Podcasts & Books

Watch Time Go By With These 8 Long Reads Perfect For Isolation

By Rick Stephens
9th Apr 2020

Found yourself with a little extra time on your hands? Who would have thought? Get comfy, switch on your reading light and unleash your inner bookworm on these eight long reads guaranteed to get you through isolation, however long that may be. 

A Little Life

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize back in 2015, Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life is an enthralling read that encapsulates the term ‘heavy’ both physically and metaphorically. The 720-pager is set in modern-day New York and revolves around the evolving relationships of four friends, who are each dealing with their own set of troubles and inner-demons, some more subliminal than others. A Little Life will no doubt distract you from reality, though be ready to experience all the feels.

Six Four

This one’s for the crime-fiction diehards. From Japanese author Hideo Yokoyama, Six Four follows the kidnapping of a seven-year-old schoolgirl, the six-day hostage situation that unfolds and the botched investigation that follows. The plotline is full of twists and turns, and the ending is an absolute cracker, so pay attention as you work your way through the hefty 640 odd pages.

The Goldfinch

2014’s Pulitzer Prize winner, The Goldfinch, is as moving as it is comedic. In what can best be described as an odyssey, author Donna Tartt takes you on a lockdown-length journey of Theo Decker, a young man torn away from his parents at a young age. Set in present-day USA, The Goldfinch tackles a full spectrum of emotions through love, power and dark-as-night-humour.


Americanah is the story of a young Nigerian couple, Ifemelu and Obinze, who part ways to begin very different lives in New York and London. Ifemelu relocates to the USA for academia, yet is faced with the racial undertones of her new home, while Obinze takes off to the UK to live a dangerous and undocumented life. Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie paints a stunning tale of struggle and hope in the first act, while leaning into the lengths of love later in the book.

A Suitable Boy

One of the longest books within a single volume has been touted as one of the greatest novels of the last century. Vikrem Seth’s A Suitable Boy is a stark look at the marital traditions of India which ties in the country’s exit from its longstanding colonial rule. At its core, however, is a charming love story that’ll induce all the feels throughout its 1552 pages. 

1Q84: The Complete Trilogy 

Thought you were getting away without a Haruki Murakami mention. Nope. At a staggering 1338 pages, you’re going to want to set aside some time for 1Q84: The Complete Trilogy. Wrapping up a Murakami novel in a single paragraph isn’t easy, so let’s just say this one involves two long-lost lovers, a cult and a new reality. No matter how far out or distorted from true life, Murakami’s writing continues to charm with an in-depth and delicate narrative.

The Narrow Road To The Deep North 

Tasmania’s celebrated novelist, Richard Flanagan, has crafted a story in The Narrow Road To The Deep North that’s been hailed as a masterpiece. The 2014 Man Booker winner is a slow-burn set in the Japanese POW camps during 1943; it follows Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans, his hapless quest to save the men is his command, all the while being haunted by his past affairs. Coming in at a comparatively short 467 pages, it’s recommended you take your time to fully digest the themes and vast undertones of this iconic piece of literature.

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Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase.

Image credit: Unsplash | Joao Tzanno

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