I don’t know about all of you, but Nashville is still shut down for the most part. We are reopening in phases and staying at home as much as possible is still highly encouraged, so I figured it was still appropriate to share a list of books to read while stuck social distancing. This list is compiled of books I read in days and got lost in. It’s all stories that spoke to me in different ways and inspired me somehow. Let’s get started!
1// The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo takes place in modern-day New York as Monique writes about the life of the 50s movie starlet Evelyn Hugo. Evelyn chronicles her life to Monique, so much of the story actually takes place in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. As Evelyn tells Monique about the trials and tribulations she faced as a woman trying to reach stardom, and about her seven husbands throughout her lifetime, Monique gains a new sense of confidence in her own life because of the stories Evelyn is telling her. Jenkins Reid has a talent with words. She makes what should be a completely unapproachable story one of the most relatable things I have read in such a long time. Read my full book review of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
2// Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere starts off with where the story actually ends and then goes back to fill in all the missing pieces. Personally, I’ve never cared about spoilers because I’m truly interested in the journey, so this book started in the best way possible for me. Ng’s book features single-mother Mia and her daughter Pearl, the Richardson family (whom Pearl befriends), and the McCullough’s, who are hoping to adopt a baby. These three families’ lives intertwine in unexpected ways, and the true mystery of the story — how Pearl and Mia became such a dynamic duo — is revealed. This book traps reader’s from the very first page. I just started the Hulu series yesterday with my roommate.
3// The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
I read a book about a mysterious illness during quarantine. I understand my choices were a little odd, but I actually think I got more out of the story by reading it during this time than I would have if I read it under any other circumstances. In Thompson’s world, Santa Lora — a small college town — is put under lockdown when kids at the college start falling asleep and not waking up. The disease is contained in the town by taking extreme measures like the National Guard and police officers stationed at the borders of the town ensuring nobody can leave. Thompson follows five or six main characters as they experience the virus in vastly different ways. No spoilers, but reading this book actually gave me more hope for the world during COVID-19.
4// The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
The Great Believers takes place in 1985-1991 Chicago as well as 2015 Paris. The LGBTQ community of Chicago is experiencing a genocide. AIDS has taken hold of the community, and it is ripping apart families and friendships. Makkai follows Yale’s story in Chicago and Fiona’s story in Paris. Both stories feature the idea of lost love, lost family, and lost time in totally different ways. Fiona is a key character throughout the Chicago timeline as well as the Paris timeline, and as a reader, you can’t help but love and hate her at the same time. Even though you go into this story knowing there probably isn’t any hope, you still cling to it — hoping the best for the boys who you know too well are going to most likely end up as corpses. Makkai has a few tricks up her sleeve and crafts a beautiful story of love, loss, redemption, and friendship. This is a must-read.
5// A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
A Darker Shade of Magic is a delightful read full of mystery, adventure, and mayhem. Schwab creates a world with three Londons — White London, which is teeming with magic and run by truly villainous siblings, Red London, which is home to Kell and relatively balanced, and Grey London, which doesn’t know of magic’s existence. Kell is special — he can travel between Londons. But when Kell discovers a dark relic from the past, he is thrown into an adventure he never asked for that results in the fight for his life. Schwab is an expert world creator, and I was immediately captivated by this book from page one. Bonus? It’s a series so you can just keep reading when you finish this one.
6// Educated by Tara Westover
Tara Westover’s break out memoir is simply fantastic. It is a non-fiction read that I couldn’t put down. Tara writes about her life growing up in a very strict Mormon household and how she broke away from her family to pursue an education. Education is life-changing. The themes of family loyalty, ignorance, and education are topics every reader can relate to. Read my full book review of Educated.
7// Verity by Colleen Hoover
A Bad on Paper recommendation that gave me the complete creeps and still leaves me wondering what the truth actually is. Verity is about an author of a best-selling series who has lost two daughters to tragic accidents. She herself is comatose after a car accident, and therefore, her husband, Jeremy, has gone about hiring a ghost-writer to finish her book series. The lucky ghost-writer just so happens to be Lowen, the woman Jeremy gave his shirt off his back to after they both witnessed a man get run over by a truck in New York minutes before they were supposed to be meeting about the book deal. Jeremy and Lowen immediately have chemistry, and that is only heightened when Lowen has to spend a few days at his house looking through Verity’s notes to continue her books. But strange things are happening in the house. Lowen swears Verity keeps staring at her, and can’t seem to figure out why the TV keeps turning itself off when she knows the nurse looking after Verity said she left it on. The book is eerie and creepy, and I recommend reading it during daylight hours. Read my full book review of Verity.
8// Ghosted by Rosie Walsh
I loved Ghosted. I thought I had it entirely figured out, and I was actually a little bored with it, and then everything changed, and it was nothing like I expected it to be. It’s about a woman, Sarah, who is going through a divorce and falls in love with a man, Eddie, in one week. They spend every day together, and she knows this is more than just a fling, but when Eddie doesn’t call her when she leaves town, Sarah knows something is wrong. Her friends think she’s crazy, but she knows better. Sarah goes to extreme lengths to find out what happened to Eddie, and even though she finds out the truth, she never would have expected it. Read my full book review of Ghosted.
9// The Martian by Andy Weir
The Martian is set on Mars and follows Mark Watney as he attempts to survive alone for over a year. After his mission was botched and the rest of his team left, Watney is left on Mars to fend for himself. His crewmates thought a freak accident had killed him, but he miraculously managed to survive. With only his wits and some extra supplies, Watney has to tackle obstacle after obstacle to ensure his own survival until someone can come to rescue him. This is a story of bravery, persistence, and the ability for the human race to come together in a time of need. Read my full book review of The Martian.
10// Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I’ve heard many wonderful things about this book, and it did not disappoint as much as some other self-help type books. Big Magic delves into the secrets of becoming your most creative self, facing your fears, and finding inspiration. It might be just the thing to kick-start your quarantine passion project.