recommended reading

5 Books to Keep You Company During Isolation

I recently came across the article “Kristin Hannah Recommends 5 Books to Keep You Company During Isolation.”

Since I’ve been having trouble writing much of anything at all, I decided to use the format of this post as a template for my own recommendations. 

Here are the categories, Kristin Hannah’s recommendations, and my own suggestions.

One Book That Made Me Laugh

Kristin Hannah’s recommendation: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

This is the hardest category for me, since I almost never read any book described as “comic.” In fact, I’ve had an adversarial relationship with comedy most of my life. As a kid I hated The Three Stooges and Marx Brothers movies. More recently, I tried reading Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons after a couple of cousins talked about how funny it is at a family gathering. I hated it and gave up after the first few chapters. I did read all 394 pages of A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole—it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981, after all—and still regret every minute of my life thus wasted.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

But I absolutely loved The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and still believe that the answer to The Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42.

One Book That Left Me Feeling Hopeful

Kristin Hannah’s recommendation: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

My recommendation: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. Who’d have thought a novel about the war in Chechnya could be so full of hope? But this one is, and it will make your heart swell.

One Book That Was a Total Escape

Kristin Hannah’s recommendation: Tell No One  by Harlan Coben

“You can’t go wrong with Harlan Coben,” Hannah says. My thoughts exactly.

The Boy from the Woods

That’s why I’m recommending Coben’s most recent thriller, The Boy from the Woods.

A Book I Binged in One Sitting

Kristin Hannah’s recommendation: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

This category was also difficult for me because I read very slowly and therefore almost never binge a whole book.

Our Souls at Night

But I did just that with Kent Haruf’s final work, Our Souls at Night. It’s a sorrowful story, but also compelling.

The Book I’m Currently Reading

Kristin Hannah’s: Mildred Pierce by James M. Caine

Before She Knew Him

My current read is Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson.

© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown

5 thoughts on “5 Books to Keep You Company During Isolation”

  1. I’m glad to hear you say you didn’t like Confederacy of Dunces. I think I made it through maybe five pages and abandoned it. I just couldn’t read it. I agree with you about Our Souls at Night.

  2. Love this idea! Here are some answers from me –
    A book that made me laugh – Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
    A book that left me feeling hopeful – The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
    A book that was a total escape – Vittoria Cottage by D.E. Stevenson
    Book I binged in one sitting – It’s extremely rare that I’m able to do this, but Big Sky by Kate Atkinson is one I was not able to stop reading (I snuck it into work for the final chapters!)
    Book I’m currently reading – The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      I love Kate Atkinson and just recently finished Big Sky. (I hope there will be another Jackson Brodie book in the future.) Thanks for contributing.

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