We are living in a crazy time right now. As I write this, restaurants and retail stores are shutting their doors. Schools in my neighborhood have already closed and moved to online learning. And that’s just the beginning of all the precautions being taken due to the spread of COVID-19.
So my family and I (and I’m sure many of you!) are planning to spend most of our time at home for the next few weeks. I’d like to take this time to focus on living life with hubby and baby and enjoy the small day to day things that are usually taken for granted. And also to make the most of having spare time and enjoy an extra book (or two or three!).
If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know I’m an avid re-reader. I enjoy picking up a book I know I’ve loved before for a variety of reasons, including comfort. There is just something about diving into a story when I know where it will take me that can be so soothing. And sometimes I even pick up new things along the way! Today I want to share some books that make that list for me. Although my TBR stack is about twenty feet tall, I just might take a dip back into one (or more) of these books in the upcoming weeks.
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One of my all-time favorite mysteries, And Then There Were None is brilliantly plotted with a complex cast of characters and a “closed room” setting. Despite having read this book multiple times over many years, I always somehow forget whodunit right up until the very end. But it sucks me in every time!
The Giver takes place in a utopian society in which there is no poverty, sickness, or crime and everyone is happy, and follows 12-year-old Jonas who is chosen to be the community’s Receiver of Memories. As Jonas learns his new trade, he discovers how this world came to be the way it is and begins to question whether it should be. This is one of the first dystopian novels I recall reading and it’s stuck with me so much that I come back to it time and again.
In The Martian, astronaut Mark Watney gets stranded on Mars after a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead. He’s completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. But Mark isn’t ready to give up. This book combines real science, intelligence, and humor in a compelling tale of humanity. And it was adapted into a movie that was nearly as good as the book!
The Thirteenth Tale is the story of an old and ailing reclusive author who has one more story to tell – the truth of her past that she has kept a secret from the world. She calls on a young biographer to transcribe her story into a book and the plot unfolds. This gothic drama and mystery has multiple layers and plenty of atmosphere that helps fully immerse the reader in these characters’ lives.
Dark Matter is a science fiction thriller based in actual scientific theory of quantum mechanics. Jason is kidnapped walking home one night and drugged. When he awakes, he’s strapped to a gurney in a lab and a man he doesn’t know says, “Welcome back!” Both wildly entertaining and thought-provoking, this explores a fascinating concept in a wonderfully action-packed story.
I discovered Stories of Your Life and Others after watching the movie Arrival, the movie adaptation of the title story in this short story collection. In a word, this collection of science fiction/fantasy short stories is, quite simply, brilliant. I could read this over and over and not get bored with it.
Only Child starts out with first grader Zach squeezed into a closet with his teacher and classmates while gunshots ring out in his school. The rest of the book deals with the aftermath and how Zach and his family handle this traumatic event. This is topical and superbly written, evoking a full range of emotions and sharing the light at the end of the tunnel of grief.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a thoroughly unique and atmospheric mystery that is reminiscent of both Agatha Christie and Groundhog Day. The reader is pulled into this story just as the main character forgets everything from moments before, making this an intriguing and confusing story from the start. This isn’t an easy read, but I always enjoy an original and clever puzzle.
The Power asks a simple but profound quesstion: what might happen if women were to posses a new power that had the ability to reshape society? A story within a story, this is told through several points of view to illustrate detailed accounts within the broad scope of a world changing phenomenon. A powerful and thought provoking piece of speculative fiction, I still think about the ideas and questions this book presents over a year after reading it.
The Night Circus is the setting for a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have trained since childhood for this very thing. The storytelling and prose particularly shine here; the plot is not particularly straightforward or cohesive and many of the characters are hard to connect with. But the writing is beautiful and the atmosphere created is one I want to immerse myself in time and again.
Okay, so I’m cheating a bit by adding the entire Harry Potter series, but who doesn’t need more books on their TBR? These are my favorite comfort reads—I’ve read through the entire series eight and a half times now and these books never get old. This tale of magic, good versus evil, and the power of love over hate starts fairly simply with book one and grows more complex with each book. And I, for one, can’t get enough of it!
There you have eleven books to re-read while you stay at home! I’d love to hear from you! Are you a re-reader? What are you favorite books to re-read?