5 Short Reads To Beat The Quarantine Gloom

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Dee Das

Staff Writer

Trying to live, love, and say it well in good sentences. Pronouns: she/her. Contact:

With so much happening around us, it’s pretty hard to stay focused on one thing for hours. As a result of which we are often hard on ourselves for not being productive enough. Worry no more as here is a list of short books that you can finish reading in a day or two. Reading is not just a pleasant distraction but also gives you a sense of accomplishment. And finding hope in the pages of a book is imperative to our mental health right now, as we can’t go out.

The dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Honestly, it won’t take you more than ten minutes to flip through the pages but it will stay with you forever. Who would have thought that a 30 page long children’s picture book can be so nuanced! The story follows a young child, Veshti, who thinks she is terrible at drawing. Her teacher encouraged her to start with drawing a circle and this led to a series of fortunate events, validating Veshti’s artistic prowess, much to her surprise. This book is a huge lesson on overcoming creative block and finding a way out of the most difficult of circumstances.

The night diary by Veera Hiranandani

This book captures the story of the Partition of India from a pre-pubescent child’s perspective. Even though there are multiple books that tell the tale of the other side of Partition, the one that is conveniently eliminated by history textbooks, what makes this story unique is its child narrator. The sheer ridiculousness of the entire situation, followed by a gut-wrenching bloodbath, is something Nisha grapples hard to comprehend. The love, empathy, and wisdom that this young child has, is lacking in our politicians, who were supposed to be the protectors of human rights. Their political agenda is far removed from the wellbeing of individuals and this book subtly brings that out. It will get you hooked from start and two solid afternoons are what you need to finish it.

The Vagina Monologues by Eva Ensler

This book undoubtedly is a major building block of the feminist movement. Eva Ensler dares to talk openly about vaginas. Sexual liberation is a colossal part of women’s empowerment and that can’t be achieved if there is still so much stigma attached to genitals. She refers to a vagina by its name, instead of using some societally approved euphemism like ‘down there’. Only by embracing our vaginas in their totality, we can become so much more. Ensler talks about a number of topics that include, masturbation, sex work, sexual violence, body image issues, the myths associated with vaginas, female genital mutilation, etc. This book is important and shouldn’t take you more than a few hours to finish.

The poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Don’t get intimidated by the page length as The Poet X is a verse novel. It won’t take you more than two sittings and the way it has been written makes it very easy to read. It’s the debut novel by renowned slam poet- Elizabeth Acevedo. Xiomara feels unheard till she discovers slam poetry that marks the turning point of her life. She pours her rage and frustration into creating and the product is beautiful poetry. This book explores a lot of themes, starting from teenage angst to toxic parents and dysfunctional families. The level of grit and fierceness that this young girl is commendable.

Ghost boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

This is a story of racial profiling and police brutality, that follows a ghost narrator- Jerome. This twelve-year-old boy was shot by a White cop who mistook his toy gun for a real one but was allowed to go scot-free with minimum repercussions. While this story is extremely sad, the last part will leave you with hope. The story initially will feel like a sunset when the world is losing its color, but then comes the promise of the moon. The sun might not be visible all the time but it always leaves a part of its light for us. It won’t take you more than a couple of sittings to finish this book.