Existing sources of inspiration have begun to fizzle out as we count over 6 weeks of physical distancing from the rest of the world.

It sounds almost COVID-cliché to say that reading a book is a great idea right now, but not only do books educate us and make us think bigger, they transport us to a faraway place—sometimes a place that only exists between the book covers. Whether we’re reading about pandemics in another reality, controversial memoirs, or Oprah’s latest self-help recommendation, we’re entering spheres that are different from ours, constantly learning to think differently and question more. Let’s not forget the expansion of our vocabulary too, but that’s just an added bonus.

It’s been said that reading can put our brains into a state similar to meditation. A multitude of research efforts have indicated mental health and therapeutic benefits of reading, which include increased empathy, improvement of social skills, and a decrease in depression. Some experts also suggest that reading true accounts of struggle and triumph can validate a reader’s personal experience and reduce stigma.

When it comes to picking the right book, there’s no judgement here. Finding the perfect page-turner requires an open mind. Team GMD has rounded up some of our current favourites, covering a variety on the spectrum that will hopefully help the indecisive ones find a book that suits them.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Recommendation by Robert Huynh

Why should you read this book?

“This collection of humorous personal essays details the author’s experience as a new transplant to Paris and his attempt to learn French. With an overarching theme of voice and identity (he works to overcome a lisp as a child and ponders gender assignments of French nouns in his language classes as an adult, for example), the way language is used is a recurring theme.

Some things I loved most about the book are his one-liners and the general way he observes human interaction and happenings through introspection. If you’re intrigued but need a little more convincing, you can catch David Sedaris’ podcasts on ‘This American Life’ to sample his wit and candour.”


The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
Recommendation by Tyler Mounteney

Why should you read this book?

“I watched the correlating film of this book a few years back and was totally drawn into the characters and premise. I recently found a copy with the original cover at a used book shop, and it was sitting on my bedside when all of this kicked off. It seemed like an appropriate time to read this, but perhaps it hits a bit too close to home. It’s as much about how people deal with decision making and conflict as it is about a deadly virus.

This novel is a thriller that was written in the late 1960s and based in New Mexico. It uncovers a series of investigations that are carried out by scientists as they learn about the extraterrestrial microorganism that is causing the outbreak. I highly recommend this book to those of you who have taken a liking to movies about outbreaks lately.”


Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Recommendation by Adina Mussina

Why should you read this book?

“Have you ever wondered why our intestines are so long? Or why many of us have up to 4% of Neanderthal DNA? Or why do humans gossip so much?

If you have, this book answers your questions about our existence in a very methodical and logical way. Easy to grasp comparisons and concepts is what made this book so widely available for anyone who wants to know more about the evolution of humankind but may not be familiar with anthropological terminology. Yuval Noah Harari definitely makes you reconsider your place in this world and everything you know about your anatomy and behaviour.”


American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Book recommendation by Rachel Simrose

Why should you read this book?

“I love a novel that can totally immerse you in the story, and I could not put this book down. The characters were so well developed that I really felt empathy and investment in their journey. And while this storyline is not intended to be uplifting as a whole, I felt it was a great way to really put the current start of the world into perspective.”


The Color of Our Sky – Amrita Trasi
Book recommendation by Shana Gill

Why should you read this book?

“Do you ever just look for a book that you know is going to break your heart?

This novel was captivating and tragic, offering lessons about friendship and love, but also about the social injustices that continue to go ignored around the world. The book conveys a neat two-person narration that sheds light on the destined sisterhood of two young girls in Mumbai, India, who lose touch when one of them is kidnapped at a very young age.

Without being explicit, the writer underlines human trafficking and corrupt practices that are still alive and well not only in India, but other parts of the world too.

This book is incredibly thought-provoking and hard to put down. The only reason I was able to put it down was to take a break and get in a good cry for what I was reading. This is one that I’ll be passing along to others and re-read myself in the future.”


We hope that our recommendations have encouraged you to brush that “someday” dust off those books you’ve tucked away and give ’em a chance. If the first book you open doesn’t capture your attention, park a bookmark in it and reach for another. After all, we flip through several channels before we find the right show, right?

We wish you safe travels on your mental vacation, friends.