As a public service, here’s a list of books for your global pandemic, self isolation reading — you are reading more now, aren’t you? They’re books I’ve enjoyed recently (though I wasn’t yet in self isolation).
Time traveling, sister stories, romance, and mystery
When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal — 5 stars.
A poignant story of sisterhood and reunion, this well-told story of separated sisters moved back and forth between the present and the past. It carries the reader to New Zealand, for armchair travel at its best — especially nice when we’re feeling housebound and phobic about getting on airplanes.
Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald — 5 stars.
This magical realism love story will break your heart and warm it as well. Moving through time in magical ways, the man and woman of different decades find a way to fall in love and sustain it. Their secret room feels a little claustrophobic to her — much the way we might be feeling a bit hemmed in as we isolate. Beautifully told, with vivid and engaging characters.
Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen — 5 stars.
A family saga combined with time travel? Yes, please. This is a heart-rending story of a time traveler who gets lost in another time, leaving his family behind only to form another and then have to decide in which time to live. I loved the SF Bay Area setting and the tender way the time traveler considers the effects of his traveling, to make the best outcome for everyone.
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas — 4 stars.
The twists and turns of the story of four time traveling women — who invented time travel back in the 1960s — will keep you riveted, as long as you can follow all the back-and-forthing in time. It’s essentially a locked room murder mystery, but it wasn’t the detection of the crime that kept me riveted. It was — per the title — the psychology of what being able to travel in time can do to you, and to your relationships. Knowing the date of your own death, and that of others. Being able to meet yourself in a different era. All fascinating stuff.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang — 5 stars.
This sweet and steamy romance between a male escort and a woman on the spectrum will grab you and keep you rooting for them to make a permanent arrangement. While giving the reader the classic elements of a romance, the story is highly original, with a setting that for me was a trip into a different community, an Asian one. I enjoyed the cultural exploration as much as the evolution of the relationship between these two charming and flawed people.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman — 4 stars.
The witty self-narration of the main character grabbed me from the start. Nina is an expert in self isolation, an introvert’s introvert. Working in a bookstore (the emblem of living in a dream world), she slowly enters a new family and the real world. Though the wit at time got a bit precious for my taste, I gobbled up this book and want to read more from this writer.