Quarantine reading: Tips and recommendations for reading during lock-down

Hayden Schujak Illustration by Hayden Schujak

When life was as hectic as it used to be, many people were wishing for the time to read. With the pandemic, that wish has come true. Quarantine season is the perfect time to commit to more reading.

Reading can be quite tedious, but when reading the right book it can also be rewarding. There are several things to keep in mind when attempting to read consistently and enjoyably:

• Turn off any electronic devices. If the mind is frequently interrupted by alarms and notifications, a person cannot focus. To truly absorb material, a reader must be entirely invested in the book, leaving little room for distractions.

• Plan a specific time to read each day. This can be in the morning, afternoon or night, depending on a reader’s preference. Set a reminder and commit to reading for at least one hour every day. After that, it may seem difficult to put the book down.

• Designate a spot at home or outside to read every day. Make sure it is peaceful, comfortable and relaxing. If a reading environment is nice, it makes reading more enjoyable and helps build consistency.

• Don’t give up. Sometimes reading requires patience. If it seems difficult to concentrate at first, keep working toward it and have faith that it will grow to be more enjoyable. The longer and more frequently reading occurs, the easier and more desirable it becomes. Building good habits is sometimes hard work.

One of the biggest questions is what is there to read? Nobody wants to waste time reading a boring book, but there is a book fit for everyone. It simply depends on your interests and genre preferences.

Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/) and What Should I Read Next? (https://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/) are helpful websites that allow readers to receive recommendations according to their own personal preferences.

Members can enter books they have loved in the past and receive recommendations for similar books to read in the future, while also exploring books according to author and specific genres. These websites also include book reviews from people who have already read the books, so users can have personal insight to the quality of the book before buying it. The following books come recommended based on genre on both of these websites:

• Science Fiction: “Recursion” (2019), by Blake Crouch will spark readers’ interests in science fiction. Taking place in a research laboratory, this novel explores the psychology of memory, time travel and technology in a unique way. “American Gods” (2001) by Neil Gaiman is perfect for readers interested in mythology and adventure.

• Fantasy: “Eragon” (2002) by Christopher Paolini draws readers into a new world filled with folklore, elves and dragons. It is a good novel for “Lord of the Rings” (1954) fans. “The Starless Sea” (2019) by Erin Morgenstern is a captivating novel in which readers travel to an underwater world filled with labyrinths and hidden rooms.

• Mystery: For those interested in solving a crime, “Behind Closed Doors” (2016) by B.A. Paris is a fascinating novel about a “perfect” marriage. Throughout the book readers discover the true, unexpected, volatile identity of the characters. “The Animals at Lockwood Manner” (2020) by Jane Healey welcomes readers to a large estate, which also happens to be a zoo. Readers follow the zookeeper through an entrancing story filled with peculiar happenings and unexpected spells.

• Realistic Fiction: “Anne of Green Gables” (1908) by Lucy Maud Montgomery (published as L.M.) is a feel-good, interesting read for people of all ages about a young orphan who is adopted and tries to adapt to her new town. “The Kite Runner” (2003) by Khaled Hosseini is a historical fiction adventure story in which two young boys journey through life in the midst of chaos in Afghanistan.

There are tons of books out there waiting to be read. Not every book is instantly intriguing, but each always has its own adventure. Remember not to give up and – most importantly – to have fun.

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