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Our Favorite Reads During Shelter-in-Place

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As cities around the country extend their Shelter-in-Place order due to COVID-19, everyone is in need of new ways to entertain themselves. Here at Merit, we’re binge-watching shows, having weekly exercise video chats, and picking up new reads. Below are some of our favorites that we hope will help get you through the next month or so:

1. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. To start off with something maybe a little too relatable at the moment, Stephenson’s Seveneves is about countries around the world who come together to create a plan to “ensure the survival of humanity” after a horrible event. While the goal is to somehow continue life in outer space, it can easily relate to today as things feel a little unparalleled. Beyond that idea, the survivors rediscover Earth transformed thousands of years later. That’s only the beginning of this great SciFi novel approved by our Product Lead, Ronnie Boadi.

2. Adventure Capitalist: The Ultimate Road Trip by Jim Rogers is highly recommended by Merit’s Director of Content Marketing, Julia Cunningham. “This book will probably be the closest thing to a real road trip you’ll have in a while (since the grocery store is about as far as anyone's going these days),” she says. In Adventure Capitalist, Rogers and his fiancé take a three-year drive around the world weaving through 116 countries. Get personal financial advice, learn about different cultures, and immerse yourself in a fun, crazy story told by the 'Indiana Jones of finance.'

3. The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish. To take your mind off of today’s pandemic, try reading something that puts things in perspective. Our Director of Operations, Eliza White, describes this read as a “beautiful historical fiction about the lost stories of 17th-century women.” The Weight of Ink is set in London in both the 1660s and the 21st century. The story follows Ester, an emigrant from Amsterdam (17th century) and Helen, a Professor of Jewish history (21st century). When Ester’s letters are found nearly 300 years later, Helen gets a chance to learn about a fascinating woman before her time. A truly powerful read that will make it hard to choose a favorite character.

4. Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino. Funny enough, Tolentino voluntarily quarantined herself when originally writing Trick Mirror (of course not to today’s extent). The book is a collection of nine loosely connected essays that revolve around self-reflection for those who were raised on the internet, and specifically how the social internet has shaped millennials and Tolentino herself. “[The book] takes on a new and deeper meaning now that more than ever we’re required to live through the Internet”, said Omer Zach, Principal Engineer at Merit. The essays are relevant, a little meta, and definitely worth the read.

5. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. This novel contains stories within stories of magical realism. Customer Success Specialist, Jackson Blum, recommends this for its “beautiful language and vivid imagery.” The Starless Sea is based beneath the Earth, where numerous hard-to-find tunnels and rooms sit. Each room holds a different story that will keep you interested until the end.

What are some of the books you’ve been reading? Let us know below!

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