A 100% Real List of Books That Tavi Gevinson Is Currently Reading

Do you feel ~infinite~ yet?

by tavi gevinson
Mar 29 2020, 7:12am

When asked to describe my ideal Friday night, I always used to say it'd be spent just curling up on my couch with a book. And now, even after 14 days of self-isolation, this remains 100% true! When I’m not busy showering, getting dressed in full outfits, making lots of real meals, getting real exercise, inhaling fresh air, writing my sonnets, reading the news with concern but not panic, and washing my hands without thinking about death, I have found it so comforting to get lost in a good read. Given how much time we now have, there's really no excuse for spending hours swaddling yourself in a blanket and sitting in an empty bathtub, right?! So, I thought I’d share all my quarantine reading thus far.

"The Path to Power" is the first book in Robert A. Caro's sprawling Lyndon B. Johnson biography.

Robert Caro’s four-book biography of Lyndon B. Johnson.
This is kind of nerdy, but I actually devoured all 4,000 pages of these in one two-hour bingefest. Embarrassing, I know, but they’re just that good! It’s so crazy to read about our old president, and, additionally, everything he did. I especially loved the third book, Master of the Senate. It’s all about when he was in the senate, and was just such a boss. It’s honestly really inspiring—something I think we all need right now.

Who doesn't love to describe things as "very Proust-ian"?

All seven volumes of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.
Or as I like to call it: Tuesday! Seriously, I know it’s embarrassing, but I could not stop gorging myself on Proust’s amazing writing. My favorite one, Swann’s Way, is all about a sassy swan who’s like, “Out of my way!,” but I also really loved In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, about the uncredited extras in the 2017 movie, Flower. It is a must-read for cinema buffs everywhere, and anyone who needs an inspiring read in this difficult time.

Karl Ove Knausgaard invented struggling.

Karl Ove Knausgård’s My Struggle, books 1-6.
The rumors are true—I gobbled these up in one sitting. Geeky, I know, but I cannot tell a lie! And OMG, they’re so good: Set during the time of Karl Ove Knausgård, these books are all about the ways in which he’s struggled through various struggles. You see him struggling, and you’re like, “No, Karl! Don’t struggle!” But then, at the end, he stops struggling, and you’re like, “Yesssss. So proud of you.” It’s honestly a really important lesson in overcoming adversity, something I think we all need right now.

No self-respecting horse girl hasn't read Yukio Mishima.

Yukio Mishima’s The Sea of Fertility tetralogy.
OK, fine, I totally scarfed these down! I know they seem all serious, but they’re actually super fun. From the talking snowflakes in Spring Snow, to the talking horses in Runaway Horses, this tetralogy is pure joy—the kind of content people need now!

After you read this, you'll want to get a bandanna.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.
I know what you're thinking—that giant book?! But I swear, it goes by like that. When a story is really inspiring, you just can't put it down! It gave me a lot to chew on, such as my new favorite quote: "And I swear, in that moment, we were infinite." Perhaps a more inspiring way of looking at quarantine?

War! Hoo! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
War, peace...need I say more?!


The Talmud.
I know, I know, it’s kind of a beach read, but I say: Treat yourself! We all deserve some guilty pleasures during this difficult time.

The author becoming her full self.

So, there you have it! Not gonna lie: I was pretty freaked out by this whole self-isolation thing at first, but ever since I stopped grieving the way of life I have always known along with the future I thought I was going to have, I have come to see this period as a great opportunity! To slow down. To be productive. To work on relaxing. To self-improve. The clock is ticking! And also, washing over me. It’s like I needed COVID-19 to happen in order to become my full self. So where you might see a popped blood vessel coloring my eye bright red, I feel a new part of me coming into being, throbbing, crowning, telling the world: I’M FINE.

Karl Ove Knausgård
David Foster Wallace
yukio mishima