Books for your quarantine days, recommended by U librarians

A&E has compiled a short list of book recommendations from our University of Minnesota librarians.

Sarah Mai

Sarah Mai

Ksenia Gorinshteyn

If there ever was a better time to get reading for fun, it’s now. Sure, the last time you read a novel was probably in the 10th grade, but better late than never again.

A&E asked two of our University of Minnesota librarians for book recommendations to keep you entertained at home. 

Books for people who don’t really read

“Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Why you should read it: “It’s really fun and easy to read and has interesting characters that you really get attached to. There was a recent Amazon Prime miniseries based on it that was so good,” said Jessica Abbazio, a music librarian at the University.

“The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear” by Walter Moers

Why you should read it: “It’s got venomous vampires and the gelatin prince from the 202,364th dimension, and it’s just fun and quirky. You don’t have to memorize a million characters, so I think it would be a good, quick read,” Abbazio said.

Books for people who want to read about dystopia

The “Red Rising” series by Pierce Brown

Why you should read it: “It’s the future and Mars has been colonized and there’s all different levels of society… They have this kind of ‘Hunger Games’-esque academies that they go to so they could fight to the death and whoever wins is in the elite,” Abbazio said.

“Neverwhere: A Novel” by Neil Gaiman

Why you should read it: “’Neverwhere’ is a great first Gaiman book because the plot is linear and the characters are distinct. It totally got me hooked on his work,” Abbazio said.

Books for people who definitely don’t want to read about dystopia right now

“Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures” by Walter Moers

Why you should read it: “It’s like these talking animals, but they’re explorers and they get into battles,” Abbazio said.

Books for people who want to learn something new about Minnesota

“North Country: The Making of Minnesota” by Mary Lethert Wingerd

Why you should read it: “It tells the history and the pre-history, so to speak, of Minnesota. So, while we’re all sheltering in place, and we’re really aware of all the decisions that are being made locally to protect us from the coronavirus, I feel like this is a cool time to learn the true history of the place that we’re sheltering in,” said Zach Miller, Minitex head of communications.

Books for people who just want to laugh

“A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain

Why you should read it: “I think to this day in my life, I’ve never laughed out loud so much reading a book. This guy gets transported to Arthurian days and it’s just hilarious,” Miller said.

Where to find books during quarantine

eBooks Minnesota has over 10,421 titles that are free for Minnesotans to read as long as they are in state. It can be found at

Audiobooks are another option for those who want to get started on one of those many free trials you’re told about during your podcast commercials. 

Borrow books from friends! Plenty of us have books we’ve bought and never read so if you’ve made your way through those, try asking a friend. 

Note: The Hennepin County Public Libraries are not currently processing library cards for book lending.