Best books about isolation,

for isolation

Need to escape the monotony of a quarantine?

In case you’ve got extra time on your hands and are looking something to read during your quarantined life, how about book in which the characters are predominately isolated? Like you. Only without a pandemic.

Lonely characters provide readers with surprising interest and suspense. Often in an isolation story, you find crazy people, hidden secrets, inner grief, and dangerous enemies. Often, someone dies. It’s both a good escape from your own isolation and a great connection point. You are not alone. Not completely.

All my book recommendations feature lonely characters who struggle to some degree with emotional, physical, and cognitive challenges during periods of isolation. They face fear and self-doubt. They learn courage and how to conquer their enemies. (Well, except for the occasional characters who don’t–hence, the death part.) Whether real or fictional, they inspire you to believe and move forward.

Isolation is never boring with a good book. (Or inside a good book.)

Yes, you’ve seen some of these recommendations on other of my book lists. I’m sorry. Isolated characters are riveting, and I’m a loyal fan to my favorites. Plus, the lonely real and fictional characters below might inspire you to embrace your quarantined existence. (At least until June 10 in Virginia). So I guess I’m not truly sorry about any recommendation overlap. A good book is always worth reading again.

Here were go. They’re linked to Amazon, so you can order away during your quarantine. I think those Amazon people are considered essential personnel.


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Britt-Marie Was Here by Frederik Backman

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Christian Living/Self-help:

Uninvited by Lysa TerKuerst

It’s Not Supposed to be This Way by Lysa TerKuerst

Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

On Grief and Grieving by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D.


Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Helen Keller: The Story of my Life by Helen Keller

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Soulspeak by Sue Schlesman (the Kindle version is on sale for .99 right now!)


Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Stowaway by Karen Hess

The Giver (and The Giver Quartet) by Lois Lowry

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Most of these books come in audio version, so that’s a fun way to read while you’re cleaning out the garage or pulling weeds. And you can always watch the film adaptation afterwards because most of these are also movies, and you’re looking for some good films to watch in the evenings.) Here’s a plus–many of these books are award-winners because that’s super-important to me. (It’s a book snob kind of thing.)

Please share your own book suggestions in the comments section. I tend toward the classics and literary fiction, but you might have read something brand-new you could share that we’d all like to dive into on a quiet evening. Remember, your characters must be isolated! That’s how we feel okay about being isolated ourselves.

My to-read shelf is full already, but there’s always room for another few books on it! And I should be able to find the time.

And I’d love to get some messages. It’s a little quiet over here in my she-shed.

my she-shed

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