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6 Books to Read While Sheltering in Place

By Allison Kooser

With extended time at home, we have found ourselves turning to great books more than ever. Books open up the challenges and victories of other people’s worlds when we need an escape from our own; literary adventures provide an opportunity to travel and explore—no airplane required; and, a great page-turner is all we need on hand to learn something new in this season of quarantine.

If you’re looking for a book to pick up while you’re sheltering in place, why not choose one of our favorite Opportunity Book Club selections! Here are six books that you might enjoy:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A GREAT STORY…
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

An enthralling novel that spans generations and geographies, Homegoing follows the lives of two half-sisters in Ghana—one who finds herself in Cape Coast Castle and the other who is sold into slavery. Moving from colonial Ghana to Mississippi plantations to Jazz Era Harlem, this is a book we couldn’t put down.

 

Factfulness by Hans Rosling

IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW…
Factfulness by Hans Rosling

One of our all-time favorite books is Factfulness by Hans Rosling. This challenged our perception of just about everything, and raised countless questions that expanded our worldview. Best of all, it encourages an honest optimism and reminds us just how much progress we have made. 

 

Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO FEEL INSPIRED…
Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

This book—which is one-part inspiring stories, one-part well-researched data, and one-part call to action—opened our eyes to the incredible, and often untapped, power of women. As Malala Yousafzai described, “This book is an urgent manifesto for an equal society where all women are valued and recognized in all spheres of life. Most of all, it is a call for unity, inclusion, and connection. We need this message more than ever.”

 

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO READ WITH YOUR KIDS…
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

When William was a young boy in Malawi, he dreamed of bringing his village two things: electricity and running water. With metal scraps and a lot of determination, William did what everyone else thought was crazy. He built what his neighbors needed, making him a hero whose story inspires all of us. Best of all, this book is excellent to read with your family. There is even a young reader’s version available!  

 

Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu

IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO TACKLE A BIG PROJECT…
Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson

This book is not for the faint of heart—it’s admittedly quite long, but it’s also a great choice for anyone interested in poverty and development. The New York Review of Books asserted that it “should be required reading for…anyone concerned with economic development.” It’s “intellectually rich,” “a splendid piece of scholarship,” and “a brilliant book.”

 

Monstress by Lysley Tenorio

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SHORT STORIES…
Monstress by Lysley Tenorio

Tenorio, a Filipino-American author, weaves stories that move between the Philippines and California in this celebrated short story collection. He explores family and our need for connection—something we’re all spending more time thinking about these days.

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