By JAKE SEXTON
As our months-long quarantine continues, there are many things we miss from our regular lives. Can books fill in those gaps? No. Can they help take some of the edge off? Maybe. Let’s find out.
Missing your family and loved ones? To help you remember the closeness and eccentricity of families, you can check out David Sedaris’ “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.” A series of autobiographical short stories and essays by the famed humorist. In it, the author shares a variety of funny, touching, and sometimes troubling tales about this family and relationships. This book has the potential of filling you with nostalgia, melancholy, and gratitude.
If your love of travel is hampered by restrictions, you could try one of the great travel books of all time: J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” It is the story of a comfortable homebody stepping very much outside of his comfort zone for a road trip to the mountains with a very colorful group of strangers. Okay, one of those strangers is a wizard, they get attacked by goblins and giant spiders, and it’s a prequel to the fantasy epic “The Lord of the Rings.” But otherwise, it’s totally a travel book! Like “Eat, Pray, Love,” but with more dragons and magic swords.
While single people may or may not be okay alone, I know many single people have been struggling because they might not have the opportunity to safely date and look for love. Jasmine Guilllory’s “The Wedding Date” might be a good book for them. Especially if you’ve been missing going to weddings during quarantine! A classic tale of a man and a woman getting stuck together in an elevator. The Man invites the woman to pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming wedding. They have a turbulent long-distance relationship while trying to figure out what they want. How does it end? I’ll give you a hint: there are four more books in this series.
Many of us are missing the simple pleasures of sitting down and eating food at a restaurant. If that is you, may we suggest “Garlic and Sapphires” by Ruth Reichl? A memoir of her time as a New York Times restaurant critic for much of the 1990s, the book features vivid descriptions of her dining experiences, with a side of subterfuge whilst trying not to be recognized; all to get the “real experience” and not get special treatment.
Perhaps most of all, many people are missing spending time with other people at parties. In Priya Parker’s “The Art of Gathering,” the author discusses how psychological human needs play into our desire for social events. With examples of many types of real-life gatherings (BBQs, business meetings, dinner parties, etc.,) Parker gives concrete steps to make these events more meaningful on a personal level for all participants. And when the time comes, both her tips and our long absence will make our eventual reunions sweet indeed.
If you want to pick up some of these titles yourself, be sure to visit a branch of the San Diego County Library during limited in-person services. Check out our schedule or feel free to use any of our online services at www.sdcl.org.