CALLING ALL QUARANTINE HERMITS: A boredom remedy may be in your near future

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Bridget Fekety, Junior Contributor

Times are dire. With the Coronavirus on the rise and travel freedoms on the fall, people are anxious to default back to their normal lives rather than decaying away in the quarantine quarters now known as their own home. Unfortunately, in order to keep this virus in check, it is crucial to listen to the government and stay indoors. On the other hand, perhaps staying indoors doesn’t have to be that dismal:

Welcome to the Quarantine Cure: Top 3 books to read to blast away that boredom.

Contender 1: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

What is it? The Night Circus is primarily a fantasy novel, but it focuses largely on aspects of romance and dabbles mystery. The plot follows two main characters, Celia and Marco, both of whom are magicians who had been trained from a young age to, unknowingly, face off in a “game”–a fight to the death–on behalf of their instructors. To the outsider eye, the entire cutthroat competition appears to take the form of an innocent, mysterious circus that opens exclusively at night which, like the coronavirus, also appears without warning and leaves with just as much notice. The Night Circus is nothing less than complex and compelling, twisting the fates of its two main characters together as well as establishing the circus as a crucial component to the lives of the pair and everyone else stuck in the “game”. 

Why this book? This book was chosen mainly because of its overarching concept and themes. While many books cover many amazing, deep themes, it felt like themes of love, family, community, time, mortality and rivalry were fitting for this time in the world. As resources in stores dwindle, rivalry and competition can be quite prominent, just as this seemingly everlasting quarantine time could be a fantastic time for bonding with family and community (from a distance, of course). Although The Night Circus may address these themes in ways different than the world currently, reading about these themes in a mysterious, action-packed way is bound to take anyone’s mind off boredom and onto the magic that the book has to offer. Good-bye quarantine, welcome to the circus!

Recommended Reading Mood: This book is recommended for those who want to wash away their boredom with questions and curiosity. Not saying that the book is confusing (or limited to such feelings), but the content can have such an ominous, mysterious feel to it that many readers often find themselves asking thought-provoking and essential questions to future plot points. While most readers question and predict when reading anyways, The Night Circus is unique in the way that figuring out what questions are best to ask is something to ponder within itself AND not every question may have an answer. 

 

Contender 2: The Giver by Lois Lowry. 

What is it? The Giver is a story which is set in a time and place where “sameness” is the norm and freedom and choice are most definitely not a choice. Following the story of Jonas, a boy who, like everyone else, tends to only see the world in grey, black, and white, many thought provoking questions are raised in both the reader and main character ranging from “I wonder what life would be like without independence” to “I wonder what life could be with independence”. The story entails much more than could be described in a small summary, but everything seems to be set in motion when Jonas receives the job “Receiver of Memory” which allows him to experience memories before the “sameness” and realize what life could be like, a life not just in black and white.

Recommended Reading Mood: This is an amazing read, but a fairly quick one. This would be recommended for those who want a snappy story to consume and still ponder after the last page has been turned. Looking at a dystopian perspective of a society much unlike the one of America today allows the reader to begin thinking about the small things that one may not usually sweat on the daily. In another opinionated statement, a reader may find the concept and stark contrast quite interesting to think about and compare.

Why this book? It’s a quick and easy novel which allows the reader to temporarily disconnect from reality and consume themselves in another reality, with a contrasting kind of bleakness to our own. Although a large portion of it is described in blacks, whites, and greys, the novel is anything but boring and readers will be thankful to have the memory of finishing such a story.

 

Contender 3: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. 

What is it? Six of Crows is both a fantasy and an anti-hero novel which closely follows the journey of six unique individuals, all brought together to perform “one impossible heist”. The book is told from a third person perspective, but still follows alternating character viewpoints throughout its entirety. This story deals less with magic and more with natural ability and skill of the individuals: While one of the crews members, Nina, is grisha (a type of magical being for those who are not familiar with Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse Trilogy), the other members (Inej, a knife wielding ex-acrobat, Kaz, a stone-hearted lock-picking gang leader, Matthias, an ex-soldier and sweetheart at the core, Wylan, a soft music-loving individual, and Jesper, a killer sharpshooter) don’t need magic to define their deadly abilities. Their world is facing a drug called Jurda Parem which makes grisha insanely powerful–and insanely dangerous, but that’s the least of the crew’s concerns because they have their eyes set on what people call “an impossible heist” that, if successful, make make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Although things may not be as impossible, or predictable, for the crew as they thought. 

Recommended Reading Mood: This book is recommended for those who desperately want to completely escape reality and encapsulate themselves in another world with its own set of problems. Even if the reader can’t leave their house they are bound to feel transported to Ketterdam (one of the set locations in Six of Crows), joining Kaz and his crew for their deadly heist. It’s also recommended for those individuals who enjoy detail and dynamic relationships.

Why this book? Bias. Six of Crows may be the favorite book of the individual composing this piece, but regardless of that fact, Leigh Bardugo handles serious topics, such as drugs, poverty and other typically “untouchable” topics in an eloquent and sophisticated manner, as well as creating characters who the readers can quickly begin to sympathize for even when they are criminals of a sort. In such a serious time, this novel is great to see how not much is “impossible” and even the most rag-tag team can get through tough situations and time, granted they stick together.