Three Books for Wallowing in Quarantine Fear and Three Books for Distracting Yourself From the World


It’s no question that we’re living in a crazy time right now. Being quarantined at home means switching back and forth between wallowing in the state of the world and desperately trying to distract yourself from thinking about the COVID-19 situation. So, since now is the perfect time to get some reading in, I thought I’d give you some options for either mood.

Do you want to go full-on pandemic acceptance and really dive headfirst into wallowing in your quarantine sadness? Do you want to take a break from constantly hearing about COVID-19 on the news and switch it up by constantly reading about very similar but fictional pandemic situations? Great! I’ve got three choices for you to really reinforce that fear that we’re about to be living out the plot of a dystopian novel.

  • No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz: Wouldn’t it be awesome if you were quarantined in a mega mall instead of your sad tiny apartment?? NO. In this book, a bunch of people that happen to be in a mall during a deadly outbreak are quarantined as basically everyone dies around them. This book will freak you out so much that you’ll never want to visit the mall after all this is over. You’re welcome!
  • The Stand by Stephen King: Thinking about how society is going to have to rebuild after this pandemic is over? Great! Make those thoughts horrible by reading a viral outbreak story from one of the most messed-up minds of our generation. Plus, it’s over 800 pages long, so maybe by the time you’re done reading it, quarantine will be over and you can go outside to see how horrible your own world has become.
  • The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan: Can’t think of how this virus could get any worse? Vampires! What if instead of flu-like symptoms, everyone that became infected by this virus turned into blood-hungry monsters? And not the romantic Twilight kind. I’m talking about gory-horror-movie vampires. On the plus side, maybe it’ll remind you that our current situation could be worse?

Want to distract yourself from all this madness and pretend like nothing is happening? Here’s some less-scary choices for you!

  • Rumple Buttercup by Matthew Gray Gubler: This is a charming and uplifting kids book by my favorite Criminal Minds actor. I don’t think it should be limited to kids, however, because the message at its core about self-acceptance should be taught to everyone. Plus the illustrations are super cute. And there’s no mention of a global pandemic in it! Yay!
  • Emma by Jane Austen: I just finished reading this book and guess what—no one dies or gets sick in it!! While there is a teeny-tiny subplot that Emma’s father is overly paranoid that he will catch a cold from drafty windows, he never does. This book is just happy and will surely distract you for a while from COVID-19 fears. 
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: Listen. I know you’ve read them before. I know you’ve read them multiple times. But think back to the last time you read them—how long ago was it? Too long! Being stuck at home for weeks means it’s the perfect time to read them again! Plus, when all of this is over, you’ll be fresh-from-the-page and defeat everyone at Harry Potter trivia night.

For real though, I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy at home and catching up on some of your for-pleasure reading. And washing your hands!