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Tips and Recommendations for Your Lockdown Reading List

The National Herald Archive

The People's Republic of Everything by Nick Mamatas. Photo: Amazon

While the lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus continues, books offer a welcome respite from the constant bombardment of the news. The National Herald offers the following tips and recommendations to help you navigate this difficult time with the help of books.

For those with stacks and stacks of books in their TBR (to be read) piles at home, the coronavirus lockdown might seem like a great opportunity to finally make some progress. You might begin with any books you may have started but never got around to finishing. Re-examining why you stopped reading in the first place might be helpful in making a dent in the TBR pile. You can plug on and try to finish, or place the books you just could not get into in a stack for donation so the books can find a loving home elsewhere.

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Tales from a Greek Island by Alexandros Papadiamantis. Photo: Amazon

Once the books you already own are done, or the lure of some new book calls to you, e-books are a great option. Though some bibliophiles may be resistant to the idea of reading on an e-reader device, computer, or their phones, the convenience of being able to carry an entire library with you wherever you go cannot be denied. Sign up for apps like BookBub which sends out a daily email of deals on e-books in all genres, some e-books are even free, for a limited time. Free e-books are often part of series, and if you enjoy one installment, you are very likely to purchase the next one. Free e-books may also be debut efforts of authors trying to build their following, so it’s nice to give them a chance. Reviews are also always appreciated and help the app tailor its recommendations to you, though this may not be as important to you if you prefer reading a variety of genres.

The National Herald Archive

Sabbath by Nick Mamatas. Photo: Amazon

Some local libraries also lend e-books via their websites, including the Queens Public Library, which also offers wonderful educational activities and story time for the kids. If you don’t have a library card, the Queens Library offers an e-Card which provides access to the digital collection. Just follow the instructions available online: queenslibrary.org.

Buying books, hardcovers and/or paperbacks, online is also an option if you don’t mind waiting for delivery. Try to support local bookshops if you can since small businesses are also suffering during the coronavirus pandemic.

As your TBR list gets shorter, add the following books including the short story collection Tales from a Greek Island by Alexandros Papadiamantis which will transport you to the author's native Aegean island of Skiathos.

For those interested in reading Greek-American authors, Nick Mamatas is a gifted writer with an impressive range of works to enjoy, including Sabbath, The People's Republic of Everything, and Mixed Up, a collection of cocktail recipes and flash fiction edited by Mamatas and Molly Tanzer.

Another short story collection, Profane Feasts by Tom Tolnay, recounts the experience of growing up in a Greek immigrant family in Brooklyn, something many people will relate to regardless of whether or not their roots are in Greece. The colorful characters in the book may remind some readers of their own family members, aunts, uncles, cousins, Yiayia and Pappou.

The books mentioned above are all available online.