A good thing about self-isolating and quarantining is (assuming you are graced with good health) a chance to get lost in a new book – an activity our busy lives seldom leave time for. It’s a chance to learn something new, travel half way around the world from your couch, or gain empathy for an entire new way of life. In the words of Fran Lebowitz: “A book is not supposed to be a mirror. It’s supposed to be a door.”

I asked Bidtellectuals to share their favorite quarantine reads or books they’d recommend. Each is linked to the book or author’s website so you can find the easiest place to buy it. (Unless your local library has opened up – in which case, lucky you!)

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say.

“It is a coming of age story with a murder twist that you will not see coming! I had to re-read the last few chapters because I was so surprised I could not believe what happened. I follow Reese’s Book Club on Instagram and have not been disappointed with her suggestions yet!”

Abigail Kozacek Bojanic, Account Manager – Central

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Erik Larson—author of #1 bestseller In the Garden of Beasts—intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. 

“I’m reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, a non-fiction book told in a narrative style that delves into the history of Chicago in the late 19th century around the 1893 World’s Fair. This was an era when city architecture was really beginning to burgeon in the major US cities. The significance and hype of building + hosting the Fair event served as an impetus for numerous serial killings that would occur. What I’ve enjoyed is how the book fuses history, architecture, and murder mystery so well. I’ve learned a lot and am excited for the Hulu series to eventually come out starring Leonardo DiCaprio directed by Martin Scorsese!”

Nicholas Herbst, Platform Solutions Analyst

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Based on years of immersive reporting and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy. “A work of deep observation, long conversations, and a kind of journalistic alchemy” (Kate Tuttle, NPR), Three Women introduces us to three unforgettable women—and one remarkable writer—whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.

“A standout among the many nonfiction books I read. Follow along as three real women grapple with secrets and taboos. It’s raw and addicting. My jaw dropped many times.”

Carissa Parrish, Director of Sales, East

Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman

In this arresting memoir about growing up in—and ultimately escaping from—a strict Hasidic community, Deborah Feldman reveals what life is like trapped within a religious sect that values silence and suffering over individual freedoms.

“Fascinating, illuminating, inspiring… Even more so given I lived in Crown Heights, Brooklyn for a couple of years amongst a sect of the Hasidic community that I clearly knew so little about. The Netflix series inspired by this memoir is also amazing, although a completely different story in many ways (they made some key changes to make it more appealing for television). I recommend reading this then watching the series. You won’t be able to put it down. Deborah is inspiring.”

Charlotte Otremba, Sr. Manager Marketing and Communications

Eragon by Christopher Paolini 

Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.

“I really like epic fantasy settings with engaging plot lines.”

Mitchell Enfield, UI/UX Developer

Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

On the night before he was to turn forty, Rich Roll experienced a chilling glimpse of his future. Nearly fifty pounds overweight and unable to climb the stairs without stopping, he could see where his current sedentary life was taking him—and he woke up. Finding Ultra is an incredible but true account of achieving one of the most awe-inspiring midlife physical transformations ever.

“Inspired me to get running!”

Michael Feeley, VP Supply Partnerships and Product Solutions

Atomic Habits by James Clear

This breakthrough book from James Clear is the most comprehensive guide on how to change your habits and get 1% better every day.

Jason Boshoff, COO

Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle

The team behind How Google Works returns with management lessons from legendary coach and business executive, Bill Campbell, whose mentoring of some of our most successful modern entrepreneurs has helped create well over a trillion dollars in market value.

“One of the better books on leadership I have read. Summed up by the idea that positive human values generate positive business outcomes.”

Craig Aron, SVP, Growth and Strategic Business Development

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, bestselling author, and “patron saint of female empowerment” (People) explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us. Untamed is about how to be brave: The braver we are, the luckier we get.

“This is the book I needed and the book we all need. Doyle’s writing cuts to the heart of matters and forces you to reevaluate the parts of your life you are living to please others at the sacrifice of your true self. And for what? I could neither put this down nor stop underlining passages – and will probably read it again. She wrote two memoirs before this about staying in her marriage, which she left once she instantly fell in love with soccer star/Olympic gold medalist Abby Wambach.”

Charlotte Otremba, Sr. Manager Marketing and Communications

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

In his #1 New York Times bestseller, The 5 Love Languages®, Dr. Gary Chapman presents a simple truth: relationships grow better when we understand each other. Everyone gives and receives love differently, but with a little insight into these differences, we can be confidently equipped to communicate love well.

Jason Boshoff, COO

Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

The book that makes marketing easy.

“The best and simplest approach I have learned to ensure your potential clients understand your value proposition.”

Michael Feeley, VP Supply Partnerships and Product Solutions

$2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin

After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen since the mid-1990s — households surviving on virtually no income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to 1.5 million American households, including about 3 million children. 

“Some of the stories are unimaginable yet potentially timely in today’s uncertainty.”

Michael Feeley, VP Supply Partnerships and Product Solutions

I hope you found this recommendation list of quarantine reads helpful! Remember, there’s no quicker escape from life than opening a book. Enjoy. 

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