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Reading Suggestions for Shelter-in-Place

By Lydia Felty


Reading serves endless purposes in our lives: it provides comfort in hard times, it challenges us to think more deeply about our relationships with the world around us, it enables us to unwind and relax, and it can allow us to travel without leaving our homes. Especially as our lives have depended on screen time more than ever, it feels crucial that we take time to separate ourselves from our devices and indulge in these pleasures. Here are some books that might fill your shelter-in-place reading needs. 


Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal 

Predictably, being stuck at home means that we’re all cooking more than we traditionally might. Kitchens of the Great Midwest dives into a delightful interconnected cast of chefs and bakers, both professional and amateur, and smartly ponders the impact that our upbringing has on how we think about food. In doing so, it asks the reader to think deeply about their own relationship with food and, therefore, with family. (If you’ve already read and loved it, try Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies for more family and food connections.)


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Following a traveling symphony and Shakespeare troop in the aftermath of a devastating global pandemic, Station Eleven could seem a little too relevant to read interspersed with the current news. But the novel isn’t about the pandemic itself, really — it’s about the importance of community, the items and activities we hold dear in the midst of tragedy, and the philosophical musings that permeate our brains, especially in times of crisis. Mandel’s beautiful, complex writing style alone makes this novel a must-read. (If you’ve already read and loved it, try Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower for more post-apocalyptic musings.)


Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Though Chris McCandless chose to be isolated from others during his solo journeys through the Alaskan wilderness, there’s a sense of camaraderie in reading his meditations on what it means to be alive through Jon Krakauer’s investigative lens. The aura of mystery that permeates McCandless’s life choices invites the reader to act as a co-detective with Krakauer, and the sense of adventure that drives this true story allows the reader to explore vicariously. (If you’ve already read and loved it, try Henry David Thoreau’s Walden for similarly meditative vibes.)


Emma by Jane Austen

With hapless attempts at matchmaking, an all-consuming plot line, and witty characters who tend to stay at least six feet apart, Emma feels like it was written to read in a time like this. A bonus: Reading this romantic comedy will give you great reason to revisit Clueless, its cult classic adaptation, and with theaters closed, the latest film adaptation of Emma is now available to stream online. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to tackle an Austen novel, what better moment than now? (If you’ve already read and loved it, try Nick Hornby’s Funny Girl for more humor and hijinks.)


The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

When the world doesn’t seem to be going the way you want it to, reading a predictable romantic comedy can feel like a tonic. While you likely won’t find yourself wondering what’s going to happen next, you’ll have the opportunity to laugh, cry, and fall in love right alongside the main characters, and you’ll undoubtedly leave the novel feeling satisfied. (If you’ve already read and loved it, try Mia Sosa’s The Worst Best Man for more romantic comedy fun.)


Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up by J. M. Barrie

If you’ve never read the text that the classic Disney film was based on, you’re in for a surprise. Barrie’s Peter Pan is not quite as fun and innocent as the cartoon, and the sense of adventure that he supplies is endless. Frightening mermaids, revenge-focused pirates, constant exploration, daunting fights, a beautiful island setting, lovely writing, and, of course, Pan himself await you. (If you’ve already read and loved it, try Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince for another poignant, adventurous, and youthful classic.) 

Sheltering in Place?

All of us are at home helping to keep our community safe. We hope that you are finding time to enjoy endeavors that you may not usually have time for such as gardening, baking, organizing and importantly, reading amazing books.  Not a day goes by that we don't think of all of our wonderful customers and look forward to the day that we can again open our doors to you.  Stay safe & stay strong.

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