Reading has been the best therapy for me during quarantine. I’ve especially needed this escape over the past few months as I’ve found myself feeling more anxious and stir-crazy than ever. With everything happening in the world, it’s been hard to relax and focus on reading. However, I recently came across two perfect quarantine reads that I’m excited to share.
Right before the pandemic hit, I picked up two Katherine Center novels from my local Los Angeles Public Library. (Yes, I go to the library and I LOVE IT!) I had heard good things about this author, but never read one of her books. Things You Save in a Fire and How to Walk Away were so good that I’m a little upset with myself for not reading her work sooner!
What made these books perfect quarantine reads was that neither main character is living out their “Option A.” Similar to the respondent’s in Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant’s book, Option B, Center’s characters are also figuring out how to overcome adversity and loss. In each novel, the main character faces unforeseen circumstances that create drastic shifts in their life plans. Sounds a little like 2020 so far, right?
Things You Save in a Fire
Things You Save in a Fire is about a firefighter named Cassie, who reluctantly relocates to Boston, where she struggles with adapting to a new, more male-dominated fire house. Throughout the novel you see her having to work twice as hard to be taken seriously by her male coworkers and superiors. Right out of the gate, I related to this theme and I know it will resonate with many other women as well.
Throughout the story, Cassie reminded me a lot of myself as she adjusts to starting over in a new city. She doesn’t like to show emotion or any sign of weakness. Even though Cassie possesses this strong exterior, inside, she’s struggling to overcome past traumas. But she has to face her inner demons before she can move forward and open her heart. Totally sucked me in! This book had me crying on Manhattan Beach when I finished it.
How to Walk Away
How to Walk Away was equally compelling. Although, I didn’t relate to the main character, Margaret, quite as much. That isn’t a knock on the book. I just can’t tell you why without spoiling the plot! Margaret is faced with some truly terrible circumstances. Some parts of her story made me cringe. But they also made me think about the importance of gratitude.
Margaret is so super close to having everything she ever wanted, only to have her life change in the most devastating, unexpected ways. How Center explores resilience and forgiveness throughout Margaret’s journey had me hooked. It’s interesting how something truly devastating makes you realize what you really want, what truly matters and who you can count on.
Great Reads Regardless of Quarantine
While these were two perfect quarantine reads for me, they are great books regardless.
Even if we weren’t under quarantine, I would have loved these stories because of their focus on human resilience. I think this topic is always relevant but even more so now with the challenges 2020 has brought upon us. Here, I talk about how I began my own journey of building resilience through the help of Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B.
I’m so glad to have found a new author I enjoy, and I can’t wait to see what Katherine Center writes next. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did! Let me know what you think, here.