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Librarians and Readers’ Quarantine Book Recommendations

Book covers of The Underground Railroad, Year of the Monkey, and The Phantom Tollbooth

During these times of social distancing, many have turned to books for comfort and connection. Looking for a great recommendation? We asked the American Library Association’s social media followers to share their favorite titles they’ve read during the pandemic.

Some recurring themes: many readers have been seeking out old favorites and comfort reads, while others have delved into fiction and nonfiction titles about disease and public health. Recommendations range from longtime classics to new releases.

Highlights from the responses are below. See a title you’re interested in? Visit your local library’s website to see if it’s available to check out electronically.

“I read an old favorite in a new format, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston on audiobook, and it was beautiful!”—Chelsea G.

The Phantom Tollbooth. I’ve never read it and thought now is as good a time as any!”—Georgann B.

“I recently read Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks. Had it on my bookshelf and it just seemed like the right time to read it. Such a great book!”—Ginny G.

“I’ve been working my way through John Scalzi’s works (awesome space opera and other science fiction), am in the middle of China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station (lovely and very dense), and just started the newly-arrived Network Effect by Martha Wells (the most recent in her Murderbot series, great snarky-but-philosophical science fiction told from the perspective of a cybernetic security droid).”—Sarah Lou H.

The Royal Game and other collected novellas by Stefan Zweig. Learning to keep your humanity and values during difficult times.”—Randall S. 

Black Death at the Golden Gate: The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plague by David K. Randall. The book is essential reading to understand the history, science, and politics of dealing with a public health crisis.”—Martin W.

“Stay-at-home has helped me rediscover reading time. I’ve read Hillbilly Elegy, Underground Railroad, A Secret Gift, and Year of the Monkey in the last month.”—J. Hudson

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