7 Books to Read (to help keep your spirits up)

Let me be clear, I’m a hardcore introvert. But these days I’m madly in love with people. I’m in awe at the good that so many are showing right now, in the big and small ways. I might like being alone, but in this time of chaos, I’m so grateful to be human. I’m also extremely grateful to the storytellers. In odd, scary, or hard times, I’ve always turn to books. Here’s what I’m currently reading (or re-reading) during this time. Hopefully you’ll find something here that catches your fancy and brings you some joy as well.

The Martian (Andy Wier): This is a love letter to human resilience, intelligence, and the way that people come together. It’s also a love letter to any geek, or any curious person out there. Reading about Mark and his potatoes on Mars always puts things into perspective for me.

Twilight (Stephenie Meyer): I won’t apologize for how much I love this book. Sometimes you just need some tragic, romantic, over the top melodrama in your life. Also, I’m totally in love with the writing style. For me, flaws and all, this book is pure escapism.

Clockwork Angel (Cassandra Clare): This is a superb story about Tessa who must come to terms with her life being torn apart. The book feels like a love letter to all of us who are a little odd. What’s even better is that you don’t have to be familiar with Clare’s other works to read this. It’s the perfect introduction to the Shadowhunters world.

Abarat (Clive Barker): Where do I start with this book? The paintings by the author are phenomenal, and Candy’s story is powerful. This book has gone so many places with me (literally!), and has helped me expand myself in so many ways. Adventure, resilience, and conquering fears/overwhelming uncertainty make this book an all time favorite of mine.

Job (The Bible): No matter your beliefs, the book of Job is a powerful one. Job is a man who has it all (literally) and loses it then becomes painfully, chronically ill. In a time where so many of us are struggling with health and doing our best to stay healthy, Job’s struggles still resonate deeply today. The themes of friendship and good and evil are also at the forefront. The book might be much older than any of us, but there’s no denying its power. Whenever I’m ill or feeling afraid, this book always comforts me.

The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien): I’m slowly making my way through this tome (after all, the three books are intended to be read as one), but it’s an absolute delight. The struggles Frodo and company face make mine feel much smaller in comparison. I love the extensive travel and world building. I feel much less confined after reading a chapter. For me this book slows me down, forces me to relax and enjoy the details. I’ve come to find that once I start looking for details in a book, it’s much easier to find small delights outside of them.

In the Wake of the Plague (Norman F. Cantor): This might seem a bit too on the nose, reading about the Black Death when we’re going through an epidemic/plague ourselves, but I can’t say how helpful it’s been for me to read about how humanity has overcome world wide illnesses before. This is hard to read simply because it hurts to read about people suffering, but this book has a lot to teach us. Both about the Black Death, and about the spread of modern viruses. It’s given me an even stronger respect for those who are on the front lines pushing towards a cure and for the health of the world.

Hopefully you’ve found a book or two that piques your interest. Whatever sort of thing suits your fancy, I hope you’re able to put aside the world for a little while and enjoy it. As for me, I’ll continue to read through my many books and of course, write. I’d love to hear what things you’re reading during this time (or anything interesting that you might be up to during all of this). May you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe.

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