I’m pretty much reading and listening non-stop. Here’s what I’ve done so far in Quarantine. (Full disclosure, I’m not quite done with Such a Fun Age).

Books in Quarantine

* Book of Longings, Sue Monk Kidd

* Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Janisse Ray

* Steal Like an Artist, Austin Klein

* Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid

* American Dirt, Jeanine Cummins

* Fool, Christopher Moore

* Serpent of Venice, Christopher Moore

* Hard Cash Valley, Brian Panowich

* Miracle Creek, Angie Kim

* When We Were Vikings, Andrew David MacDonald

* A Murderous Relation, Deanna Raybourn

* The Resisters, by Gish Jen (review below)

* Deacon King Kong, James McBride (review below)

* Girl With the Louding Voice, Abi Daré (review below)

* The Resisters, Gish Jen

* Blackwood, Michael Farris Smith (review below)

* The Southern Book Club’s Guide for Slaying Vampires, by Grady Hendrix (review below)

Deacon King Kong, By James McBride Take a gritty, poignant and often humorous look into the life of some African American and Latinx residents of the Cause Houses public housing in 1970s Brooklyn. Sportcoat and Hot Sausage show us the humanity that lives in amongst all of a person’s faults, struggles, and relationships.

The Girl With The Louding Voice, by Abi Daré Journey with a young Adunni through life in a tiny Nigerian village and into service life in the big city. Struggle with her, cheer for her, cry with her and love with her. The character Adunni will live with me for the rest of my life.

The Resisters, by Gish Jen This a bright dystopian tromp through life as a “surplus” human in a time where automation and production is everything. The setting is an illegal coed baseball league. It’s dystopian without the grunge. Timely, quirky, often humorous, and a quick read.

Blackwood, by Michael Farris Smith This dark, painful story is masterfully written and completely captivating. Unlike some of the other dark, gritty books I’ve read, Blackwood didn’t leave me in despair.

For a completely ridiculous read that’s fun and fast try The Southern Book Club’s Guide for Slaying Vampires, by Grady Hendrix. You’ll need a bit of tolerance for a few gory details — that’s the nature of vampire stories — but this is otherwise a completely fanciful and fun tale of some suburban housewives taking on the supernatural in order to defend their families. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the campy movie, not the series) meets Steel Magnolias. Finally! A ridiculous vampire book where a middle-aged woman saves the day!

Never Have I Ever, by Joshilyn Jackson I can’t imagine a time when I will stop recommending this book to nearly everyone. It’s suspense without any gore set in a suburban neighborhood. Brilliantly written. Immediately engrossing. Thrilling, but not tortuous. It’s a twisty turn-y story, masterfully written. Grab a gin and tonic and some popcorn and settle in to read this one.

Tidelands, by Phillipa Gregory This is a gorgeous historical fiction, set in 1648, in the tidelands of England. Alinor, a destitute, self-taught midwife and healer struggles against a society who intends to thwart her every effort to carve out the life she is meant to live.

The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett No one tells the story of relationships than Ann Patchett. These characters are richly developed. This story drew me in and held me captive with its exquisite attention to the complexities of familial relationships. I feel as if I’ve visited The Dutch House and met its inhabitants. This is a book that is fabulous to read and even more so to experience as an audio book. Subscribe to audiobooks on Libro.fm and have Tom Hanks read this book to you. He’s like no other narrator. Your subscription (which comes with free audiobooks) benefits your favorite indy bookstore.

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