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A Curated List of Books to Cuddle Up with During Quarantine

Time to carve out a reading nook!
A Curated List of Books to Cuddle Up with During Quarantine
IMAGE INSTAGRAM/durgapolashi
Time to carve out a reading nook!

Now's the time to reawaken the dedicated bookworm you were in high school.

Seeing the responses we've received on our Instagram post asking readers for content inspo during the quarantine, we've decided to do a list of book recos! We've rounded up books to revv up your creativitiy, motivate you, and transport you to different places— all from the safety of your homes, of course. Look no further for a diverse selection of books to get you through the lockdown. 

Self Help / Motivational 

Read My Lips: What It Takes to Build a World-Class Homegrown Brand by Rissa Mananquil Trillo 

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For those of you dreaming of your big break in the beauty industry, Happy Skin co-founder and Chief Brand Officer Rissa Mananquil Trillo offers her mentorship and perspective on the grit, passion, and attitude needed to be a successful beauty entrepreneur. 

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Existential Courage: A Survival Guide For Your Existential Crisis (And All The Ones After That) by Arriane Serafico 

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(Special shoutout to this batch of grad-waiting students!) Here to help you unlock a fulfilling life purpose, Arriane Serafico is a teacher and the founder of The Purposeful Creative, an online community of people on the hunt for what they were each put on this earth to do. Backed with in-depth research as well as the author's own experience, this book will give you a framework with which to combat your existential crises, replacing them with meaningful questions. 

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The ABCs of Journalling by Abbey Sy 

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Celebrities like Coleen Garcia are taking this opportunity to catch up on posting backlogged IG vacation posts. Similarly, mainstay creativity coach Abbey Sy encourages you to catch up on making journal spreads on your latest travels and other interesting experiences worth enshrining. Warning: Journalling is highly addictive and may take up an entire afternoon or two! 

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Literary Nonfiction 

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino 

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If you haven't yet, consider this a cue to jump onto the train of Jia Tolentino, everyones's literary girl crush of 2019. Jia, born to Filipino parents, is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a newly-minted New York Times Bestselling author, thanks to Trick Mirror, her debut essay collection. If you want to laugh or cry over crystal-clear writing on how the Internet has reformed society, the feminist fixation on difficult women, or the tragic arc of female characters in literature, this book is your best bet. 200% recommend. 

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Too Much and Not the Mood by Durga Chew-Bose

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Too Much and Not The Mood opens with the blockbuster essay Heart Museum, which is literally a written museum of the author's heart: she's a generous storyteller, and she holds the personal essay open for the reader to reflect and reminisce, too, as if she were holding open a door for someone to walk through. This is some of the most descriptive, tender writing you will ever come across, and each essay is a masterclass on how to look upon life with poetic and earnest wonder. 

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How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell 

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Unlike what the title suggests, this is not a self-help book. Jenny Odell is a half-Filipina visual artist and academic who serves as an art educator in Stanford University, California, and is a passionate bird-watcher. How To Do Nothing is a heartfelt deep-dive into reclaiming our lives from inauthentic systems that don't prioritize what it means to be a human being with a human soul. This book is hard-hitting and confrontational, but it's definitely life-changing. 

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Photography / Illustration

Playing Long After Us by Shaira Luna 

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Vivacious style icon and sought-after photographer Shaira Luna has blessed us with this enthralling and searingly nostalgic picture book. It's enhanced with five love stories set in five different decades, taking us through the themes of the '50s and the '90s with her instantly recognizable visual touch. This book is perfect as a mood board prompt and a style inspo compilation—  you're sure to love it. 

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The Red Tree by Shaun Tan 

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Formatted like a children's book, Shaun Tan's The Red Tree will immediately shatter your presumptions of it with its groundbreaking ability to convey tedium and despair, which are portrayed as two sides of the same coin. You will be left wide-eyed and breathless by these paintings and everything they hold. 

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Light by Rob Cham 

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Go on an intergalatic Adventure Time-esque adventure with the protagonist of Rob Cham's wordless picturebook, which is a dizzying showcase of boundless imagination as well as an exploration of scale. Light fits in a backpack pocket but can undoubtedly fill a universe. 

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Fiction

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman 

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One of Bianca Umali's favorite authors, Neil Gaiman is a master fictionist known for his dark fantasy stories set in (oftentimes) realistic places and circumstances. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is a quick read, easily finished within three hours at most, but you'll be left with a lingering, dreamy aftertaste for days. In this book, the nameless adult protagonist revisits a string of hazy childhood memories involving the house he used to live in, and family of three women who lived down the road. As he reminsces, he ends up remembering more than he would have liked, and why he had chosen to forget. 

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Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger

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Brought to you by the author of the famed teenage fave Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories is an anthology of, well, nine stories about not much in particular. And that's exactly its magic. Brought to life by a whip-smart third person perspective and unusual dialogue, J.D. Salinger's stories move like real moments, aptly framing the unlikeliness of the mundane, unreliant on intense, epic plots. Here, you get a resolute sense of the ordinary. There's nothing quite like the storytelling found here. 

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White Teeth by Zadie Smith 

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Zadie Smith was twenty-two years old when she wrote White Teeth, her first book. Its plot is soaringly ambitious: after a failed suicide attempt, a middle-aged man named Archie attempts to restart his life by marrying Clara, a much younger woman with a turbulent religious past, and the couple comes into community with a Bangladeshi family fraught with their own existential questions. This novel is a supernova of peculiar events and ideas, a totally intelligent and entertaining arcade of a book. 

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Poetry 

The Maps That Contain Us by Reese Lansangan and Marla Miniano

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Singer-songwriter Reese Lansangan and bestselling author Marla Miniano come together once more for a poetry collection that attempts to disentangle the complex truths to be found in love, loneliness, loss, and life in general, highlighting the restlessness that drives them to search for a sense of home. 

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Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong 

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With an authorial voice light as thread yet sharp as a needle, Ocean Vuong's poetry collection Night Sky With Exit Wounds has been described as an epic of vulnerability. It's both a consolation and a torch in the face of trauma. In this collection, Ocean unpacks his Vietnamese heritage, his relationship with his family, his sexuality, and so much more. 

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