Anyone else going a little bit insane being cooped up all the time because of the pandemic but not sure of the best places to go to get outside without being around too many people? If you’re anything like me, books are providing a nice escape until things are more certain. You can “visit” other places, even far-flung ones, learn about other people, and let your imagination run free without ever leaving your home! Here are six books I’ve read and recommend as great escape books, who I recommend them for (because we all know that there’s no one book that every single person’s going to like), and good deals on all of them. Happy reading!

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel

What it’s about:

On its surface, it’s just a memoir of Haven’s childhood in smalltown America, when our country was “caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period [when] people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards.” But it’s so much more. It’s also:

  • a very funny romp through nostalgia. To wit:
    • “I figure heaven will be a scratch-and-sniff sort of place, and one of my first requests will be…Driftwood in its prime, while it was filled with our life. I will ask for the smell of my dad’s truck, which was a combination of basic truck (nearly universal), plus his cologne (Old Spice), unfiltered Lucky Strikes, and when I was very lucky, leaded gasoline.”
    • “‘Mom! There’s about two hundred hunter-looking men in our yard with Dad!’ Mom looked up from her book, granting me the unadulterated attention she usually reserved for really good science fiction.”

It’s also a beacon of appreciation for the simpler things in life, many of which we’re getting back to or longing for in these days of social distancing.

Who Might Like It:

  • Anyone who likes a good laugh

What’s the Deal:

$3.48 on Betterworld

Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

What it’s about:

From GoodReads:

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg’s strange talent for seeing the paths of people’s pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him–secrets about Rigg’s own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.

Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent…or forfeit control of his destiny.

Who Might Like It:

If you like deep sci-fi, or very philosophical, analytical, esoteric sci-fi, then this is an enjoyable book. It involves time travel, space travel, and politics in a very unique way. It is NOT a fast-moving plot, and there is much more analysis of and dialogue about what happens than actually happens. 

What’s the Deal:

$3.98 on BetterWorld, with free shipping

Body Electric by Beth Revis

What it’s about:

From GoodReads:

Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is as it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

What’s the Deal:

$4.99 on BarnesandNoble.com 

Rise of a Bayou Queen and Becoming a Bayou Queen: Two Novellas by Amryn Scott

What they’re about:

I just finished reading these two books, the first of four in the Bayou Queen Adventures novella series. They’re about a teenage girl named Sassy who, at the beginning of the first book, is dying. She’s just escaped a life of captivity and depravity–the only life she’s ever known–but at great cost. Fortunately, she’s rescued by a young man, who takes her to Hilltop, a home and haven (like the Weasley’s burrow) set in the swamps of a bayou somewhere, where she’s protected by the young man and his motley family. Though she’s never sure she’s truly free and because she had to leave her mother behind, it’s a long time before she begins to trust anyone. Even as she does, larger, surprising, mystical forces come into play that may give her the power she needs to rescue her mother…or alienate her from the family she’s grown to love…forever.

I can’t tell you much about the second book because it’s full of spoilers for the first, but suffice it to say that these books were both full of voice, mood, and movement. 

Who Would Like These Books:

  • fans of YA fantasy, for sure would like this book, although it’s a unique kind of fantasy. It’s not dragons and knights and quests…per se. You do have to be prepared for some twists and turns and suspensions of disbelief that may be new to you, but it’s worth the ride.
  • fans of any book told with style. 

What’s the deal?

The first book is free with Kindle Unlimited, although I would get the full set on Kindle for $9.99 because they’re really meant to be read as one book. You won’t get a full plot within each book (i.e., they end with cliffhangers), but you do get some resolution in each one.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

What it’s about:

From Goodreads:

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever

This is the kind of book I would write if I were to write werewolf fantasy. It’s calm, intriguing, and more about the relationships than the action. The climax, while stressful, is even calm, almost to the point of being anti-climactic. It is for that reason that I gave it a four stars instead of a five.

Who Would Like This Book?

Anyone who likes:

What’s the deal:

$5.99 on Barnes and Noble 

Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

What It’s About:

From GoodReads:

In 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history.

Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?

Who Would Like This Book?

As I said here, readers who

  • like multiple POV books, or books told from the perspective of multiple main characters. Since there are several main characters narrating parts of the story across a wide variety of time periods, you do have to pretty nimble to stay on top of what’s going on.
  • like women’s fiction, because this book reads much more like women’s fiction than science fiction

What’s the Deal?

I actually didn’t find any kind of a sale on Psychology of Time Travel, but I did find a very cool way to buy it while still social distancing. If you go to IndieBound.org and put in your zip code, you’ll be given a list of local, independent bookstores and links to them. The King’s English Bookstore is a wonderful bookshop somewhat near me, and they’re doing curbside pick-up and free delivery! 

There you go: six great escape books to help alleviate somewhat the pains of isolation. Let me know what you think!

Leave a Comment