March 19, 2020

Reading in a pandemic

When I started reading Thomas Cullinan’s The Beguiled in late February, I didn’t expect to be in confinement myself by the time I finished it. Maybe you remember the movie, a creepy Southern Gothic starring Clint Eastwood in 1971 and Colin Farrell in Sofia Coppola’s 2017 remake. Basically, a wounded Union soldier ends up convalescing in an isolated Virginia girls’ school, and the close quarters drive everyone insane. 

So, how’s your work from home going? 

But seriously, we are in strange times, folks. The book drop is a biohazard. Walking the dog is an exercise in paranoia. Bird Box is looking like a documentary. What’s a reader to do? 

If you are looking for something really on the nose, search our theme pandemic apocalypse in NoveList. Just cut and paste TH pandemic apocalypse into your search box. It’ll produce a hefty set of results that you can slice and dice with all sorts of limiters. Doomsday preppers may prefer to combine the pandemic apocalypse theme with the band of survivors theme, like this: TH band of survivors AND TH pandemic apocalypse.

Prefer to engage with the times through literature, but perhaps at a bit more of a distance than the pandemic apocalypse theme affords? You could try searching the themes thrown together for stories of unexpected allies or life during wartime about people dealing with danger, scarcity, and fear as best they can. 

Here are some RecReads lists we’ve created:
This Is The End (UI 447462) check back for updates!
Apocalypse Now (UI 425762)
For Fans of Black Mirror (UI 446307)
Troubled Times (historical fiction) (UI 426804)

Note: UI is a field code for unique identifier and lets you quickly navigate directly to an article by pasting the field code UI in with the number. 

On the other hand, you might want to avoid all thoughts of impending global disaster. Maybe the kids are out of school, and everybody needs a little distracting family entertainment. NoveList has a tone appeal that we use only on youth literature that’ll do the trick: DE feel-good. For a similar feel in adult books, try a search for DE heartwarming

Readers looking for a little relief could also search the following soothing appeal terms, which are applied at all reading levels:
DE funny 
DE hopeful 
DE inspiring 
DE upbeat
DE whimsical 

We have also compiled some RecReads lists and articles that may be helpful. For kids:
Don’t Worry, Here’s a Booklist (UI 449528) – annotated booklist for children dealing with anxiety
I Feel … Scared (UI 439552) – RecReads list for 0-8
Sickness (UI 417069) –  RecReads list for 0-8

For adults:
Up Lit (UI 446601) – RecReads list for adults
Gentle Reads (UI 431361) – RecReads list for adults
Getting Cozy (UI 437500) – RecReads list for adults

However you choose to approach your reading life over the next few weeks and months, NoveList will be doing our part to help you find the right books in times that feel, let’s face it, just wrong. 


Autumn Winters is the Recommendations Lead for NoveList. Her favorite appeal term is folk-art style.





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