Monday, February 26, 2024

(Photo: Harvard Book Store via Facebook)

Harvard Book Store has compiled a list of book recommendations dubbed “Quarantine Reading” that can be ordered online during the closing of the store’s physical location. This collection of 19 books is sure to provide weeks of entertainment for adult readers suffering from lockdown-induced boredom. The list contains staff favorites compiled originally for and Boston magazine, and may get more additions over coming weeks, general manager Alex Meriwether said. It spans an impressively wide and eclectic range of literary genres, including titles such as Thomas Mann’s classic novella “Death in Venice,” Michael Finkel’s “The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Tale of the Last True Hermit,” Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry,” the Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America and all three installations of Hilary Mantel’s recently completed Cromwell-focused “Wolf Hall” trilogy. The full catalog can be viewed on the store website.

The store will also make personalized recommendations to readers who fill out an online survey, in a new service called “Ask a Bookseller,” and continues to provide weekly updates and recommendations to subscribers of its free “News and Events” newsletter.

The following excerpts are from the book store’s contributions to and Boston Magazine.


“The Plague” by Albert Camus: “It’s one of those classics that’s been on ‘to read’ lists forever. Now seems to be the time.” – Carole Horne

“My Brilliant Friend” and the rest of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet: “A long, engrossing story of female friendship and a window into the Italy of another time [since] I recommend tackling something big.” – Rachel Cass


“On The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit” by Michael Finkel: “Self-isolation taken to the extreme.” – Meriwether

“Making Comics” by Lynda Barry: “Always funny, poignant, and generous, Barry’s an incredible guide through the process of drawing.” – Lauren Artiles

Works by Cambridge authors

“Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng: With the Hulu adaptation streaming, “it’s the perfect time to catch up, [but] I loved and would recommend … at any time.” – Rachel Cass

“The Resisters” by Gish Jen: “Takes us to the future world of AutoAmerica, where the things we see today – AI and surveillance technology, climate change – have reached their predictable end, in a cautionary tale both amazing and important.” -Carole Horne