Because Task Rabbit isn’t an option right now, Hypebeast’s editors have compiled this list of tried and true books for trying times. The 16 novels, cookbooks, and how-to guides which follow span critically acclaimed literature, DIY guides to finally learning a hard skill, and one worst-case-scenario cookbook we hope you’ll never have to crack open. Even if these books don’t solve all your existential worry, hopefully they lift your spirits—or at least keep your emotional intelligence sharp for future interactions.
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi, David Zilber
Fermented foods have nourished human civilizations for millennia. What better time to try than now? And what better teachers than the legendary head chef of two Michelin-starred restaurant Noma, René Redzepi, and his Director of Fermentation, David Zilber? (Side note: we visited Zilber’s lab for Issue 26: The Rhythms Issue.)
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
What would happen if everyone on earth was in the same place and they all jumped at the same time? What if we took a swim in a nuclear reactor containment pool? These questions and more, are addressed with the full gravity of scientific knowledge combined with the irreverence of a comic book. A fully trustworthy source as Munroe used to be a NASA roboticist before quitting to draw comics full-time.
A Little Bit of Everything For Dummies
With chapters on leveling up your dating game, becoming a sommelier, and compassion-focused therapy, this 500-page primer has enough material for any aspiring jack-of-all-trades. Suitable for beginning to advanced users.
Emotional Intelligence for Dummies by Steven J. Stein
Whether co-quarantining by choice or by circumstance, it is our sincere hope that the experience is as enjoyable as humanly possible. This book may help with that. Or, read it alone in preparation for when we finally rejoin society.
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson
The question, “What happens after we die?” can be followed with a more pragmatic and less exciting “What happens to our stuff after we die?” The method of Swedish “death cleaning”—dubbed döstädning—revolves around keeping our clutter at bay in such a way so that when we do make our eventual exit from this earth, it’s easier on our loved ones stuck with all the stuff we don’t mention in our will. Morbid? Yes. Nihilistic? Slightly. But if it works, it works.
This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay
A daily log by former NHS obstetrician Dr. Adam Kay, the journal chronicles the flaws, the brokenness and the anxiety within our healthcare system—and within ourselves—with a mixture of gut-wrenching humor, wit and grief. An especially poignant read, as most of us cannot truly realize the Herculean amount of dedication required of frontline medical staff, whether they be fighting a deadly pandemic or otherwise. Be nice to your nurses and doctors.
Microwave for One by Sonia Allison
We hope no one will ever need this. But the book’s Amazon reviews are entertainment enough.
The Way of the Iceman by Wim Hof, Koen de Jong
Extreme cold-weather athlete Wim Hof holds multiple Guinness World Records for conquering outlandish physical feats at below-freezing temperatures, including a barefoot half-marathon on the Arctic Circle’s frozen tundra. With the breathing methods and training program he outlines in the book, he claims you can boost energy, relieve stress, and build mental resilience. Sign us up for all of the above.
American Politics: A Graphic Guide by Laura Locker, illustrated by Jules Scheele
Brush up on American politics without the rhetoric. From Washington to Trump, this up-to-the-minute guide walks through the ins and outs of U.S. history and politics with helpful comic strips, just in time for November.
The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief by Clair Davies
Trigger points are tiny, contracted knots in our myofascial muscle tissue, produced when a muscle is overworked. If it sounds familiar, it’s probably because most of us have developed trigger points at one time or another. This book shows us how to produce instantaneous relief through massage therapy. A much-needed read, regardless of whether our bodies belong to the brave souls working overtime or the ones obediently glued to the sofa.
The Timber-Frame Home-Design, Construction, Finishing by Tedd Benson
For architecture and DIY buffs. This book tells the history and Old World craftsmanship of timber frame buildings, and then teaches the reader how to create their own, if they’re so inclined.
White Noise by Don DeLillo
The award-winning 1987 novel merges dystopia and satire as the protagonists grapple with domestic life and an ever-worsening obsession with death following “an airborne toxic event.” Real recognizes real.
The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live by Niki Jabbour
Faced with millions of pounds of produce that need to be discarded due to big-scale business closures and without the means to transport it to those in need, this book is perhaps more relevant than ever. We hope it encourages us to start thinking locally with our food, starting with home.
The Adventurer’s Handbook: From Surviving an Anaconda Attack to Finding Your Way Out of a Desert by Mick Conefrey
Award-winning documentarian Mick Conefrey compiles survival tips and advice from the original journals of the most famous explorers of past centuries. In addition to some indoor-friendly advice on keeping morale and putting down mutinies, The Adventurer’s Handbook educates, it prepares, and perhaps most importantly of all (for the time being), it entertains. How does one survive an anaconda attack? Wait for it to swallow your legs. Then, you’ll be close enough to reach down and cut its head off.
The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks
Just in case.
THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN HYPEBEAST MAGAZINE ISSUE 29: THE NEW ISSUE AS “EDITORS’ PICKS TRIED AND TRUE BOOKS FOR TRYING TIMES, AS RECOMMENDED BY HYPEBEAST’S EDITORS.” ORDER THE ISSUE HERE.