Today, a DDoS attack brought down major sites on the East Coast, including Twitter, Amazon, Spotify, and Netflix. Which had many of us asking the terrifying question: what are we supposed to do without the Internet?
The obvious answer is to read. As they say The Princess Bride: "When I was your age, television was called books!" Books can take you places that no website ever could. In the modern world, it's easy to get wrapped up in scrolling, clicking, tweeting, liking, snapping, blogging, and tagging. But there something so beautiful about picking up a book and just having one job: to turn the page. Books are immersive and rewarding in a way that, in my opinion, the internet will never be.
So, take this DDoS attack as a blessing in disguise, a time away from distractions when you can just sink into something good. If your favorite sites are back online, pretend they aren't, and use the time to recharge free from technology. As you wile away the hours without your favorite sites, give these fantastic books a read. My hope is that you'll forget about your internet woes completely.
1. Extras by Scott Westerfeld
If you're having Twitter withdrawal, this companion book to the Uglies series takes place in a dystopian world where social media is fed directly into your brain.
2. You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
This newly released collection from comedian Phoebe Robinson is everything you need on a tech-free afternoon. Her essays on race, gender, and pop culture are all page-turners that'll keep you entertained all day long.
3. The Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang
OK, so maybe you can't watch your favorite Netflix show right now. But the drama of this family is more than enough to feed your appetite. When Charles Wang's cosmetics empire goes bankrupt, he piles his family into an aging station wagon and embarks on a quest to reclaim his family's lost land in China.
4. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Amazon.com might not be working, but the Amazon rainforest is in full form in this brilliant novel. Follow Dr. Marina Singh as she embarks on a mission to discover what happened to her mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, a researcher working on a valuable new drug in the Amazon rainforest.
5. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
So, what if the internet stops existing forever? In this post-apocalyptic masterpiece, readers follow the players of a traveling orchestra and Shakespeare company who live by the motto: "Because survival is insufficient."
6. Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos (with Recipes) by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton
I'm a complete glutton for a good tattoo story, and this book is filled with tons of them. Plus, without the internet to distract you, you've probably got time to try out a recipe or two!
7. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Let's take this moment to journey far, far away from our Internet-driven lives. And Life of Pi is about as far as you can get without leaving your couch. The hero of the novel, Pi, is literally stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And his only companion? An actual, living tiger. If that doesn't hook you, I don't know what will.
8. Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
You don't have to be online to dig into the world of gaming. In this amazing YA novel, two St. Paul teens literally collide. Svetlana is the head of her table-top game club at school, desperate for more members to join. Lesh is a metal-head who recently got into a World of Warcraft-esque MMO game. After they meet, Lesh begins playing as a female character based off Svetlana, not revealing his IRL identity to his online acquaintances. Of course, it all snowballs out of everyone's control. Exploring gender in gaming in an insightful way (that even non-gamers will relate to) this book is one you cannot miss.
9. Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam
This is the story of a Bangladeshi family in Brooklyn during the summer that pulled them in every direction. The adventures and turmoils of the Saleem family will keep you glued to the page.
10. A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl
Listen up, nerds! Reddit may be down, but this book is here to fill the gap. Bob Proehl follows a cast of characters as they travel to comic-cons around the country in this touching novel about finding your place in chaotic worlds — real and imaginary.
11. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
Even if you can't access Spotify, you can still feed your musician's heart with this phenomenal book by Carrie Brownstein. A punk rock feminist icon, Brownstein tells the narrative of her life as a pioneering female guitarist.
12. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
This graphic novel follows a bloodthirsty teenage shapeshifter who declares herself the sidekick to the not-so-evil evil mastermind Lord Blackheart. Filled with equal helpings of chaos and silliness, you'll be smiling the whole way through.
13. The Unseen World by Liz Moore
Liz Moore literally dives into the digital world in this fantastic novel. As Ada tries to discover the truth about her brilliant, computer scientist father's hidden past, she uncovers secrets that will follow her throughout her life.
14. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
The multiverse of the Discworld is the best place to go when you're looking for a fun getaway. In this book, readers follow the Night Watch, a bumbling group of guardsmen, as they try to protect the chaotic city of Ankh-Morporkh from a dragon that has declared himself king. (You'll be laughing out loud the entire time.)
15. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
This book made me cry so many tears, but it's still the perfect book to enjoy on a distraction-free afternoon. This is the story of Wavy, an introspective little girl who only opens up to one person: a man who works for her drug dealer father.