Shelving books is one of those jobs that sounds like drudgery, but I love getting the chance to browse every section of the library. And there’s good stuff to read everywhere. While it’s hard to narrow my favorites down to a particular genre, I've been able to boil down to some common themes - and I think they resonate particularly well during this time of isolation and anxiety: travel, food and romance.
Visiting new places in person isn't practical right now, so I've been satisfying my travel cravings by reading about other people's journeys. For example, I went on the centuries old Camino pilgrimage from France to Spain in Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simison, and I visited a close-knit Iranian family in Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram.
One of my favorite parts of exotic journeys is the lush descriptions of food. Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence made me want to pick up and move to France, so I could live on bread, olive oil, and wine. But I also like to flip through cookbooks (and ogle their colorful photos), whether or not I plan to make any of the recipes. And, yes, I jumped on the sourdough bandwagon during the early stage of the pandemic by creating my own sourdough—and by reading a quirky story called Sourdough by Robin Sloan.
As for romance ... well, amid all the turbulence, I just like to know that a happy ending is coming. This includes—but isn’t limited to—actual romance novels (from the ubiquitous Pride and Prejudice to a more recent favorite, Beach Read by Emily Henry). Truthfully, I enjoy stories about all sorts of relationships, not just the romantic kind—unlikely friendships or kids reconnecting with their parents or just misfits finding other misfits.