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.
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
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.
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.
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
My current read is Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson.
© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown