“Quarantine” Book List – Curated by the UC Berkeley English Department

Earlier last week, I reached out to English department faculty members and grad students to gather book recommendations to explore during this time of uncertainty. The selections range from fantastical escapes to tragicomedies, to apocalyptic plots that feel all too relevant to what we are experiencing today. 

We hope that this list will inspire you to find comfort in the simplicity of settling in with a good book.

If you haven’t already, please make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where we will be highlighting book selections with thought-provoking comments from our faculty and grad students.


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden


The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks


Krapp’s Last Tape a one-act play, by Samuel Beckett


Waiting for Godot a play by Samuel Beckett


Watt by Samuel Beckett


When the Sick Rule the World by Dodie Bellamy


The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes


The Plague by Albert Camus


The Brothers K by David James Duncan


The Idiot by F.M. Dostoevsky


The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin


The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh 


The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin 


All for Nothing by Walter Kempowski


Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution by Peter Kropotkin


The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin


Severance by Ling Ma


Circe by Madeline Miller


Uprooted by Naomi Novik


A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki


Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter


The Overstory by Richard Powers


In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust


The Book of the Dead by Muriel Rukeyser


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel


Earth Abides by George R. Stewart


The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki