Our top book picks that reflect the doom, disaster, and hope of our time

The Stand and other books on our reading list reflect the same devastation and glimmer of hope we are experiencing in this pandemic.

Published by Doubleday

The Stand and other books on our reading list reflect the same devastation and glimmer of hope we are experiencing in this pandemic.

With quarantine, we have been left with a lot of spare time on our hands. What better way to spend that time than to read and get lost in the pages. Below we have our top eight picks for books to make you travel into a completely different universe. From post-apocalyptic and horror to fiction and fantasy, we have some truly eye-catching suggestions for you.

1. Maze Runner by James Dashner

This post-apocalyptic and fiction book is sure to keep you busy with its winding twists and mysteries. Thomas wakes up in an elevator with no recollection of how he got there and no idea who he is, the one thing he does remember is his name. He then emerges into a plain surrounded by high walls, ‘The Glade’ as it is called is inhabited by 60 teenage boys trying to find a way out of the maze surrounding their glade. Every 30 days, another boy is brought up by the elevator, no one has any memory of outside the glade or themselves when they arrive. Follow Thomas and his friends as they navigate the maze and all the dangerous creatures both outside and inside their little bubble. This series has 5 installments: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, The Kill Order, and The Fever Code; it also has 3 movies you can watch named after the first 3 books. Other releases are The Maze Runner Files, which gives more information on the characters and extra scenes. There is also Crank Palace in which we follow Newt in the events of The Death Cure. With the pandemic and COVID-19, you will find eerie similarities between the books and our present world. The way the characters are presented along with the in-depth thinking they do to figure out a way to survive something beyond their control was something I truly enjoyed.

Photo Credits: Nicole Rodil Suarez

2. Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

This mythological and fictional book will change your perspective on mythology, leaving you wanting more, with its astounding adventures. We follow Percy Jackson as he discovers he is a demigod (half god, have human) and the son of Poseidon, one of the big three. He then has to survive monster attacks and prophecies that send him into dangerous quests. Trying to learn more about his parentage and save the Greek gods and Olympus is truly a difficult task; one he never wanted, but is forced to accomplish. Fear not, for Rick Riordan had expanded the universe, so not only do Greek gods exist, but so do Roman, Egyptian, and Norse gods too. With the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, followed by the Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus, and the trilogy The Kane Chronicles, and then the series Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, finally followed by The Trials of Apollo. With over 20 books to read you will surely be busy, the books will pull you in and leave you breathless. The characters have actual personalities and are complex and complicated human beings, you truly feel like you are there with them. I admire how Rick Riordan was able to put so much detail and personality into his characters, and the plot is also very thought out and complex. I absolutely loved these books and have brought me joy amidst these current events.

3. Cell by Stephen King

This apocalyptic horror novel explores a man trying to get to his son in the middle of a cell phone outbreak, which threatens the human population when cell phones attacks people with a signal that turns normal people into vicious creatures. This book reminded me of a zombie apocalypse book. I loved the creative way it used a signal to start that “pandemic.”


Photo Credits: Nicole Rodil Suarez

4. The Da Vinci Code + Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

These mystery and fiction books will take you for quite a rollercoaster ride with unbelievable reveals and impossible puzzles. We follow Robert Langdon in both books as he tries to decode the mysteries and solve murders, all the while trying not to get himself and his friends killed. With secret organizations and hidden codes in art pieces, Mr. Langdon tries to save the Vatican in Angels and Demons, and finds the Holy Grail in The Da Vinci Code. Try not to get lost in the pages of these outstanding books, which also have movies by the same names. The complex riddles and inexplicable events will feel like you are there trying to figure out the clues with them. I spent a whole day reading, and barely put these books down. Some lines caught me off guard.  I genuinely laughed out loud, scaring my poor dog because of how quiet it had been while I was reading.

5. The Stand by Stephen King

This is King’s post-apocalyptic dark fantasy novel that was first published in 1978. The plot centers around a pandemic of a weaponized strain of influenza that kills almost the entire world population. A 1994 T.V. miniseries was released about The Stand, which has the same plot in four episodes, which ran from May 8, 1994, to May 12, 1994.


Photo Credits: Nicole Rodil Suarez

6. The Revenge of Magic by James Riley

These fantasy and magic books have twist after twist. You never know what will happen. We follow Forsythe Fitzgerald, or Fort, as he is sent to a magic school regulated by the military, after a monster attack that took his father hostage. Kids born on a specific date can use magic. Fort isn’t one of these kids, but is still forced to attend magic school. Juggling learning magic and dealing with judgment from both the students and teachers (and the military personnel), he tries to find a way to find and save his dad. Barely managing in class and trying not to raise an alarm, he and his odd group of friends try to save everyone from The Old Ones (the original magic users who want to kill all of them and make anew the world). With 5 books so far, James Riley has blessed us with amazing and truly fantastic adventures, including dragons, King Arthur, different dimensions, and time travel (but not in the way you’d think). I had the pleasure of meeting James Riley in person, and the passion he spoke about his books was truly refreshing. With everything from an unpredictable plot to fantastical characters, his writing is truly amazing and took my breath away.

7. Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon

Swan Song is a 1987 horror novel within a post-apocalyptic fiction genre. The book describes the aftermath of a nuclear war that provokes an evolution in mankind. It shows how humanity has to adapt and grow to exist in the new, colorless world that the past has left them.

Photo Credits: Nicole Rodil Suarez

8. Elementals Series by Amie Kaufman

This fiction and fantasy series takes you into a different world where the people are separated into two categories, Ice Wolves and Scorch Dragons (who are sworn enemies). We follow a pair of orphan twins, Anders and Rayna who take different forms, leaving them questioning if they are related at all. With action-packed pages and amazing twists, we follow Anders as he is sent to an Ice Wolf Academy. There he questions everything he ever knew and tries to find a way to find Rayna after she is taken by dragons. Trying to keep his twins secret and forced to join a pack where loyalty is valued as the highest virtue, Anders isn’t sure who he is loyal to, but one thing he does know is that Rayna is the closest thing to family he has ever had. We continue to follow their story as they reshape everyone’s views on each other throughout the three books: Ice Wolves, Scorch Dragons, and Battle Born. I was hooked when I first read it because of the way the characters were introduced and the circumstances leading up to the main events . It was a light-hearted, yet deep and complex story with so many great moments.

This concludes our top 8 books to read during your extended quarantine. We hope you enjoy this book review while you sit down to read it on your break,  with a cup of tea or coffee. They say the best way to travel is with a book, so keep these in mind during the summer.