You Do You: Reading During COVID-19

By Julie T.

There is no “should” when it comes to my recreational reading during this time of necessary physical distancing. “Should” carries a lot of baggage that I just don’t need (and I’m sure you don’t either). Not reading is also totally fine! For my self-care, it’s a combination of picture books, immersive fantasy, cozy mystery, memoirs, and romance, not to mention streaming entertainment.

Toss a coin to your Witcher!

Back in January, I watched Netflix’s adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher popular fantasy series starring Geralt of Rivia (aka the Witcher, aka the White Wolf). Have you ever watched a TV show or movie before reading the book(s) it’s based on and then hearing those performers voice the dialogue as you read? It’s like an awesome combination of audiobook and live action. Or maybe I’ve been indoors too long! This immersive fantasy world includes familiar character-types (e.g. questing warriors, sorceresses, dwarves, vampires, child of prophecy etc.) and seamlessly blends them with Sapkowski’s humor, world building, and characterizations.

Title details for The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski - Wait list

The Last Wish serves as the basis for much of the 2019 TV adaptation. It reads like a short story collection of Geralt’s adventures, introducing readers to Dandelion the Bard, Yennefer the Sorceress, and others. If you watched the show first, Jaskier and Dandelion are the same person.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Take advantage of the expanded digital borrows and stock up on children’s picture books. There are oodles of charming, fun, and informative stories. They’ve been great for periods when I’m not able to engage with longer narratives. And I love the illustrations!

Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace is an adorable reminder to follow your dreams and stay true to yourself, even when you feel like the odd duck out. Vampirina aspires to dance onstage as a ballerina. She plies, pirouettes, and leaps her heart out. Despite their differences, the girls all come together in a triumphant final scene. Wonderful illustrations by LeUyen Pham partner perfectly to tell the story.

Bob, Not Bob! By Liz Garton Scanlon is is a lot of fun to read-aloud! Share it with your loved ones during your next virtual check-in. Louie is sick at home. When he tries calling for his mom, it comes out sounding like “Bob”, the name of his excitable dog. A humorous and charming read. Expressive and humorous illustrations provided by Liz Garton Scanlon.

Love (and a change of scenery) is in the air!

Romance is where I turn when I need comfort and an optimism boost. They provide that shoulder to lean on, albeit one made of screen or paper, and the comfort of knowing a Happily-Ever-After awaits you at the end of the story.

The Inn at Netherfield Green by Aurora Rey
When your world falls out from under you all at once, what else can you do but pack it up and accept an unexpected English inheritance? When Lauren Montgomery is fired from her marketing job in New York, she does just that.  She dreams of using the traditional pub her great uncle left her to springboard her career into its next (and hopefully super successful) phase. What she didn’t count on was falling for Camden Crawley, a gin distiller with deep roots in the community and a fear of giving her heart away.

A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon
This contemporary romance has it all: a vindictive rival, amnesia, second chance romance, and the prospect of more books in the series! Successful television chef Evie Buchanan lands in the hospital after a blow to the head at a holiday party. Stripped of her memories, her agent turns to Evie’s emergency contacts, brothers of her ex-boyfriend. Can Evie reconcile who she is without her memories with the woman she was before? The first of three planned books featuring the Pleasant brothers.

St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets by Annie England Noblin
I didn’t intentionally include two books about starting over with unexpected inheritances/windfalls, but maybe that fantasy merits double inclusion. Set north of Seattle in the small town of Timber Creek, Maeve Stephens’ professional and personal life implodes spectacularly, just before she gets word of an unexpected inheritance from an unexpected source. It features closure, self-discovery, and cute animals (and an even cuter neighbor).

Theatres closed? Try Full-cast audio productions!

Now is as good a time as any to finally read or listen to that book you’ve always meant to read. Somehow, as an English major I never read or watched a performance of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This Arkangel production clocks in under three hours and features atmospheric sound effects and superb performances by a full cast that will transport you directly into a bubbling cauldron of a Scottish kingdom in turmoil.

I’ve included a selection of books that I’ve read over the past several weeks. Share what you’ve been reading in the comments!

You Do You: Reading During COVID-19


2 responses to “You Do You: Reading During COVID-19”

  1. Hannah K. says:

    I was having the hardest time reading when this all started, but the first book I got into was The Last Wish too. It definitely added an extra level to my reading experience since I saw the show already. You’re right- I read all of the dialogue in the actor’s voices. I’m happy there are plenty of books in the series to keep us going until the next season!

    • Julie Thompson says:

      I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one, Hannah! Have you watched any of the “Great Witcher BakeOff”? Some of the cast have posted videos of themselves baking 😀

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