Sometimes the best thing you can do when the world seems to have gone bad is to escape from reality through books.
Here are six books that will help you be somewhere else. Happy reading.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (Penguin, www.penguin.com)
A Discovery of Witches is now a TV series. I confess I haven't read it, but I read and loved the trilogy featuring Diana Bishop, a descendant of witches who unearths an enchanted alchemist manuscript, and Matthew Clairmont, a vampire who has an interest in the book Diana banishes back to the stacks at Oxford's Bodleian Library. There is everything in this series — witches and vampires, magic and mystery, suspense, history and time travel. An excellent series to escape into.
Amazing Grace by Leslie Crewe (Nimbus Publishing, nimbus.ca)
Amazing Grace was an amazing book. I read it in 2015 and have passed it along to many family members and recommended it as often as possible. It was a quick read that put me into a book slump, a period of time when you can't read anything else because you are still emotionally invested in the one you just read. It's a real thing. In this book set in Cape Breton, we follow the story of Grace Willingdon, who is content with her life. One day, Grace gets a call from her estranged son, worried about his teenage daughter. Grace finds herself the guardian of this self-absorbed teenager, eventually telling her her story.
Harry Potter by JK Rowling (Raincoast Books, www.raincoast.com)
A list about escaping reality wouldn't be complete without the entire Harry Potter series. I have been thinking of re-reading this series again simply because it's such a great way of escaping this world. I started reading this series late, but eventually caught up, reading each book the moment it came out. A couple of years ago, I read the series to my child. It was an amazing experience, and one I would highly recommend doing yourself. It was like reading it the first time, but through the eyes of your child. It was almost more magical.
There are mixed reactions to The Cursed Child, the screenplay that follows the final book in the series. I highly recommend reading it. I really liked it.
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center (Raincoast Books, www.raincoast.com)
Much like us, main character Maggie discovers “Life can change in the blink of an eye”; for her, it's an accident that leaves her paralyzed. How to Walk Away was a quick read with great characters, strong but flawed. It is nice to escape into a book that puts your struggles into perspective. There were so many great character quotes in this book, words of wisdom I wrote down to remember and reflect on.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (Broadway Books, www.broadwaybooks.com)
I absolutely love books about books and book lovers — they get me. In this book, set in France, Monsieur Perdu pulls up anchor on his bookstore on a barge in the Seine after being tempted to read a letter from his one great love — who disappeared many years before, leaving him with a letter he never opened. This book talks about books as a way to solve problems and gives you a beautiful view of France.
On the Spectrum by Jennifer Gold (Second Story Press, www.secondstorypress.ca)
I loved On the Spectrum, which features Clara, a 16-year-old girl with orthorexia, an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. She goes to Paris to stay with her estranged dad, stepmother and six-year-old brother Alastair, who is on the autism spectrum. This was an amazing book with some fabulous characters and amazing food. Plus Paris. We will always have Paris. Jennifer Gold also wrote Solider Doll, another young adult book that was equally as good. I interviewed Gold about On the Spectrum. https://booktime584.wordpress.
So, there are just six books that will help you escape this new world we live in. Some are bringing you to places that I have yet to discover and others to places I wish I was in.
Lisa Day is the author of two book blogs, Book Time, where she reviews a variety of books for a variety of readers and offers author Q&As, and followsummer.com, book reviews that inspire armchair travel.