What literary works do you want in *your* quarantine kit?
By Natalie Baliker, Jonathan Trinque, and Alex Mika
In times of woe, some people band together for comfort and commiseration. Others go to the nearest grocery store and buy all of the hand sanitizer, rice, and toilet paper. Here at Long River Review, books are one of our basic necessities. We’re stockpiling enough reading to last us through a six-month quarantine (or at least two weeks). Read on to see some of our staff’s top picks for their literary quarantine kits!
The Game of Thrones series
If none of my rereads tickle my fancy while stuck in quarantine, or if the two weeks turn into three, I plan to delve into George R. R. Martin’s colossal collection. I finished watching the television series, but (shamefully) haven’t picked up any of the books yet. No idea how long these will last, as the shortest book is roughly 700 pages.
The Provost’s Dog trilogy by Tamora Pierce
An old favorite of mine, this series is my go-to for entertainment purposes. A fantasy-world detective story that spans three brick-like books, this trilogy will probably hold me over for five days. But since I’ve read them so many times, it might be less…
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
An oddball of a book, it’s as if Twilight was actually good and written for adults instead of angsty teenagers. It’s not very long, but Sunshine is one of those novels that make you read slowly – not because the plot drags, but because I had to keep sitting back in my chair, saying “woah”. It was published in 2003, but I still think it’s pretty next. And there’s Cinnamon Rolls as Big as Your Head!
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas (and probably all of her other books, just in case)
If I’ve managed to get through all of the previous books, and I’m still stuck in quarantine, I’m going to turn to the comfort of my favorite YA-but-should-probably-be-adult-because-of-the-beach-scene author: Sarah J. Maas. House of Earth and Blood is the first installment of the Crescent City series, and was just released on March 3, 2020. I’ll be patient and save it for the tail end of my quarantine time so I have something to look forward to!
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Yes, this is a YA novel. Yes, it’s an obvious choice. Yes, I absolutely love it. I come back to this series time and time again and its magic has never wavered. It’s an epic three-part page turner steeped in suspense and filled with action, all of which is set within a vividly rendered dystopian world. For me this book is nostalgia, it’s inspiration, it’s indulgence. It’s a must-have to keep me preoccupied during my quarantine.
Sula by Toni Morrison
Sula was a standout favorite of mine from my American Literature course I took a while back. Morrison’s adept hand crafts characters, such as the titular Sula, who are so singular in their being they are never to be forgotten. I am still unable to shake the unsettling, upsetting, but ever-poignant imagery she has etched in my mind with her words. The scenes Morrison’s paints so perfectly call out and comment on the various forms of racism and otherism that sadly persists in our society. I could read this book front to back over and over and still find depth in the details of such a remarkable piece. I think it would be both an entertaining and meaningful usage of my time to revisit this story.
The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius
I adore graphic novels and I never seem to read enough of them. This one is a treasure and has low-key inspired so much of the space fantasy genre with both the world it has crafted and the gorgeous European art that captures it. Jodorowsky has created an absolutely bonkers epic of otherworldly shenanigans centered around The Incal, an object of great spiritual power. If I can’t sell you on it with the fact that the main protagonist has a “concrete seagull” pet named Deepo and a wolfman mercenary named Kill Wolfhead I don’t know what will.
Dune by Frank Herbert
This one is actually a book I own but have only read the first couple of pages of and a quarantine is the right time to finish it because I refuse to do this book a disservice by not giving it my full attention. It’s apparent from the start that this is a dense read, but fans and critics of this book have praised the unfathomable amount of work that went into creating this intricately-woven sci-fi masterpiece, so if you’ve got the time or if you’re unfortunately quarantined, check out this amazing novel.
@emubird2Renegade but in quarentine from corona virus ##studyabroad ##got2bStyled ##tiktokuniversity ##MakeTheLeap ##heartbeenbroke ##PUMARemix ##fyp ##foryoupage♬ Lottery – K Camp
UXL Encyclopedia of Diseases and Disorders
If you’re looking for a timely read, this five-volume work is definitely a dense, long piece, but few others will provide a sensory adventure that will afflict you, erm, affect you so much. It’s bound to elicit fear, discomfort, empathy, and relief all at the same time! There are also fun facts in the marginalia that will keep you and your loved ones entertained for hours. And, when you’re done, it works great as a doorstop.
@prostageShare some experience ##wuhan ##chinawuhan ##quarantine ##武汉加油 ##coronavirus ##新型冠状病毒♬ original sound – prostage
As of now, the CDC’s risk assessment for the majority of the American public is low, as most are unlikely to be exposed to the virus at this time. The latest global case numbers and situation reports can be found on the World Health Organization’s website. Current information about U.S. cases can be found on the Center for Disease Control’s website. The most important thing is to practice preventative measures. If you believe you are ill, contact your healthcare provider and follow the CDC’s advice to limit spread. And don’t forget to wash your hands!
For now, we’ll worry less about panic-buying in our local Costcos and more about what we’ll have on hand to read. Comment below what literary works you want in your quarantine kits!
Natalie Baliker is the Long River Review design center liaison and a fiction panel reader. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Jonathan Trinque is the Long River Review alumni engagement coordinator and a fiction panel reader. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alex Mika is the Long River Review nonfiction panel editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.