12 must-read classics, modern fiction, and self-help books to kill time during the Circuit Breaker

If you’re starting to get bored scrolling through Instagram or finished all your Netflix shows (twice!), why not pick up a book to enrich your mind?

A good, old-fashioned book is often forgotten and difficult to focus on in the age of technology, so we’ve rounded up a list of 12 page-turning fiction, classics, and more, that you may just ditch your phone for.

Self-help and biographies

1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Starting off with one of the most popular books on the market right now, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is written by Japanese cleaning expert, Marie Kondo, who has since been given her own show on Netflix. Take this opportunity at home to clean up clutter and embrace a minimalist lifestyle – while still having fun!

Retails for SGD21.84 on Book Depository.

2. The Gifts of Imperfection

Live a more mindful life and appreciate your imperfections and mistakes with this bestseller. Including everything from where this feeling of inadequacy comes from, to how to feel satisfied and taking life in its stride, this book is loved by reviewers who claim the writer frames the same answer in different perspectives to help readers understand the text better.

SGD16.11 on Book Depository.

3. Becoming

Get an exclusive peek into the White House with Becoming, a memoir by the former First Lady of the United States. This compelling bestseller tells of her hardships and triumphs in becoming the first African-American person to fill that role, being an inspiring advocate for women and girls alike, as well as how she stood steadfast by her husband as he lead the States through dark times time and again.

Retails on Book Depository for SGD33.81.

4. Brief Answers to the Big Questions

The late Stephen Hawkins answers the most popular questions on mankind in this posthumous book, such as “What’s inside a blackhole?” and “Is there a God?”

This is perfect for the curious intellectual seeking insights and the secrets of the universe.

SGD21.58 on Book Depository.

Modern fiction

5. Little Fires Everywhere

Perching proudly on the bestseller shelf of many bookstores worldwide, this popular read unearths the less talked about issue of social order and power, featuring enigmatic mother-daughter pair, Mia and Pearl, the wealthy Richardson family, and all the dark secrets that lie in between.

Retails on Book Depository for SGD14.78.

6. The Penguin book of the Contemporary British Short Story

To ease you back into reading, or to cater to shorter attention spans, try a collection of short stories like this one. Featuring authors with hugely different writing styles, you’re bound to find one that you’ll love, whether it’s a man’s manifestation of guilt in Troll Bridge, or the future of our planet in Flotsam, Jetsam, Lagan, Delerict.

Available on Book Depository for SGD18.21.

7. Pachinko

Recommended by former U.S. President Barrack Obama himself, this New York Times bestseller tells a tale of salvation, hope, and rebirth as Sunja, a young Korean girl, costs her family’s reputation by falling pregnant to a married Yakuza. Sunja is then given a lifeline when a Christian minister offers her a new life abroad, where she struggles to adapt to the new faces and foreign languages.

SGD15.37 on Book Depository.

8. Convenience Store Woman

Want a more light-hearted read? If books like Gone Girl or Where the Crawdads Sing isn’t your jam, try this humorous one! 36-year old Keiko, who’s never been in a relationship, begins to worry her family as she ages, although she remains ever-attached to her convenience store, which she had been working in for 18 years.

Follow Keiko’s journey as she struggles to stay afloat from all her friends and family’s expectations of her to lead a “normal life”, with her passion as her only buoy.

Retails for SGD11.85 here.

9. Before the Coffee Gets Cold

If you prefer magic in your books, Before the Coffee Gets Cold may just be your cup of tea. In the book, readers get to meet four protagonists who journey separately to a little coffeeshop in the back alleys of Tokyo where time travelling is possible, and go back in time to confront their lover, husband, little sister, and daughter they never got to know. Of course, it’s not a story without a catch: all four have to  race against time to get back to the present before their coffee gets cold, or they’re stuck in the past forever.

Retails on Book Depository for SGD12.67.


10. The Great Gatsby

If you haven’t already given this well-loved classic a shot, here’s why you should. A tale of unrequited love and tragedy, this one takes place amidst the glitz and glam of the Jazz Age in the 1920s, where one man’s climb on the social ladder leads to his untimely fall, after being crushed by his blue-blooded lover. Fitzgerald’s popular novel encapsulates the futility of the American Dream in this unforgettable page turner-turned movie loved by many generations.

Retails on Book Depository for SGD6.25.

11. The Handmaid’s Tale

Only gaining real traction recently from the TV series spinoff, Margret Atwood’s bestselling novel tells of a dystopian society where women are kept primarily for reproductive needs so as to continue humankind. Learn about the intense life of Offred as she struggles with her past dedication to her daughter and her husband, her present feelings of guilt and adoration for the Commander, and the difficulties women face as the oppressed gender in this compelling story.

Available here for SGD13.72.

12. Little Women

Feel the nostalgia with this coming-of-age read behind the 2019 film, starring A-listers like Emma Watson and Saoirse Ronan. A heartwarming tale of four sisters with different personalities, vain but caring Meg, boyish Jo, peacemaker Beth, and charming Amy under one tiny roof, the quartet learn the hardships of life and find joy in it despite their humble and modest lifestyles.

Get this on Book Depository for SGD13.46.