A definitive guide: The 15 best books to read while you're self-isolating.

Whilst the world grapples with living in self-isolation and quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve suddenly all found ourselves… at home. By ourselves. With more time.

And whilst friends are great, there really is no companion like a good book.

Whether we simply need an escape via a fiction book or some inspiration from a self-help book, now seems like a particularly good time to get stuck into a bit of reading.

Here are all the books Mamamia staff members and readers have been recommending lately.


Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeymoon

This best-selling book follows Eleanor Oliphant, a woman who struggles with profound loneliness and has little human contact in her life. It’s a heartbreaking but hilarious read.

Boy Swallows Universe – Trent Dalton

Books to read in quarantine
Image: Dymocks.

Set in Brisbane, 1983, Boy Swallows Universe is about a boy named Eli who lives a complicated life with a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious criminal for a babysitter.

The Lost Man - Jane Harper

When a man is found dead in the remote Australian outback, his two brothers band together to determine exactly what happened.


The Break - Marian Keyes

The Break follows a woman whose husband has told her he wants a six-month break from their marriage.

Such A Fun Age - Kiley Reid

Books to read in quarantine
Image: Dymocks.

Such A Fun Age follows a young babysitter, "her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both."

Before We Were Yours - Lisa Wingate

This critically-acclaimed book sees 12-year-old Rill Foss left in charge of her four younger siblings when they are taken to an orphanage after their father has to rush their mother to the hospital.

Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng

This novel focuses on a suburban neighbourhood filled with secrets, with the novel's central themes being motherhood and mystery.

Normal People - Sally Rooney

Normal People follows the love story of on-again-off-again couple Marianne and Connell over a five-year period.

Non-fiction and self-help books

Educated - Tara Westover


Educated is a memoir by Tara Westover, who was born to radical survivalists on a farm in rural Idaho; away from school, doctors, authority and away from the ‘corruption’ and dangers her father believed had overrun American society.

Listen: Tara Westover talks to Mia Freedman about what life was like actively planning for the 'End Of The World'. Post continues below. 

LOVE! - Zoë Foster Blake

We all need some love right now. Australian author Zoë Foster Blake provides a modern guide on all things relationships, dating and love.

Becoming - Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama's memoir leaves no stone unturned, covering everything from the gorgeous story of her falling in love at work with the future President of the United States to attending Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century - Yuval Noah Harari

This book deals with issues that face the present day as Yuval Noah Harari attempts to unravel the technological, political and social issues of our time.

Man's Search for Meaning - Victor E. Frankl

Dr Frankl recounts his personal experience of being a Jewish prisoner in multiple Nazi concentration camps while weaving in his own studies in human psychology and resilience.

Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert had a husband, home, and a successful career, yet she still felt unfulfilled. Fresh from a divorce, Gilbert's memoir recounts her travels in Italy, India and Indonesia, as she goes on a journey of self-discovery.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F**k - Sarah Knight

Author Sarah Knight teaches readers how to get rid of guilt, shame and unwanted obligations, so they can stop giving a f**k about things that don’t matter – and start living the kind of life they actually want to live.

Do you have a book to recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

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