books

Jill Wilson enjoys a sunny afternoon at home with the magical tale of “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern. (Courtesy photo)

Needless to say, most of our schedules are less booked than they used to be. But fortunately, that means more time for tomes, and while the library may be closed, the inquisitive bibliophiles of the Wilkinson Public Library are still dishing out their favorite reads. Here are a few recommendations from library staff on what to read when the world seems to be going to Helsinki in a hand sanitizer bottle.

Alice Martin, longtime service specialist, recommends Isabel Allende’s “Long Petal of the Sea.” Set during the Spanish Civil War and leading up to World War II, the historical fiction novel follows a young couple who flee Franco’s fascist government in Spain and embark on a new life in Chile, though new trials await the exiled couple in their adopted land.

“This is her most recent book and perhaps one of her best,” Martin said. “Bottom line is that it is a fabulous read that will get our minds off of our current problems and be able to see that things could be much worse.”

Jill Wilson, public services manager, suggests “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern for a vivid escape into a fantastical world. In an unusual circus called Le Cirque des Rêves, which takes place only at night, magicians Celia and Marco must duel nightly amid spectacular wonders. Even they themselves do not know the boundaries of their duel, and as they fall headlong in love with one another, the circus is transformed into a mesmerizing stage on which their game plays out, drawing everyone around them into their unstoppable orbit.

“Everything else is so focused on the COVID-19 pandemic right now, it is nice to have something that will transport you into a completely different magical and enchanting world,” Wilson said.

For those wishing to enhance their knowledge of disease and pandemics at the moment, events manager Laura Colbert recommends “Spillover” by David Quammen, while teen specialist Dennis Andrejko pointed to “Survival of the Sickest” by evolutionary biologist Sharon Moalem and neurogeneticist Jonathan Prince. “Spillover” describes the emergence of new diseases and the “spillover” effect of disease transference from animals to humans. “Survival of the Sickest” takes a look at case studies that support the authors’ theory that many diseases, in fact, were useful to humans at some point in evolutionary history, in effect giving “our ancestors a leg up in the survival sweepstakes.”

Meanwhile, Teresa Westman, service specialist, suggests diving into “The Enneagram Made Easy” by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele, which explores the famous personality typing model. The system, which emerged in its contemporary form in the 1950s, maps how different personality types conceptualize the world and manage emotions, establishing nine interconnected categories that explore patterns of the human psyche.

“Perhaps never in the history of the world have we all collectively had an experience which is both isolating and unifying at the same time,” Westman noted. “It is an ideal time to build self-awareness. This is a great, light-hearted introduction to the Enneagram, with cartoons.”

Tiffany Osborne and Maggie McNally weigh in with two easy-to-digest novels to make you laugh and think, with “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle and “Normal People” by Sally Rooney, respectively. “Untamed,” a New York Times bestselling memoir, reveals the author’s experience of discovering the peace, joy and freedom of relinquishing others’ expectations of her and instead tuning into her own deep inner voice. “Normal People” chronicles the relationship between two teenagers moving out into the world while navigating the complexities of class, first love, social expectations and the search for meaning.

So cozy up, make a mug of tea and may metaphors be with you.