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Hunker down. That’s what you’ll be doing for the immediate future — trying to stay well, get well or just wait.

You’ve had enough TV, and the pantry is as clean as it’ll ever get. So maybe it’s time to find something to read.



If you’re a fan of unusual thrillers, look for “Please See Us,” by Caitlin Mullen. It’s the story of two dead women who have not yet been found in their marshy graves. But they know what’s going on, and they know they won’t be alone for long. They also know who killed them. Also, thriller fans, get “Journey of the Pharaohs,” by the late Clive Cussler and Graham Brown.

“The Love Story of Missy Charmichael,” by Beth Morrey, is a sweetheart of a book. It’s about a 79-year-old woman who’s largely alone. Her children are scattered or estranged, and she’s old enough to believe that reflection on her past is all she has left. And then, she meets a dog.

The fan of historical fiction will love having “Westering Women,” by Sandra Dallas. It’s the story of a young seamstress and her daughter, both of whom travel with a caravan of other women to answer the call for “eligible women” out west in the 1800s.


“The Less People Know About Us,” by Axton Betz-Hamilton, is a tale of stolen identity and betrayal, family turmoil and a perpetrator you won’t believe. Another bio to find: “My Time Among the Whites,” by Jennine Capó Crucet, writes of being a Latina woman in a world that’s mostly Caucasian.

It’s always time to hunker-hunker down with some burning love, and “Elvis Through the Ages,” by Boze Hadleigh, is the book you want. Filled with pictures, quotations and tales of The King, it’s great if you’re so lonely, baby. Here’s another book about a king (to-be): “King Charles: The Man, the Monarch, and the Future of Britain,” by Robert Jobson, is about William’s father — the man who’s next in line to the British throne.


Music fans will love “The Beatles from A to Zed,” by Peter Asher. It’s an easy-breezy book about the Fab Four, but indirectly, which means you’ll get some little-discussed, little-known tales that fans will need to know. “She Can Really Lay It Down,” by Rachel Frankel, is a book about music’s female rebels and rockers. Or, look for “1973: Rock at the Crossroads,” by Andrew Grant Jackson, a book that’s part history, part music history and all nostalgia.

For the reader who loves a good true-medicine tale, try “The Open Heart Club,” by Gabriel Brownstein. Written by a man whose life was saved by cardiac surgery when he was a child, this book looks at heart surgery in the past and what’s being done to cure the heart now. Another book to look for is “The Cigarette: A Political History,” by Sarah Milov.

For parents or parents-to-be, how about something different? “Designing Babies,” by Robert L. Klitzman, MD, is a guidebook filled with choices that potential moms and dads can make when taking that big step toward parenthood. It’s also a book about how tomorrow’s generations are being affected by technology today. Also, try “9 Months In, 9 Months Out,” by Vanessa Lobue, which is a scientific look at pregnancy and being a parent, written by a scientist.

The reader who hates the fact that church has to be missed will enjoy having “The Knights of Columbus: An Illustrated History,” by Andrew T. Walther and Maureen H. Walther. It’s a large, beautiful retrospective on the “K of C,” its contributions and the leaders who influenced the Knights through the decades.

“Nomad: Designing a Home for Escape and Adventure,” by Emma Reddington, is a heavy, beautiful book filled with ideas for the person who wants to convert a bus, van, or boat into a permanent living space that’s movable. While you’re reading that one, keep “Making a Life,” by Melanie Falick, nearby. It’s a book on crafting, art and subsisting on that which you create.

“On Flowers,” by Amy Merrick, might be something to lift your spirits. It’s filled with photos, and its words reflect an appreciation for all things colorful. The book to read after that is “White Feathers: The Nesting Lives of Tree Swallows,” by Bernd Heinrich. Learn about your feathered friends.

Another book to find and one that’s perfect for environmentalists is “Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther,” by Craig Pittman. Filled with humor, action and a pretty kitty, it’s great for animal lovers. And this, “Running with Sherman,” by Christopher McDougall, is a story of a donkey.

If you’re thinking that now’s the time to consider a good break and a new business, “Discipline Strategy,” by Timothy L. Coomer, Ph.D., is a worthwhile read and a good place to start. It’s about decision-making, goal-setting and doing the best work you can offer to your customers.

Sports fans, there’s no doubt that you’re feeling bereft without your favorite team on TV, so why not pick up a sports book instead? “Games of Deception,” by Andrew Maraniss, is the tale of Nazi Germany, World War and the United States’ first Olympic basketball team. Another book for the sports fan is “The Eighth Wonder of the World: The True Story of André the Giant,” by Bertrand Hebert and Pat LaPrade. It’s a tale of wrestling and the man who made it fun to watch.

If this quarantine is compounded by loss, look for “Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief,” by David Kessler. It’s a book for healing that takes things just one step beyond old, conventional grieving.

If you’re already tired of the same old meals, look for “Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen,” by Alexander Smalls.

True crime

“Highway of Tears,” by Jessica McDiarmid, is a look into a tragedy. Along a highway in British Columbia, officials have discovered dozens of murdered indigenous women and girls through the decades. How it happened and what is being done about it will keep you on the edge of your seat. Also, look for “The Lost Brothers,” by Jack El-Hai, a missing-boys mystery that’s nearly seven decades old, but a very active case.

Here’s one to whet your true crime whistle: “Assassinations: The Plots, Politics and powers Behind History-Changing Murders,” by Nick Redfern. Another: “The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia,” by Emma Copley Eisenberg, is the story of a crime that impacted an entire geographical area.

