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Quarantined? Socially isolated? These books will help get you through

 

March 25, 2020 | View PDF

Storyblocks

While everyone is locked up inside, whether by choice with social distancing or mandated quarantine, you'll probably have some down time on your hands. So pick up a book, in addition to the "Courier's" usual partnership with Inkberry Books, we have a special selection of books that you might want to check out!

These books are in no particular order, and can appeal to most readers. All are fiction, and perhaps subtly all pseudo-feminist as they feature strong female characters. Each should be available online either through Amazon or your local library--both the Longmont and Boulder Public Libraries have online books available.

"The Time in Between" by María Dueñas: Follow Sira as she escapes pre-revolutionary Spain to Morocco and then back to Spain; this seamstress turned spy is a little naïve initially, but with time turns into a strong woman. I will admit, at first, she kind of annoyed me. I didn't have patience for some of her youthful anxieties. However, she really grows over the course of the novel, so I think it's an excellent example of character development. This is, without a doubt, a character-driven story, and I thought it was fascinating how some of the characters were real people. Moreover, the plot is so complex and interesting with vivid descriptions. Overall, it's a great book that has a little appeal for everyone--with spies, romance, historical references and more. It's entertaining and definitely worth a read.

"Lost in the Spanish Quarter" by Heddi Goodrich: This fictional memoir hits a little close to home for anyone who felt a little lost leading up to and after graduating college. It's a quaint and romantic little story about main character Heddi and finding her place in the world, finding her home. Primarily taking place in Italy, but also a little bit in Australia, this novel deviates slightly from traditional all-prose fiction by being broken up by fictitious emails between Heddi and her first love Pietro. What endeared the book to me is that it is loosely based on Goodrich's own life, so the descriptions are authentic and raw. What I think is also really interesting is that Goodrich describes it as an ode to her former home, and as a native English speaker, the original version of the book was written in Italian--Goodrich translated it herself.

"Not Our Kind" by Kitty Zeldis: Eleanor Moskowitz is a young Jewish girl living in New York just two years after World War II, and on her way to a job interview, her taxi collides with Patricia Bellamy's. Bellamy is a well-to-do WASPy woman who's unhappy with her life and eventually hires Eleanor to tutor her daughter Margaux as she recovers from polio. Both Eleanor and Patricia must deal with the subtle anti-semitism of Wynn Bellamy, Patricia's husband, and all their friends. However, Eleanor also must find her place in the world--where love fits in, how to balance independence with familial obligation, and above all, what she wants from life. Like "The Time in Between", this is a pseudo-coming-of-age story in "that the main character develops over the course of the novel. But this story is also an excellent commentary on 1940s America, and it's a pretty entertaining read too. Well-written and descriptive, this is a novel worth reading.

"The Address" by Fiona Davis: This story focuses on Sarah Smyth when it's set in the 1880s and then on Bailey when it's set in the 1980s. The dual timelines/storylines make this a very unique and entertaining book. Smyth is brought over from England to run The Dakota, a new apartment complex in Manhattan's Upper West side (it was later made famous as the scene of John Lennon's murder). Bailey, meanwhile, is an interior decorator who's down on her luck and staying at the Dakota as she renovates one of the apartments. Throughout the novel, Bailey is trying to find out who she is and get her life together while Smyth is trying to establish hers. Little do they know, a multigenerational mystery affects them both. It's kind of your classic "who-done-it" novel in that it's a mystery novel, but the time element is what makes it interesting...and frustrating. You'll definitely put together some of the puzzle pieces before the characters do (if they do), which kind of makes the whole story that much more curious and exciting.

Courtesy Photo

"The Essex Serpent" by Sarah Perry: In a small coastal English town, a rumor has spread for generations that a fearsome serpent lays in wait to terrorize the town. Recent widow Cora Seaborne enthusiastically brings her son and companion to the countryside to investigate the creature. Cora certainly shakes up the town and many of the people she meets along the way. Dr. Luke Garret, for example, is completely smitten with Cora, but is doomed to a life of unrequited love; pastor William Ransome equally, albeit begrudgingly, taken with her as well. Unlike the other books mentioned here which tend to be more character-driven, this is more plot driven, but it is nonetheless entertaining. The whole novel is a story of discovery--discovering humanity, the secret of the serpent, identity--it's overall a very well written and captivating book.

 

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