Happy quarantine! This is the perfect time to read all the books you’ve been hoarding in your room or to actually read at all. If you don’t have any good books on hand, there are plenty of relatively risk-free options for obtaining some. The library isn’t the best place to be right now (and many are closed anyway), but there are always ebooks!
If you have a Kindle or NOOK, you can get ebooks through Amazon or Barnes and Noble, respectively, but if you don’t, I’d recommend OverDrive, which is free in the App Store and the Google Play Store. With OverDrive, you can access your library’s selection of ebooks and download them for free as long as you have a library account.
If you’re an SVVSD student or employee, you automatically have an account with the district’s online library (also accessible through OverDrive). The school’s selection is much less expansive than the typical public library’s, but it’s also less popular, so you usually don’t have to wait as long for a hold. Some books are restricted to younger kids. For example, if you’re an elementary or middle schooler, you can’t get the Throne of Glass series from SVVSD’s online library.
There are other free apps called Libby and SORA, children of OverDrive. Libby is basically OverDrive but prettier. SORA is only for your school’s library, and it’s aimed more at younger kids. It’ll track your reading and give you cute little badges for things like returning books early (By the way, another benefit of ebooks is they return themselves automatically when your time is up, so it’s impossible to rack up fines.). However, it’s still only your school library, so if you want to access your public library, too, you have to get a whole other app. I like OverDrive better than Libby and SORA because the design is more practical, and you can access all of your libraries.
You can also get audiobooks online through the aforementioned sources. Audiobooks are wonderful, especially if you struggle with reading. I like to listen to them while doing craft projects. Most online libraries have both ebook and audiobook versions of most books, and the audiobooks are usually more available.
Of course, you can always buy books from Amazon or whatever and get them shipped to your house, but spending money is no fun. But if you insist on buying nice physical books, support local businesses like Barbed Wire Books, which will ship books to your door. Small businesses are feeling the effects of social distancing more than others, and we want them to still be around when this is all over.
Now that you know how to get your hands on some books, I’ll tell you which ones to get your hands on. Here’s a list of some of the most entertaining and binge-worthy books I’ve read:
1. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling – Most people have read these already, but have you listened to the audiobooks? They’re freaking amazing. I’ve listened to the American version (read by Jim Dale) on road trips with my family, and even my fiction-hating father loved it. It kept us entertained for hours on end.
2. The A Court of Thrones and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas – These books are great if you love fantasy, romance, and plot twists. And they’re super ebook-friendly for some reason. It’s easy for me to get bored and drop a book when it’s an ebook, but that has never happened with this series, which I’ve read several times. And they’re pretty much always available in the SVVSD online library.
3. The Berrybrook Middle School series by Svetlana Chmakova – You’re probably thinking, “ewww not middle school!”, and yeah, these books aren’t aimed at older readers, but I love them anyway. The story is absolutely adorable, the characters are actually diverse, and everything is very real and relatable. The second book, Brave, makes me cry every time. The best part is that they’re graphic novels! Graphic novels (comic books) are great if you don’t like reading that much, and they don’t take much time to finish, maybe a few hours.
4. Starfish by Akemi Bowman – This book is the most raw and emotional thing I have ever beheld. I’d recommend it in any situation, but it’s especially wonderful during quarantine because it sucks you in really well and makes time fly. And it’s mostly centered on the main character’s family issues, so if you’re getting sick of being with your family 24/7, read Starfish to vent out those negative feelings and find someone to relate to. Or maybe to think, “Hey, my mom isn’t that mean.”
5. What is the What by Dave Eggers – This is my current quarantine read! It’s the story of one of the Lost Boys, a victim of Sudan’s civil war. I really like it so far because it’s told in a very creative way from a point of view we don’t really hear from. The narrator is a very poor immigrant that went through a lot of terrible things (like, if you can’t handle gore, don’t read this) when he was very young. Thus, he sees the world, especially the American world, in a really unique way. This book is also great because it’s educational! I’ve been going to school for over a decade at this point, and no one’s ever taught me about Sudan’s civil war. So if you can feel your brain atrophying from lack of learning…
You can check out the numerous book reviews in The Mav for more ideas on what to read. I know it’s very tempting to watch TV all day during quarantine, but you should spice it up with some good books. Books are basically friends that can’t cough on you. Have fun and be safe!