If you’ve always wondered what it might be like to be in a high government crime-fighting position, you’ll want to read “The Unexpected Spy,” by Tracy Walder, with Jessica Anya Blau. It’s the story of Walder’s years with the FBI, the CIA and the life of one woman inside the world of taking down terrorists.

If you’ve always wondered how crime-fighters do their work, look for “American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics and the Birth of American CSI,” by Kate Winkler Dawson. It’s a book about the man who helped set the stage for the way forensics is done, even today, and that includes the things he got all wrong.

Women’s studies

Who doesn’t want the most fabulous life ever? If that describes you, but you think you’re too old, read “A Woman Makes a Plan,” by Maye Musk. It’s a book of advice but also a bio by a woman who’s had an interesting life.

If you’re the type of person who likes light, short reading, try “The American Women’s Almanac: 500 Years of Making History,” by Deborah G. Felder. This book is full of short biographies of women who changed history and how they did it.

For the reader who’s concerned about health past the current situation, look for “The Queen V: Everything You Need to Know About Sex, Intimacy and Down There Health Care,” by Dr. Jackie Walters.

If this quarantine has you in a reflective mood, look for “How to Be Fine: What We Learned from Living by the Rules of 50 Self-Help Books,” by Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer. It’s a tale of self-help, support, friendship and knowing that you’re on the right track in your life. And speaking of pals, look for “Friendship,” by Lydia Denworth, a book on the science and cultural history of friendship.


If you’re looking for something empowering, try “Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights,” by Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Katie McCabe. During the Civil Rights Movement, Roundtree was an attorney who not only helped her clients but also took on a racist system. Another book to find is “Race Against Time,” by Jerry Mitchell. As a reporter, Mitchell covered Civil-Rights-era crimes.

You might not find “The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh,” by Candace Fleming, in the adult biography section of your library or bookstore. You might find it in the young adult section. But that doesn’t mean this book is just for teens. Adults will thrill to the story of Lindburgh, his feats and accomplishments, his life and tragedy and the beliefs he held that tarnish his legacy today.

Civil War buffs will want “Not Even Past: The Stories We Keep Telling About the Civil War,” by Cody Marrs. Marrs takes a look at that which has been written and told for generations and why those tales matter. Also look for “Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War,” by S.C. Gwynne.

World War II buffs will enjoy “Inge’s War,” by Svenja O’Donnell. It’s the story of a story that O’Donnell learned as an adult, when she reached out to her grandmother and discovered family secrets, triumphs and villainy.

Speed demons in need of a little zoom will want to find “Faster,” by Neal Bascomb, a book about a race car driver who was the victim of racism, an automaker who was the victim of financial mayhem and an heiress who dreamed of her youth.

If you love reading slice-of-life historical tales, look for “The Jamestown Brides: The Story of England’s ‘Maids for Virginia’,” by Jennifer Potter. It’s the true story of the women who left their homes in Great Britain in 1620 to join settlers in Jamestown, the hardships they endured and what it was like to live in America at the country’s very infancy.

LGBTQ studies

“Uncomfortable Labels,” by Laura Kate Dale, is the story of a gay trans woman who also is autistic.

Here’s a book for parents and for transgender readers: “What We Will Become,” by Mimi Lemay, a story of little girl who knew she was a boy and his mother, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, who loved her child enough to give up her old life.

“Daddy,” by Michael Montlack, will be what to look for at the end of this virus’ run. Some of the poems are musings, some are heartfelt, others read a bit like individual paragraphs, and all are compelling. You’ll find “Daddy” available in later April.

Books for children

“Johnny’s Pheasant,” by Cheryl Minnema and illustrated by Julie Flett, is the story of an injured bird, a grandma’s love and a boy with dreams. Another goodie for little readers is “Bedtime for Sweet Creatures,” by Nikki Grimes, with pictures by Elizabeth Zunon. It’s a tale of goodnight, and it’s perfect for little sleepyheads.

For the middle-grader who worries about the earth, “Bugs in Danger,” by Mark Kurlansky and illustrated by Jia Liu, is a great find. This book looks at climate change, environmental issues, why the bug population has declined in the past few years and what we can do to stop it. Another book to find is “Wildlife Adventure,” by Coyote Peterson. It’s a book with facts and activities, and it might make the time go a little faster.

Little biography lovers will be happy to sit home with “Become a Leader Like Michelle Obama” or “Blast Off Into Space Like Mae Jemison,” both by Caroline Moss and illustrated by Sinem Erkas. These books offer great stories, plus learning and an update on the lives featured.

The child who loves to people-watch will enjoy reading “Hmong in Wisconsin,” by Mai Zong Vue. This is a story of immigration, bravery, war and learning in two cultures.

The young adult with a growing interest in politics will enjoy “Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Journey to Justice,” by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Whitney Gardner. It’s a graphic-novel-style biography on Justice Ginsburg, from her earliest years to her latest battles.

A lottery ticket and all that comes with sudden wealth are at the root of “Jackpot,” by Nic Stone. When Rico Danger finds a winning ticket and shares with “Zan” Macklin, it seems like every problem either friend has ever had might be over. But money changes things, especially relationships. Another book to look for: The coming-of-age “If Anyone Asks, Say I Died from the Heartbreaking Blues,” by Philip Cioffari. It’s the story of an 18-year-old, first love and doing what’s right.

If the quarantine lasts awhile, there’ll be time to read “Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio,” by Derf Backderf. It’s a graphic novel and history book about what happened that horrible day in 1970, but be patient: This book releases on Tuesday, April 7.

Schlichenmeyer is a freelance book reviewer from La Crosse, Wis.