I’m proud to say that I’m a bookworm. When I was a little girl, I absolutely loved going to the library with my Nana. We both walked out of the building with large tote bags filled to the brim with books. My reading obsession continued as I got older, and picked up steam particularly in middle school. However, as I got older and I had more responsibilities, I didn’t have as much free time to fly through books like I used to.
And then quarantine hit.
I sat and counted all of the books I read during my time stuck at home during the pandemic before returning to Illinois State’s campus, and my grand total comes out to twenty-six. Twenty-six freaking books!!! With that being said, I know not everyone has the drive to consume that many stories, so I’ve listed my top five books I read in quarantine.
- Renegades by Marissa Meyer
I have to offer up a shout-out to my friend Ashley for recommending this one to me. This is the first book in a trilogy all about superheroes and villains. Now, I may not be the biggest Marvel film fan (although I do appreciate some Spiderman from time to time!), but this book definitely gives off some similar vibes. I fell in love from the cast of characters right off the bat: Nova (aka “Nightmare”) really is such an invigorating female protagonist. Meyer does an excellent job not only in this first installment, but also in the entire trilogy, to really emphasize that there is no such thing as truly evil or truly good: we often find ourselves in a morally gray area that is difficult to navigate due to the world around us. Also, this book ended off with a fairly big cliffhanger, so I literally ordered the second one as soon as I finished with this!
- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
I actually read this book years ago, but I remembered enjoying it so much that I decided to give it a re-read during quarantine. And let me tell you, it was equally as amazing the second time around. What I really love about this series is the diversity of the cast of characters It’s super unique, and its world that is similar to the Roman Empire serves as the perfect backdrop for Laia, a slave who secretly begins working with the Resistance, and Elias, a Martial soldier who doesn’t quite feel like he belongs. Really interesting world-building and some beautiful writing are what you’ll find in this book.
- Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Another shout-out to Ashley for this one (seriously though, I love having a friend I can turn to for book recommendations!). This book is set in a French inspired world in which main character Lou is doing her best to survive being a witch. Lou is very stubborn and outspoken, and when she quite literally has a run-in with Reid Diggory, an officer who just so happens to hunt and kill witches like her for a living, both of their lives change in ways they didn’t expect. I think that this book would be a great read for the fall, and the next installment in the series (Blood and Honey) comes out on September first of this year.
- Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
This is the third book in Bardugo’s Grishaverse trilogy, the first being Shadow and Bone. Netflix is actually set to release a tv series based on the books within the next year, and I am super excited about it! Bardugo’s writing only improves by this third installment, and main character Alina Starkov isn’t too similar to any other popular female protagonists such as Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) or Tris Prior (Divergent). Instead, Alina decides to take control and not let Fate do all of the planning, and the Russian ties to this world made me feel like I was also learning more about a different culture along the way.
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
At the point I’m mentally kicking myself because how have I not read any of Leigh Bardugo’s books until this year?! This is the second Leigh Bardugo book to make my list, and out of the five novels I’ve read of hers, they just keep on getting better and better. Also going to be included in the “Shadow and Bone” Netflix series, this story follows an eclectic group of six characters who are tasked to pull off a huge heist. This book, including its sequel Crooked Kingdom, is extremely raw, dark, and gritty. As I was reading it, I definitely could picture it as a tv series, and it feels reminiscent of Mission Impossible films, but with magic and a group of kids from not so luxurious backgrounds.
And there you have it: my top five books from quarantine! I hope you found at least one book you’d like to give a read the next time you’re sitting at home with nothing to do. I firmly believe that reading can be a magical experience, which is certainly beneficial during these tough times. So, with that in mind, why not pick up a book? It truly can be transformative.