Top Books to Read In and Out of Quarantine
Finally, Time to Read!
Due to COVID-19 the residents of Jersey City and most of the US have more sitting-around time than they’ve had in their entire lives. What better way to spend this abundance of time than cuddling up with a good book? Here are some literary recommendations to help you and your family wilt away the hours.
Funny and Inspirational Memoirs:
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (2016)
The Daily Show host Trevor Noah uses humor and heart in his personal essays of dealing with poverty, racism, and resiliency growing up as a mixed-race child during South Africa’s Apartheid.
Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong (2019)
Comedian Ali Wong presents her series of “letters” to her daughters about her life experiences with sex, relationships, and identity as an Asian American in a style just as hilarious and uncensored as her stand-up specials.
Overshare: Love, Laughs, Sexuality and Secrets by Rose Ellen Dix and Rosie Spaughton (2019)
Married YouTube personalities Rose and Rosie’s recount cringe-laugh, brutally honest stories about their struggles with family problems, romance, mental illness, queerness, and how they found self-acceptance in a book that mirrors the banter of their popular videos.
Stories to Escape Reality:
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin (1996-2011)
Quarantine now gives you all the time needed to commit to the elaborate fictional universe that inspired hit TV series Game of Thrones. Enjoy adventure, romance, magic, tragedy, and more conspiracy theories than you can count in Martin’s immersive fantasy series, currently spanning five novels.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)
During a time when travel feels like a distant memory, we can take special pleasure in this classic book of Beat Poet Jack Kerouac’s fictionalized adventures of his road trip around North America with his friend Neal Cassady in the 1950s.
Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau (2020)
Satisfying the urge we have to run away to a fantasy land, this enchanting historical fiction tells the story of a wealthy NYC heiress who reluctantly finds love while spending the summer of 1911 in Coney Island.
The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Liang (2018)
More applicable than ever, this book tells of the author’s experiences with loneliness as a single woman in her 30s in NYC. Liang tries to make sense of her own loneliness and exploring what it truly means to by lonely by finding connections between her own emotions and that of past artists and the LGBT community during the AIDS crisis.
Severance by Ling Ma (2018)
This satirical novel tells the tale of an unsatisfied, millennial Bible producer coping with the break-out of a devastating pandemic in NYC, that at times sounds prophetically similar to the world’s current predicament.
Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World by Laura Spinney (2017)
Though the general public has heard constant comparisons of our current pandemic to the Spanish Flu a century earlier, many people know little to nothing about this chapter in history. Spinney’s book gives a scientific, and sociological look at this disease’s impact on the world.
The Dog Merchants: Inside the Big Business of Breeders, Pet Stores, and Rescues by Kim Kavin (2016)
Kavin’s book is an in-depth investigation of the “industry” of pet dogs, including breeders, stores, and rescues that gives an intriguing look at the increasingly complicated world of dog ownership. This is an excellent book for personal research if anyone is looking to adopt or purchase a “pandemic puppy”.
101 Dog Tricks: Step-by-step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog by Kyra Sundance (2007)
Sundance’s book is great for people new to dog training and those who want more ideas of how to train unique and impressive tricks. Complete with step by step instructions and illustrations, this book is sure to give dogs and their humans hours of bonding and fun.
Cat Training in 10 Minutes by Miriam Fields-Babineau (2003)
This easy to understand guide on cat training can help feline-only households show everyone that cats are JUST as smart as dogs and can foster fun and bonding between human and cat. Nothing will impress post-quarantine guests more than a well-trained cat who enjoys tricks!
For the Kids:
Why We Stay Home by Samantha Harris and Devon Scott (2020)
Written for parents of young children who are struggling to understand coronavirus and quarantine, this series of storybooks explains the virus and stay-at home order to children in a non-frightening fashion by way of two young sisters discussing their own quarantine, and why it’s necessary.
Great Big Book of Children’s Games: Over 450 Indoor & Outdoor Games for Kids, Ages 3-14 by Debra Wise (2003)
Parents who may be scrambling to think of creative and fun ways to entertain and spend extra time will their children will find hundreds of ideas to try out in order to expend their children’s energy and make this unexpected family time more enjoyable for all.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (2020)
After being forced to mentor the tribute from District 12 for the 10th Annual Hunger Games, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow plots how to make this unwelcome challenge work to his advantage. This prequel to The Hunger Games Trilogy is being released this month, giving teen fans a return to a familiar world and relatable feeling of being stuck in a “dystopia”!
Way of the Warrior Kid by Jocko Willink (2018)
This story about 10 year old Marc who spends the summer working out with his former Navy Seal uncle to make up for a crummy year of 5th grade and show up the class bully is enjoyable for kids and adults alike.
Becoming by Michelle Obama (2018)
Michelle Obama reads her award-winning biography, telling the story of how she went from the South Side of Chicago to being a Harvard graduate and 44th First Lady of the US.
Where the Crawdad Sings by Delia Owens (2018)
After a murder rattles a quiet North Carolina town, the locals suspect the mysterious “Marsh Girl”, who has lived a reclusive life with nothing but nature to keep her company.