When I was younger, I used to tear through books. But when I got to college, with less time on my hands and way more work for class, I used “lack of time” as an excuse to avoid reading for pleasure. But now, in this time of social distancing, we all have too much time on our hands — so let’s put it to good use.
Reading can be a great distraction. Sometimes, when I read too much news or think too much about the future, I get anxious. A good dose of fiction can be a healthy diversion during this scary time. Now more than ever is a time to discover — or rediscover — how great reading really is.
Here are six page-turners to keep you busy during quarantine:
1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
I first heard about this novel through my mother’s book club. She told me to read it after rave reviews from all her friends, and let me tell you — it did not disappoint. The novel tells the story of a so-called “Marsh Girl” who lives in the wilderness of North Carolina. When there’s a murder in the town, everyone suspects Kya, the mysterious Marsh Girl. As the true story unfolds, you can’t put it down.
Owens isn’t just an author — she’s a wildlife scientist, so her descriptions of “the Marsh” come to life on the page. The book is a page-turner, and the storyline and characters are incredibly developed. Where the Crawdads Sing has everything I love in a book: mystery, romance and a compelling main character. Definitely give this one a read.
2. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I just started watching the Hulu mini-series adapted from Little Fires Everywhere, with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. It’s pretty good, but it’s nothing compared to the book.
An artist, Mia Warren, and her teenage daughter move to Shaker Heights, a cookie-cutter Cleveland suburb. Mia’s past begins catching up to her, and Shaker Heights turns out to not be as perfect as everyone thinks.
You fall in love with the characters, all compelling and real. The kids are relatable and remind me of how it felt to actually grow up in suburbia. Metaphorical — and literal — fires keep you on your toes the whole time. And once you’re finished, you can watch it come to life on Hulu!
[Read more: The beginner’s guide to birding]
3. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
When I started this book, I expected romance, maybe even a love triangle, but the story became much deeper and darker than that. This novel follows Lily Bloom, a florist who lives in Boston, as she meets a handsome neurosurgeon and stumbles across her childhood lover. Just when you think everything is going well, it suddenly stops.
While there are a few steamy scenes, it’s not your typical romance novel — the characters are lovable, even when you shouldn’t love them. It Ends with Us sheds light on the cycle of abuse, young love and so much more. It’s also perfect if you need a quick read — I finished this book in one sitting.
4. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
If you’re looking for a psychological thriller, Behind Closed Doors is for you. It follows Jack and Grace Angel, a seemingly perfect couple — but something is very off about them. This book is disturbing to say the least, but you will not be able to put it down. There are many twists and turns until the end.
5. The Girls by Emma Cline
The Girls follows Evie Boyd, an impressionable girl who befriends a group of wild, careless young women in Northern California in the late 1960s. They take her under their wing, and Evie discovers what’s like to be one of “the girls” in this hippie, cult-like following. The language is phenomenal and throws you back in time to a California summer. Sex, love and violence all come into play in this stunning historical fiction.
6. Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
This is another great mystery book. Though Gina Royal is an average housewife, there’s a serial killer in her life. Even when you think the danger is at bay, it’s not.
If serial killers fascinate you, definitely give this a read. An intensely chilling thriller, Stillhouse Lake is part of a series, and there’s a major cliffhanger at the end (beware!) — be prepared to purchase the second book.