A lot of people have been asking us recently, ‘what is the scientifically-proven best book to read while you’re self-isolating?’ Following a long evening of till-sponsored ‘research’ (e.g. shooting the bull and sinking the tins), we’ve come to the following conclusion: the scientifically-proven best book to read while you’re self-isolating is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (père). There are several reasons for this, as follows:
- It is extremely long
- It is easy to read, even if you are under the weather or otherwise distracted (I read it last on a foul-smelling Virgin Pendolino train where the passenger alarm had sounded in one of the toilets and they couldn’t turn it off, and could still follow it perfectly well)
- It is not grisly or depressing
- In fact it is a proper romp
- There is a long stretch where the main character is also involuntarily self-isolating, so you will find it easy to identify with the characters
The Count of Monte Cristo is certainly the best, but anything by Dumas more or less fits the bill. Likewise, Nievo’s Confessions of an Italian, Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, or the entire works of Sir Walter Scott.