“Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Life-Saving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living,” by Jim Cobb
Now, we’re not saying doomsday is coming, but we’re also not saying it hurts to be prepared. Cobb is a “prepper” who’s spent most of his life preparing for any possible catastrophe, with the goal of surviving long-term. He’s distilled his best advice on matters such as collecting water and foraging for food into one comprehensive guide.
“Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit,” by Creek Stewart
In the event of an unexpected emergency — man-made or natural — one will need a “bug out bag” to, well, bug out of their current location. Stewart walks readers through packing the right supplies in the most efficient way and learning how to use them. He caters sections of the book to those bugging out with kids, seniors and pets, as well as anyone with physical disabilities.
Tending to your emotional health
“Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day,” by Jay Shetty
Before becoming a spiritual guide and host of the “On Purpose” podcast, Shetty was a Vedic monk. In this nonsectarian book, he dispenses advice on meditation, creating a morning routine and more. Much of his wisdom is centered on a “spot, stop and swap” approach to curb negative thinking and other unhelpful habits.
“Didn’t See That Coming: Putting Life Back Together When Your World Falls Apart,” by Rachel Hollis
Well. Who among us saw this year coming? Hollis’s new book is appealing in its promise to help readers mend from trying times — death, divorce or, you know, a scary virus and months of isolation. The motivational speaker, who’s created a best-selling brand out of personal growth, provides action steps she hopes will steer readers through the darkness and into whatever comes next.
“Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You,” by Lin-Manuel Miranda
I need a pep talk. Do you need a pep talk? If so, Miranda is here to satiate our encouragement-deprived souls. The mastermind behind “Hamilton” has compiled a collection of affirmations that remind readers how wonderful they are. Read it in the morning, or at night, as the title suggests — but these are wild times, so the afternoon is perfectly fine, too.
“The Well-Centered Home: Simple Steps to Increase Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, and Happiness Where You Live,” by William Hirsch
Many of us are clocking far more hours at home this year. So make it a haven — a calming place where you can recharge and reframe. Hirsch, an architect, explains how to remove negative influences and add positive touches to your home to promote healing and happiness. His techniques range from rearranging furniture and swapping in new colors to completely remodeling.
Passing the time
“The Tassajara Bread Book,” by Edward Espe Brown
If you’re having a crumby (ahem) year — thanks to all that bread-making — pick up a copy of this well-loved cookbook. It was first published in 1970 when Brown, a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, was head cook at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in California, and has become popular among professional chefs as well as hobbyists. It’s full of tips for starting — and ending — a respectable loaf of sourdough, or any other type of bread your carb-loving heart desires.
“Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts,” by Martha Stewart
When life hands you lemons, make — well, make a Christmas tree ornament out of the zesty fruit. That’s among the creative projects included in this A-to-Z guide, which, in typical Martha Stewart fashion, is quite impressive in scope. Crafters of any age and experience level can dive into more than 200 crafts: botanical pressing, embroidery, rubber stamping and candlemaking, for example, paired with step-by-step instructions.
“100 Weekend Projects Anyone Can Do,” by editors at the Family Handyman
If you have time on your hands and clutter on your shelves, spend a weekend tackling one of these practical, inexpensive projects. The easy-to-follow DIY guide makes overhauling your closet — or garage, kitchen, bathroom or entire home — approachable, even if you’re not totally clear on the difference between abrasives and adhesives.
“1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List,” by James Mustich
Combing through Mustich’s hefty guide is almost as good as rummaging through a favorite bookstore. Flip it open and discover a surprise: maybe a recommendation for a detective novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a classic by Jane Austen or a selection of poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, just for starters. There’s plenty to worry about right now, but with Mustich’s guidance, figuring out what to read next isn’t one of them.
Adapting to — and appreciating — solitude
“Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius,” by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
Stoicism is a 2,000-year-old practice that feels freshly relevant. In their new book, Holiday and Hanselman — who run the Daily Stoic website — present mini-biographies of more than two dozen Stoic philosophers who lived according to such virtues as courage, temperance and wisdom. By studying the Stoics’ habits, we can apply those principles to our own lives, the co-authors say — becoming happier, more focused and more resilient.
“Solitude: A Return to the Self,” by Anthony Storr
Solitude is an acquired taste. In this meditation, first published in 1988, Storr — a prominent British psychiatrist — argues that it’s essential for fostering creativity, productivity and well-being. The capacity to be alone, he writes, is linked with self-discovery and greater health and happiness. Storr’s perspective is likely to resonate with anyone who’s spending more time alone than they anticipated (or appreciate).
“Silence: In the Age of Noise,” by Erling Kagge
In 1993, Kagge — a Norwegian adventurer — walked across Antarctica by himself, a journey that lasted 50 silent days. In this slim book, he muses on escaping from the crushing noise of everyday life and embracing the power in pausing. It’s a timely testament to seeking out, and relishing, stillness.
Angela Haupt is a freelance writer and full-time health editor in D.C.