Below is a list of books I recommend to take your mind off what’s going on in the world. I have separated them by genre and included a short blurb. For all of these, they are (as far as my memory serves) contagion, plague, and apocalypse-free.
- A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean – Really, anything by Sarah MacLean will do. Her heroines are smart and witty. Her heroes are brooding and handsome. And you can lose yourself in the joys of Regency England.
- Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore – Annabelle is an intelligent political woman in late Victorian England. And she has a plan until she runs into a charming, stubborn duke. While this book isn’t necessarily the best I’ve ever read, it’s a fun ride.
- Fan Girl by Rainbow Rowell – A nerdy fan-fiction writing college student finds the man of her dreams. It’s adorably cute and the Harry Potter substitute book referenced frequently is also now available (with a sequel), so there will be plenty of reading materials.
- Ausenland by Shannon Hale – A woman obsessed with Jane Austen’s works gets a mysterious invitation to a sort of Regency England theme park. There’s also a delightful movie with Keri Russell and Jennifer Coolidge.
- The Shining by Stephen King – A classic for a reason. This had shivers going down my spine in broad daylight.
- The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James – One of my new favorite books. Ghosts + serial killer + atmosphere in spades.
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – Atmospheric and haunting, this book creeps under your skin. I find myself randomly thinking about this book years after I read it.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – Short and sweet, a great little escapist fantasy.
- The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg – Magical coming of age type tale. It’s been a while since I read it, but I remember devouring it.
- The Magicians by Lev Grossman – Harry Potter + Chronicles of Narnia + Adult Themes. You’ll want to go to Breakbills as much as you wanted to go to Hogwarts. And there’s a SyFy show for when you finish the book series.
- The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean – This book takes you element by element to explain how it was named and what it is. Now, you might be thinking that is a snooze-fest, but Sam Kean has an amazing way to take what could be boring facts and turn them into a story. You’ll learn a lot and enjoy doing it!
- The Crime of the Century by Paul Collins – A murder that rocked New York City and still hasn’t been fully solved. It’s a short, quick read but you’ll be hooked.
- Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi – I debated putting this in horror, because the Manson Murders were truly terrifying. And this book doesn’t hold back when it comes to vivid descriptions.
- The Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel – Hilarious riff on the battle between ancient vampires and those of the sparkly variety.
- Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley – The first in the Flavia de Luce mystery series. An 11 year old poison enthusiast solves crimes in her small town in 1950s England. What isn’t there to like?
- Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Gailbraith – Another mystery, this time by JK Rowling written under a pseudonym. This one had me on my toes until the end (and I consider myself a pretty good mystery solver).
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – Seriously, one of the best books I’ve ever read. Mystery, adventure, and bibliophilia all in one.
- Roses by Leila Meacham – A sweeping multigenerational epic about a town in East Texas. It has some melancholy, so be warned. But it’s a tale you won’t stop thinking about for a while.
Let me know in the comments what you’re reading while quarantined or to take your mind off things!