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Good Books To Read While Social Distancing

People have a lot of time to read these days.

And maybe you’ve gone through all the books in your house and need a new stash now.

Looking for a good book to read, while social distancing. We’ve got you covered with a few suggestions from out literary aficionados to bust your boredom while you’re stuck at home.

From Scott Dickensheets:

How to Be an Artist, by Jerry Saltz.

He won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for criticism, and is the least pretentious, most ebullient figure in the art world today. And this book is really about how to lead a more creative, interesting life.

 

Wow, No Thank You, by Samantha Irby.

She's a brutally funny essayist who writes a lot about her health problems and not wanting to leave her Chicago apartment. Great for this moment. 

 

Thin Places, new by Jordan Kisner. Another essayist, she writes more deeply and seriously about a variety of topics.

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From Drew Cohen:

If you want to begin to understand why our country is failing to contend with the pandemic, both morally and materially, you might start with Robert B. Reich’s The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It. It’s short, direct, accessible—and just might light a fire in your mind. 

 

On the topic of social justice, there’s never been a better time to read the work of venerable leftist Barbara Ehrenreich, whose collected essays have just been published in a volume titled Had I Known. Ever the commonsense radical, Ehrenreich survived the culture wars and is as relevant ever.

 

I find the horror genre to be a strange comfort food in our strange times—perhaps it’s a relief to be afraid of something that isn’t real? To that end, I’d recommend Shirley Jackson, who’s been enjoying an ongoing renaissance. We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a very on-the-nose novel of domestic imprisonment, and a fitting read for life under quarantine.

I never decline an opportunity to recommend C.E. Morgan’s 2016 novel, The Sport of Kings. If you’re looking for an epic, big-picture, spiritually capacious novel while you’re trapped at home—this is it. She’s our modern Tolstoy, and if you have a bucket reading list this needs to be on it.

From Chris Sieroty:

The Director by David Ignatius – the spy thriller that goes inside the CIA and gives you an understanding of how they operate and the real cyber threats our country faces.  

 

American Fire by Monica Hesse - It was published almost three years ago and it tells the true story of Charlie Smith and his girlfriend Tonya who were arrested and convicted of arson after a series of fires in a rural county called Accomack on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Charlie Smith a onetime volunteer firefighter was convicted in 2013 of 67 counts of arson. 

 

 The Iran Wars by Jay Solomon - A former Wall Street Journal reporter tells an interesting account of how the threat of a nuclear Iran grew as did American efforts to curb it. With the Trump administration’s decision to back out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement – this is a must-read to understand the impact of that decision. 

 

Bruno Chief of Police series by Martin Walker - He’s written 14 books and all of them embrace the pleasures of country life in the south of France. But there is always a murder for Bruno to solve. Not a bad place to visit while we’re stuck at home. 
  

 

From Joe Schoenmann:

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn - Written by a former boxing reporter, the book is a fanciful look at what happens in a family of circus freaks.

What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer - Remarkable book about the 1988 presidential election that gets into the minds of each candidate.

Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter Miller - A book that gives insight into how we create our own End Times.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer - This 60-year-old book demonstrates how not too long ago, false messaging and hatreds led to the rise of a megalomaniac and the destruction of millions in World War II.

 

 

 

 

 

Guests
Scott Dickensheets, deputy editor Desert Companion magazine; Drew Cohen, co-owner Writer’s Block

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