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Having Trouble Reading? We’ve Got Some Ideas for You

Part our job as Bookies at Cook Library is to read books—even while we’re quarantined and working from home. Early on in the quarantine, we Bookies (professional readers all!) found it difficult to concentrate on much of anything, and apparently we weren’t alone. In fact, I’ve read several articles about why some of us are having trouble reading during these times, including this one which tries to answer the question: Why It’s So Hard to Read a Book Right Now by Constance Grady who interviews a neuroscientist to get answers. So, if you’re feeling this way, please know that you are not alone.

The good news is that most of us Bookies are gradually finding books which hold our attention and make us forget our current circumstances even if it’s for just a short while. For some of us, it’s been thrillers—quick, action filled page turners where the reader just needs/wants to find out if the protagonist will be OK. For others, it’s cozy mysteries—in which the murders happen off stage and the emphasis is on the characters whose lives have been disrupted by a murder and things are always resolved and life goes back to normal. Others have found YA and children’s books to be quick and satisfying. And romance never disappoints.

Since we cannot chat over the desk with you about the books we’ve been reading during our forced time at home, here are some of the books we’ve been reading and enjoying recently:

Bookie Lindsay

Lindsay enjoyed The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata (available via Hoopla) which describes as “a brilliantly layered masterpiece—an ode to home, storytelling and the possibility of parallel worlds.” It’s categorized in both historical fiction and science fiction in Goodreads. 

Anything that can capture and keep the attention of the working-at-home mother of a six-month old has got to be great!

Andrea has been on a roll! She listened to and LOVED The City We Became by N. K. Jemison, which is the first in the author’s Great Cities series. It was recently featured on the WBEZ Nerdette podcast in which the author is interviewed and the book is discussed. Here is the description: 

Bookie Andrea

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

Andrea also read Afterlife by Julia Alvarez and found lots of things for a book club to discuss in this story of a newly retired English professor whose life has taken some dramatic and unexpected turns.

Andrea picked up Finders by Jeffrey Burton, thinking it was a cozy read because it had a dog on the cover. It was NOT a cozy mystery, but she finished it anyway. I’m sure we can all relate to her disappointment. (BTW the dog did not die.)

Andrea found that her selection for her YA Literature for Adults book group With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo to be a fun read. Here is its description on

Lastly (I told you she’s been on a roll!), Andrea read and blogged about Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore. Bonus—she created a soundtrack for us to get us in the proper mood while we read this book!

Becky and Lindsay’s Aspen Library Book Group read and enjoyed The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson which is available via Hoopla through Cook Library. It’s historical fiction about a lonely young woman from Appalachia who joins the Kentucky Pack Horse Project during the Depression and became a librarian bringing books to impoverished folks. 

Bookie Becky

Becky also read and was blown away by Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, a nonfiction exploration by Robert Kolker, which describes thusly: The heartrending story of a midcentury American family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science’s great hope in the quest to understand the disease. Becky found this to be fascinating and sobering at the same time.

Erica read and enjoyed To Have and To Hoax by Martha Waters, described by In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention and maybe just win each other back in the process.

Erica also enjoyed Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia, a middle grade fantasy adventure based on Western African mythology, the first in a series. Erica enjoyed it and thinks it would be great for those Percy Jackson fans who cannot get enough mythology and its monsters and heroes.

Erica loved This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us by Edgar Cantero about twins who share one body but look and act as one person. Although she admitted that it’s not for every reader, she loved this book which describes as “a brilliantly subversive and comic thriller celebrating noir detectives, Die Hard, Fast & Furious, and the worst case of sibling rivalry.”

Lastly, Erica read Murder at the Mena House, the first in a new series featuring Jane Wunderly by Erica Ruth Neubauer. This is a cozy mystery set in 1926 Egypt in a fancy hotel in which a socialite has been murdered and Jane Wunderly must solve the crime because her own innocence is being questioned.

Lucky for us, mystery authors Neubauer and the always popular Lori Rader Day will be appearing virtually via Zoom at a Cook Library program to discuss mysteries and the writing life on May 28, 2020. For more information about this program and to register, click here. 

Erica Ruth Neubauer and Lori Rader Day are coming to Cook Library May 28

So, even if you’ve been struggling to concentrate on reading these days, please know that you are not alone and that you will get your joy back. Perhaps one of these books will be the book that does it for you. Next week, we’ll hear about the great books that Jo, Marianne and Ellen have been reading during our forced absence from the library.

Categories: Books and More

Tags: Books and More

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