted Chiang
Ted Chiang is an excellent science fiction writer because his worlds make sense. How many times have you tried to read or watch something that deals in theoretical physics only to get completely lost in the minutiae of the story’s details. In this book of short stories, Chiang creates scenarios and characters that feel extremely human despite the fact that they deal with tropes like time travel, artificial intelligence and environmental challenges. Chiang famously penned the short story “Stories of Our Lives,” which became Arrival and is easily one of most consistently entertaining writers in the genre. Bonus: He includes author notes at the back, which describe how and why he was inspired to write on a particular topic. TLDR: Digestible, short stories that will freak you out and have you pondering existence.
If You Liked Game of Thrones but Hated the Last Season
Book: Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin
This anthology book by the creator of the Song of Ice and Fire franchise covers the vast history of the Targaryen dynasty, beginning more than 300 years before the events of the primary novels and television series. If you thought the final season of Game of Thrones was harsh on Dany and her family lineage, this is the book for you. If you want more dragons and more incest, this is the book for you. Or, if you’re just really into the lore of fantasy worlds with weather patterns that defy all we know about spherical planets in space, then this is the book for you. TLDR: It has a huge chapter on the Dance of Dragons War, which come on, DRAGONS!
If You’re Really Into Movies But Can’t Settle on What to Watch on Netflix etc.
Book: Movies and Other Things by Shea Serrano
Ringer staff writer, former middle school teacher and social media angel Shea Serrano is not a movie critic, nor a film expert in the traditional sense of the terms. He’s not highlighting camera angles, blocking, acting techniques or whether a director is ripping off another director. Instead, he’s asking the important questions. Were the Jurassic Park raptors misunderstood? What was Dominic Toretto’s win-loss record? Which race was white-saviored the best by Kevin Costner? Who’s in the perfect heist movie crew? Instead of in-depth breakdowns of AFI’s 100 Greatest, this book represents irreverent things most people talk about their friends with, which is to say, it’s probably the most relatable movie book on the market. Plus, Serrano is hilarious and is genuinely good person, so give him some of your money. Also, also: Arturo Torres is one of the best illustrators in the history of books. TLDR: A bunch of funny, witty essays by a dude who really loves movies.
If You Thought 1917 or Jojo Rabbit Deserved Best Picture or If You’re Just Really Into War Movies
Book: City of Thieves by David Benioff
Before he torpedoed Game of Thrones and pitched a problematic television series based on if the confederacy won the Civil War, David Benioff was a novelist. In fact, he wrote The 25th Hour and a collection of short stories titled When the Nines Roll Over and Other Stories. While the other two entries are enjoyable reads, there’s something special about City of Thieves, a self-contained story about two Russian soldiers in the midst of WWII who are charged with finding eggs in order to help with a birthday cake. Wait, what? Yeah, that’s the general plot without venturing into spoiler territory. It’s funny, it’s heart-wrenching and its ending doesn’t turn into a dumpster fire. TLDR: A funny, gripping novel about two guys traveling the Russian countryside during German occupation in WWII.
If You’re A Romantic
Book: Basketball: A Love Story by Jackie MacMullan, Rafe Bartholomew and Dan Klores
Gotcha! Well, kind of? No, it’s not your traditional romance novel with two people falling in love after serendipitously running into each other in a plethora of scenarios, but it is a book about individuals forming a deep connection with tremendous passion. Essentially a collection of interviews, Basketball: A Love Story is organized as an oral history defining how some of basketball’s greatest legends found the sport and dedicated their lives to it. So if you ever wondered how or why these players, coaches and journalists decided to make the sport their 24/7, the answer is in here somewhere.TLDR: A bunch of people talk about how great basketball is, and they’re not wrong at all. PLEASE COME BACK!
Want to read with us? DC Fray is hosting a virtual book club on May 7 at 7 p.m. EST. The first book up is The Wives by Tarryn Fisher. Please support your local bookstore (many can ship it to you, if you call) or if you don’t have a local spot, you can use our Amazon affiliate link here.