Must-Read Books by Female Authors for Students in Quarantine

With students returning to halls, the number of people required to self-isolate has risen. Whether you are isolating with your flatmates whilst waiting for a test, in a two-week quarantine, or just fancy a good read for the dark wintery days, I’ve got you covered.

First up is Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. This book is the perfect blend of funny and moving as the protagonist navigates her life through a breakup, work stress, and friendship difficulties. Whilst taking a light-hearted spin, Carty-Williams explores what it is like to be a young, black woman living in a cosmopolitan city. This book is eye-opening in how it deals with Queenie’s individual experience and offers a refreshing perspective on topics such as mental health, family, and race. This is definitely worth the read; once you start, you won’t want to put it down.

Next is Normal People by Sally Rooney. So, you may have already gone through the Normal People stage of lockdown in watching Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones inhabit the roles of Connell and Marianne (and if you haven’t watched the series, you must). But have you read the book? If not, this is the perfect read for a rainy day accompanied by a cup of tea. Melancholy in tone, the plot follows Connell and Marianne as they navigate their personal relationship through high school and university. This book is the epitome of sad sunshine but is an absolute must read if you’re in isolation.

Moving on to slightly more dense fiction, we have the Wolf Hall trilogy. Okay, so you might need more than fourteen days of quarantine to read these, but they’re still worth it. The Mirror and the Light was released in March 2020, but I would advise beginning with Wolf Hall, the first book in the series. This will give you the context you need as well as allowing you to enjoy Hilary Mantel’s clever writing. Mantel takes a different spin on the character of Thomas Cromwell, as he becomes a family man in addition to the ruthless politician. Again, these books are quite heavy going, but if you’re looking for some intellectual stimulation with an engaging story, they are perfect for you.

Perhaps you fancy sprinkling a little magic into your reading, in which case I highly recommend Laura Esquivel’s Like Water For Chocolate. Set in the time of the Mexican Revolution, this book centres on the love story of Tita and Pedro, and is a great work of magical realism. With themes of self-growth, family, and womanhood, this book is the perfect way to fill a day of isolation. The movie is on Netflix too (for when you’ve finished reading!). 

In addition to these novels, you might fancy some non-fiction. I highly recommend In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park. This piece is a fascinating read as well as incredibly inspirational. Park speaks of her experiences as a child in North Korea, and how she eventually escaped into China, and later South Korea. Whilst an emotional read, this book is also insightful and informative. To whet your appetite, you can read Yeonmi Park’s interview with the Guardian here!

Hopefully these are enough to keep you going whilst being restricted to your home. It’s important to remember not to feel pressured to be productive during isolation, so don’t feel bad if you don’t finish a book! These are just a few ideas to keep you occupied. Stay safe, and happy reading!