You’re hunkered down at home, and you need a break from the constant pandemic chatter filling your head. If you’re looking for reading recommendations that will lift the spirits and offer food for thought, we’ve got you covered. Check out these suggestions from professors of literature, writing, film, theater and visual arts.
As quarantine reading, the Bible has several qualities to recommend it. First, you likely have a physical copy somewhere in your house, which means that you don’t have to buy anything from Amazon or spend yet another hour reading from a screen. Second, unless you belong to a Bible study group—or even if you do—there are probably large portions that you’ve never read. The Apocrypha (or deuterocanonical books) alone are enough to keep you occupied for days. I started with the Book of Tobit because I have an old picture on my wall, inherited from my grandparents, that I felt pretty sure represented the story of Tobit—pretty sure, but not entirely, because I’d never gotten around to reading it. When I did, I wasn’t disappointed. I won’t offer any spoilers except to mention that it includes a very nice dog. Not one with much of a personality, or even much of a role in the plot. But, the sad fact is that there are few good dogs in Scripture. When dogs are mentioned, they tend to be either figurative (and not in a flattering way) or else occupied in licking up the blood of an evil king. So, featuring a good—indeed, angelic—dog is a resounding recommendation for Tobit.
—Erik Gray, Professor of English and Comparative Literature