The best escapist books to read during quarantine, according to Goodreads

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Feeling blue? You might just find a place for these escapist titles on your color-coded bookshelves.

Like lots of us, you might have found it hard to pay attention to a book from your shelf or get through the first page of a newly bought bestseller in the early days, weeks and months of the coronavirus pandemic. 

With summer now here, however, you might be ready to pick up a beach read.

You could go for a book club-approved pick. Barnes and Noble selected “The Vanishing Half” for June, and the latest choice from Oprah’s Book Club is “Hidden Valley Road.” Book Of The Month, a monthly book subscription box, recently released its reading list for this month, too. 

If “Severance,” “Station Eleven” and “The Plague” are definitely not on your to-read list, we’ve got you covered with books that are not about pandemics.

We asked the literary experts at Goodreads about the most trending escapist books right now. That is, books that’ll take your mind off things (and don’t have plot points about pandemics or quarantine). There’s a science to what makes a book trendy, too. Goodreads tallies up how many members mark a book “to read.” It’s kind of like a virtual bookmark, and is the way Goodreads helps us pick out the most-anticipated books coming out each month

This summer, Goodreads is seeing readers dive into two genres in particular: beach reads, like “The Jane Austen Society” and horror, including “The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires,” according to Danny Feekes, managing editor of Goodreads.

When the pandemic started, Goodreads saw members going for books like Stephen King’s “The Stand” and Margaret Atwood’s “The Testaments.” But now, they’re looking for “lighter fare” like Emma Straub’s “All Adults Here,” Feekes told HuffPost Finds

What’s the No. 1 trending book on Goodreads these days? Feekes said that would be Suzanne Collins’ “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” prequel to the popular “Hunger Games” series. But the post-apocalyptic plot might not be the “escape” you’re hoping for right now. 

“Escapist books can mean different things to different people,” Feekes said. “For some, it’s an absorbing story about family and relationships like ‘The Vanishing Half’ by Brit Bennett, the most popular book on Goodreads that [came] out in June. Others are seeking comfort in tried-and-true book club favorites from the last several years,” he said.

We put together a guide to 15 of the most trending escapist books on Goodreads down below. You can find them all on Amazon, but you could always support your small local bookstores and check to see if they’re taking online orders, too.

From the perfectly titled beach read called — wait for it — “Beach Read” to  “Big Summer,” which is about former friends who come together for a summer wedding, these books will actually help you unplug from the world right now. 

Check out 15 of the most trending books on Goodreads right now that’ll help you escape:

1 "Beach Read" by Emily Henry

"Beach Read" is about a romance writer and literary writer who each have writer's block and live next door to one another for the summer. The two decide on a summer-long challenge to get them out of their heads. If you're looking for a beach read, this perfectly titled one is probably right for you. 

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $14 at Amazon.

2 "Big Summer" by Jennifer Weiner

This novel made it onto our "most-anticipated releases" list back in May. "Big Summer" deals with the friendship between Daphne and Drue, which ended six years ago and suddenly becomes rekindled when Drue asks Daphne to be her maid-of-honor. 

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $17 at Amazon.

3 "City Of Girls" by Elizabeth Gilbert

The "Eat, Pray, Love" author's latest novel from last year. "City Of Girls" is Vivian Morris' look back on her life when she was a young woman in 1940s and involved in New York City's theater world. 

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $14 at Amazon.

4 "Daisy Jones & the Six" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

"Daisy Jones & the Six" is another favorite that's from last year. The novel follows, you guessed it, Daisy, who grows up in Los Angeles in the late 1960s and becomes a part of the band "The Six." This novel is probably best for fans of "Almost Famous" and Fleetwood Mac. 

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $14 at Amazon.

5 "The Flatshare" by Beth O’Leary

"The Flatshare" was originally published in 2019, but it's trending once again, according to Goodreads. It's about two roommates who share an apartment. They start to fall for each other — except they haven't actually met IRL. 

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $19 at Amazon.

6 "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles

While "A Gentleman in Moscow" was released way back in 2016, the book's trending on Goodreads now — probably thanks to Bill Gates' summer reading list. It focuses on a Russian aristocrat under house arrest in post-revolution Russia. 

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $12 at Amazon.

7 "The Henna Artist" by Alka Joshi

"The Henna Artist" was Reese Witherspoon's May pick for her book club. The book centers around teen Lakshmi who becomes a well-known henna artist and learns the secrets of her patrons while hiding her own.

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $18 at Amazon.

8 "The House in the Cerulean Sea" by T.J. Klume

This one's for fans of fantasy. Linus Baker is checking to see if a group of magical children are a danger to the world. Arthur Parnassus runs an orphanage and cares for said children. It's a love story in the making. 

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $18 at Amazon.

9 "The Jane Austen Society" by Natalie Jenner

If you like "Pride and Prejudice" and "Emma," you really might fall for "The Jane Austen Society," which was also included in our most-anticipated books of May. This novel focuses on the small town of Chawton, where the author lived in the last years of her life, and how residents come together to form the Jane Austen Society.

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $16 at Amazon.

10 "Shakespeare for Squirrels" by Christopher Moore

"Shakespeare for Squirrels" is a murder mystery take on "A Midsummer Night’s Dream." Sounds good to us, too. 

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $26 at Amazon.

11 "Something To Talk About" by Meryl Wilsner

"Something To Talk About" follows Jo, a Hollywood power player, and her assistant Emma. When the two are photographed laughing on a red carpet, everyone wants to know all about the new "couple." 

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $14 at Amazon.

12 "The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires" by Grady Hendrix

Horror lovers, this book's meant for you. It's described as "Steel Magnolias meets Dracula" and follows Patricia Campbell, who meets strange James Harris after book club one night. You're probably going to sink your teeth into this one. 

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $15 at Amazon.

13 "Untamed" by Glennon Doyle

This memoir is about Glennon Doyle going through her divorce and eventually marrying soccer star Abby Wambach. Since its release in March, "Untamed" already has almost 2,000 reviews. 

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $17 at Amazon.

14 "Where The Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens

"Where The Crawdads Sing" has had a recent resurgence on Goodreads. (it was released in 2018.) The coming-of-age novel centers around Kya Clark, who is suspected of murder since she lives by herself in a marsh. 

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $10 at Amazon.

15 "Wow, No Thank You." by Samantha Irby

The essays in "Wow, No Thank You." deal with "aging, marriage, settling down with step-children in white, small-town America," according to Goodreads. The collection made it into our "most anticipated" list back in March

You can read more about this book at Goodreads and find it for $13 at Amazon.
  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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