Great Reads During Self-Isolation

An article in The Guardian this week reported that book sales in England are surging. Until the forced closures, sales in one store apparently went up over 400%! You can find the article HERE.

Given the world’s unusual circumstances, I’m sure the increase in book sales is happening in many countries. Not only are people reading more but they’re tackling longer books and classics like Ulysses . The article stated that other popular titles include The Bell Jar, 1984, Brave New World, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Love In The Time of Cholera. I’m pretty sure you can see the pattern here.

The article also noted that adult nonfiction sales appeared to drop, which suggests that British readers don’t want reality in their reading time, which is understandable. For me, though, nonfiction is an opportunity to learn something new. I just have to be careful of the topics. My last nonfiction read (mentioned in a blog last month), Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges, was a grim look at the decline of U.S. on many levels. Based on the news out of the States this month, things are hardly looking up.

After finishing that book, I dived into a fun fantasy, a couple of children’s books, and I’m now reading two of my favorite authors, Tony Hillerman and Sue Grafton. Their books are not only master classes in crime writing but are truly entertaining. I’ve been reading both authors, on and off for years, so picking up more of their books is like visiting with old friends, as is Agatha Christie.

BooksI’m reading Grafton’s alphabet series in order and am now up to Q is for Quarry. As you can see from the photo, I have a few more to get me through self-isolation, along with my favorite reading beverage. Few things are better than a good book and a good glass of wine by the fire.

I also just finished Tony Hillerman’s The Sinister Pig. I simply love his novels, but don’t read them in any particular order. Hillerman’s descriptions of the New Mexico landscape are so amazing that I definitely want to visit that state one day.

What books are you turning to for entertainment or for learning these days? What takes you right out of your world and into another filled with entertaining escapism? Share your recommendations, as I’m always looking for more books. One day I’ll have finished Grafton’s and Hillerman’s work and, since both authors have passed away, that will be a sad day, so I must keep searching for great new reads.

Author: debrapurdykong

I'm a British Columbia author who's been writing for over 30 years. My volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs, inspired me to write mysteries set in BC’s Lower Mainland. Employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provide the background for my my Casey Holland transit security novels. I'm also a part-time facilitator in Creative Writing Workshops through Port Moody's Recreation program. Feel free to contact me at

22 thoughts on “Great Reads During Self-Isolation”

  1. Hi Debra, I am familiar with Grafton but not Tony Hillerman, if the library website was working, I would reserve one of his. Of course I expect you to know Robert B. Parker, Alexander McCall Smith (just the Ladies Detective Series – try to get them in the right order), and Stuart Woods (also try to get them in the right order albeit not essential). I have a few books right now, some technical for computers, and rereading again Sherlock Holmes (6 or 7th time I guess). I have an excellent illustrated copy of The Da Vinci Code and might read that again. If you start a zoom book club let me know and I will even try to figure out how to download ebooks.

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    1. Thanks, David, that’s not a bad post-retirement idea! And yes, I’m familiar with the authors you mentioned. Another excellent author is John Sandford who’s written over 20+ books in a couple of police procedural series. It’s been a while since I’ve read his work, but I remember that the ones that I did come across were amazing! I haven’t read the Da Vinci Code…just saw the move, which I really liked 🙂

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  2. Try Louise Penny too, or Harlan Coben. The latter is the make version of Sue Grafton, and his descriptions are amazing. The first line of the book I’ve got, Don’t Let Go, is the best hook I’ve seen. To quote Coben, “Daisy wore a clingy black dress so deep it could tutor philosophy.” Why can’t I wrote something as stellar as that?

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  3. Yup, lots of time to read. I just finished The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. One of the best books I´ve read in a long time. I´m working my way through some classics I haven´t read yet. Next up is How Green Was My Valley, by Richard Llewellyn. You would love New Mexico, I hope you get there one day. Amanda went there and had a great adventure!! This would also be a great time to read the Outlander series and I agree with David on the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. They are so good. Happy reading and hope you don´t run out of wine. Here we can buy it at the grocery stores!

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    1. Thanks, Darlene. We have four cases, so we’ll see if it outlasts self-isolation. The BC gov’t liquor stores are still open here, but I don’t know about the private ones. Haven’t had to look, and thanks for the reading suggestions. Will definitely check them out.

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  4. Yep and yep. I love Sue Grafton’s series–read the entire thing–and really loved Hillerman. Read that entire series, too. Each is better than the prior one. Great memories.

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  5. Hi Debra, I’m back again. I wanted to recommend M.C. Beaton. She is an author who has done dozens of books. One of her series features a detective named Hamish and it is a fun series, one of the books you could check for is called death of a policeman. She does another series also and I can’t remember the name but it features a character Agatha I think. The Hamish series of books is my favourite by her.

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