It’s easy to lose your get-up-and-go when going anywhere is such a challenge. Old routines have been disrupted, and new routines might not be settling in as quickly or as comfortably as we’d like. Fortunately, one thing we can still count on is the power of reading to bring calm and restore focus. From the book experts at Rakuten Kobo, here’s a list of eBooks and audiobooks to provide motivation, insight and escape — and hopefully help boost your sense of optimism.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Disruptions offer us the chance to make something new: the author of Eat Pray Love asks us to think about what we need to be able to create and live freely. And she invites us to a life without fear.
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Perhaps increased isolation offers an opportunity to reflect on how we listen to and interpret others? Malcolm Gladwell overturns a series of assumptions that will help you better understand your own biases and get closer to what’s actually being said.
Rising Strong by Brené Brown
If we can confront what’s really bothering us, we can know ourselves better and get to the other side of that hurt. Social scientist and TED Talk superstar Brené Brown thinks we’re strong enough to take that step.
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
When Sheryl Sandberg suddenly lost her husband to an accident, it seemed she would never feel joy again. Her friend Adam Grant, a prominent psychologist, offered insights on how we find strength and build resilience, and ultimately rediscover joy.
How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
Maybe the right solution for that anxious undirected feeling of urgency is to drop it entirely. For Jenny Odell that starts with focusing on where we’re letting our attention go, and thinking deeply about what we really want to pay attention to.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
Knowing the psychology of motivation can help us understand what’s missing if we’re feeling like we can’t get going. Daniel Pink lays out the latest psychology on what we need in order to start making an effort.
When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön
When all else fails, or ideally before it all fails, try a zen approach. Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön’s wisdom has been helping readers for decades to find wisdom and self-knowledge in heartache.
Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang
To read one of Ted Chiang’s stories is to feel time distort — as you somehow spend only minutes in a world that feels like you’ve occupied it for years. As we find new ways to fill our days, this new collection of stories from the author of the story that provided the basis for the 2016 movie Arrival is the perfect escape capsule from this strange moment.
Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
Matt Haig had to work hard to stop feeling terrible all the time. This is the story of his journey from depression and anxiety to a state of mental health that lets him pursue creative fulfillment in a world that sometimes seems determined to foster unhappiness.
I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O’Farrell
Novelist Maggie O’Farrell has had many vivid reminders of her mortality throughout her life. In this memoir she tells the stories of seventeen times death brushed past her, and how that’s provided her with vivid reminders of the preciousness of life.
Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson
Mark Manson reminds us in his trademark abrasive way that if we focus on what we can change rather than everything that’s f-, er let’s say, sub-optimal, we can often make meaningful progress towards our goals.
For more reading recommendations, as well as interviews with authors and celebrities about books, visit the Kobo blog.