I talk about taking social media breaks a lot, and it's because before last year, I had never really taken time any off from scrolling through my Twitter and Instagram. In fact, as public interest in the 2016 election (and its subsequent results) ramped up, I found myself on social media more than ever before. I would spend hours of my day, every day, making sure I was up to date on all of the hot takes and increasingly dystopian news stories. I don't think it will be a surprise to anyone that was... probably not my best idea. So for the betterment of my mental health, and in the name of not wasting my life staring at my phone, I started doing very regular social media detoxes. These days, I sign into my accounts only once or twice a day.
Whether you're already on my level of social media limitations, or you're just starting to consider trying one out for yourself, I can't imagine a better way to spend all of that free time you'll suddenly have accumulating than reading a few good books. And the nine reads below have nothing to do with social media at all. Instead, lose yourself in books about reading, crafting, traveling, food, rock climbing, and even just walking. Maybe they'll inspire you to stay off your phone a while little longer, and to enjoy some IRL moments totally filter free.
'The Curse of The Boyfriend Sweater' by Alanna Okun
Alanna Okun's The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater is all about knitting and crocheting and and crafting.... and love and heartbreak and careers and apartments and all the ups-and-downs of being a 20-something. This collection will definitely inspire you to take up a DIY project instead of picking up your phone.
'Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London' by Lauren Elkin
You've probably never thought much about, uh, walking, but after reading Flâneuse I guarantee you'll want to do it, without looking down at your phone, way more often. Author Lauren Elkin traces a journey that begins in New York and moves to Paris, Venice, Tokyo and London, exploring the paths taken by the women who have lived and walked in those cities before her.
'Lab Girl' by Hope Jahren
Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Lab Girl is a treatise on plant life, but it's also the story of how Jahren turned her nature-filled childhood in rural Minnesota into an adulthood of scientific discovery.
'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life' by Barbara Kingsolver
Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family decided to live a rural life — vowing that, for one year, they'd only buy food raised in their own neighborhood. They'd either grow it or live without it. This memoir will definitely make you want to grow a tomato plant on your fire escape, or at least spend a Sunday at Farmer's Market picking the ripest fruits for a pie... no phone necessary.
'End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood' by Jan Redford
If Jane Redford's story of nomadic rock climbing adventures — and her years spent trying to get back to them — doesn't make you want to leave your phone home and go on a weekend hiking adventure, nothing will. This story of nature, female friendship, and freedom is just what you need during a Twitter detox.
'H is for Hawk' by Helen Macdonald
An experienced falconer, Helen Macdonald had been captivated by hawks since childhood, but she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But when her father died unexpectedly, she decided to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss.
'Alone Time' by Stephanie Rosenbloom
In Alone Time, Stephanie Rosenbloom considers how being alone helps us become aware of the details of the world in ways that are difficult to do in the company of others. The book follows her to four different cities — Paris, Istanbul, Florence, New York — all explored in a different season, in a single year. This one will make you want to be a tourist in your own city, and to stay logged out while you explore.
'Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading' by Nina Sankovitch
After the death of her sister, Nina Sankovitch was caught up in grief. But on her 46th birthday, she decided to start reading a great book every day. If reading is the activity you turn to when you're taking a break from the internet, this book is the one for you.
'The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit' by Michael Finkel
Yes, this one is a little tongue-in-cheek, but when you're on a break from keeping up with social media, this fascinating book about Christopher Knight, a hermit who spent nearly 30 years hidden in the Maine wilderness, will be even more engrossing than it would have been with your phone at your side. Just don't get any ideas... your friends still want to be able to text you after all.