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2020 Is a Whole Mood—Here’s What to Read, Whatever You’re Feeling

by  | September 29
Girl curled up in a blanket

One minute you’re crying over a dog commercial, the next you’re stress eating your way through the ice cream. No, it’s not hormones—it’s the chaotic mess that is 2020. While some of us may be experiencing months of the same mood, others flit from one to the next within the span of one Netflix binge session. No matter where your mood happens to be, there’s always a book around to meet the moment. We’re here to recommend the perfect book antidotes to cure, cheer, or comfort you through whatever vibes the pandemic is throwing your way.   

Big Friendship

Big Friendship

by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

Courtney’s Mood—Virtual hangs are all I have

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had too many quarantine moods to count, but the one that has stuck with me the most is my desire to stay connected on a regular basis with my friends. Since the beginning of quarantine, my friends and I try to get on a video call together every week where we bring drinks, crafts, and anything we want to discuss. Recently, we all read Big Friendship, which has led to conversations about the importance of friendships and cultivating those relationships just as you would a romantic or familial one. Told from the shared perspectives of the co-hosts of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast, the book includes their first meeting, multiple moves around the country, friendship therapy, and the continued efforts they put in to their relationship today. Being able to look at a friendship from the outside, and learn how they were able to get through the tough parts and bask in the good parts, was inspirational to all of us. I can only hope that if my friendships can make it through quarantine, they can make it through anything.

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Razzle Dazzle

Razzle Dazzle

by Michael Riedel

Erin’s Mood—Tipsy-watching musicals

After the release of Hamilton on DisneyPlus in July, my wife and I decided we needed to shake up our pandemic routine a bit by buying beer and hard seltzer and starting a tradition of tipsy musical sing-alongs—as one does. I highly recommend it as an entertaining way to spend another Saturday night at home. And if you’re missing Broadway and have already discovered this great way to briefly escape the dumpster fire that is 2020, I have one more suggestion for you: read Michael Riedel’s Razzle Dazzle. It’s the perfect book for all musical theater fans, in detailing the rise, fall, and redemption of Broadway, including all the drama and intrigue from the theater world at the end of the 20th century. And after you read that, you can pick up Michael’s new book, Singular Sensation, which focuses on Broadway during the 1990s, and comes out this November!

For musical fans missing Broadway, check out our full musical booklist recs!

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Watership Down The Coloring Book

Watership Down The Coloring Book

by Sophia O'Connor

Sharon’s Mood—Coloring books bring me peace

Quarantining has given me the opportunity to tap into my artistic side. From April to July, I worked on a paint-by-number project, replicating Vincent van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night. Afterward, I was looking for another project, and my dad found a new endeavor for me: the Watership Down coloring book. While the coloring book itself has allowed me to reminisce about one of my favorite books, the act of coloring has also given me the sense of tranquility I felt while reading the Richard Adams classic.

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Confessions of a Shopaholic

Confessions of a Shopaholic

by Sophie Kinsella

Jessica’s Mood—Online shopping for days

Does the name Becky Bloomwood ring a bell? If you were a reader in the early 2000s, you knew her well, and in the last few months I’ve begun to realize I have more in common with her than I care to admit. You see, Becky is the main character in Sophie Kinsella’s massively successful Confessions of a Shopaholic series and, unsurprisingly, she has a problem with shopping.  When I first read the Shopaholic series, it was a delightful distraction, a fun, fast- paced series about Becky’s struggles with her career, her family, her boyfriend and, yes, her shopping. It was easy to laugh off her antics and her credit card schemes, but now? Now, that I’ve been home for seven months ordering clothes for my kids, shoes for my husband, bookshelves for my house, and hair scrunchies for myself (THAT I DON’T EVEN NEED!), I have a little more sympathy for Becky. There’s something to be said for the smooth satisfaction of “add to cart” and the long-tail anticipation of a package at the door. Hopefully, I’ll get a handle on my shopping in less than the 9 books it took Becky to do so!

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We All Fall Down

We All Fall Down

by Daniel Kalla

Allie’s Mood—Immersing in the chaos

Even as a child, I often confronted my anxieties by facing them head-on in movies and books. It’s a mix of being so obsessed with a topic and also wanting to have as much information on it as possible (know your enemy, am I right?). This means that I’ve watched Dante’s Peak at least 50 times over the course of my life, but I’ve yet to actually encounter a real volcano. With everything happening right now, I’ve found myself drawn to pandemic stories. If you’re anything like me, I recommend grabbing a copy of Daniel Kalla’s We All Fall Down—a story that begins after an outbreak of the Black Death in present-day Italy. The book follows Alana Vaughn, an infectious diseases expert who is tasked with hunting down Patient Zero and finding a way to stop the plague in its tracks.

Speculate on the future and embrace the chaos with even more dystopian book lists.

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A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

by Amor Towles

Molly’s Mood—EVERYTHING IS FINE!!

A Gentleman in Moscow is more of an “Everything is fine—really!” mood than dog drinking coffee in a fire “Everything is fine" mood, but that’s kind of what I need in my life at the moment!

In Amor Towles’s gorgeous historical fiction A Gentleman in Moscow, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a hotel directly across from the Kremlin, for penning a poem considered rebellious against the regime. His sentence begins in 1922 and spans four decades—and as major events in Russia and throughout the world cause upheaval, Count Rostov is privy to it all, from a distance. Though he is stripped of his wealth and forced to live in a small room in the attic, Count Rostov never uses this as an excuse to detach from society. In fact, he finds joy in building community within the hotel and feels his world has expanded rather than contracted. It’s a perfect quarantine novel, providing the reader with both escapism and a guide to how to survive *gestures wildly* all this.

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Red, White & Royal Blue

Red, White & Royal Blue

by Casey McQuiston

Emily’s Mood—Stress Eating

This is the story of how I gained my Covid-19 (pounds, that is). First, I randomly impulse-bought plain graham crackers at the grocery store (even though they’re terrible on their own). Then, on my next trip, I bought marshmallows and chocolate bars so that I could turn my cardboard crackers into delicious s’mores. Thus, I began to average 2 s’mores per night until the supplies ran out. If you’re like me and have been stuffing your face with grocery goodies, you should also stuff your face into Red, White, and Royal Blue. The president of America’s son and the prince of England have never liked each other, but when the media catches on, they’re forced to spend time together to fake a friendship, which turns into the most adorable high-stakes romance! Just like s’mores, this book is a fluffy, layered bundle of deliciousness that’s beautiful in all its royal rom-com messiness.

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My Favorite Half-Night Stand

My Favorite Half-Night Stand

by Christina Lauren

Saimah’s Mood—Online Dating Struggles

How painful is online dating during a pandemic? Let me count the ways….If you’re like me and have always been annoyed by the swiping and texting of online dating, you know that this situation has only gotten worse during these “unprecedented times.” Nothing is more awkward than a video-call first date: you have to find the most flattering camera angle with the shifting lighting in your apartment. In short, it’s a nightmare, and you may want to run for the hills at this point.

Luckily, I’ve found my soulmate in a bottle of wine and Christina Lauren’s My Favorite Half-Night Stand. Enter Millie Morris and Reid Campbell. Millie and her group of four best guy friends (including Reid) are all professors at UC Santa Barbara. When an event at the university turns into a black-tie gala, they all decide to join an online dating service to find plus-ones. While the guys have success finding nice women to date, all Millie gets are nasty pictures and creepy AF messages (typical!). So, she decides to create a secret profile—as “Catherine”—and accidentally matches herself with Reid. Catherine and Reid seem to hit it off online, which makes things a bit complicated in real life.

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