Five Books of Hope to Read Right Now

The best books when sheltering during the pandemic

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With the world turned upside down, what we need is a lot more sheltering and a lot more hope. More of us are taking the time to read during the stay at home orders around the world, and there are some of us who have turned to books literarily linked to the current pandemic—The Plague by Albert Camus, The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton, Blindness by Jose Saramago. Still, others are turning away from such reads. Why read a book that feeds on anxiety? Instead, search for something filled with goodness and hope.

Here are five gems to light up your spirits and soothe your soul during the pandemic.

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The Tao of Pooh

Author Benjamin Hoff uses Winnie-the-Pooh stories to explain Taoism to Westerners. The book was written while Hoff was a tree trimmer in the Japanese Garden in Washington Park, Portland. The book’s beauty is in its simplicity, and its goal to bring contentment to the reader, wherever they are in life. The Tao of Pooh is a true gem of philosophical thinking.

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A Man Called Ove

The book’s main character is 59 years old and a serious curmudgeon. But this novel—originally a bestseller in Sweden—moves along to eventually reveal that Ove, deep down, is a man with a big, beautiful heart, one he soon enough learns to share. The story unfolds like a fable, honestly and forthrightly with laughter, poignancy, and heartwarming appeal.

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Letters of Note

Shaun Usher is the editor of this unique collection of the world’s most entertaining, inspiring, and unusual letters. They are as varied as the people who wrote them—Queen Elizabeth II’s recipe for scones sent to President Eisenhower; Iggy Pop’s beautiful letter of advice to a troubled young fan, and letters of hope and inspiration from John F. Kennedy, Amelia Earhart, and Charles Dickens.

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Nine Horses

Billy Collins may be the most accessible poet writing today. But this does not mean his poetry is simplistic or lacks weight. He writes quiet meditations focused on everyday life, all with a delicate touch that moves between the direct and the mysterious. His words can make you cry and smile at the same time.

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Oh, the Places You’ll Go

No one can read Dr. Seuss without being joyously altered. In this classic, he takes the reader on an eye-opening trip, one meant for children . . . or maybe not. Seuss always plays with the generational “in between.” Either way, the book is a wondrous and wacky journey that reminds us all that it is not about where we are going, but how we get there; and not about running away from adversity, but how we prevail. And, of course, with many of us sheltering these days, don’t you want to go somewhere magical?

Reading the right books at the right time can change an entire point of view. This may be the right time for opening up a book and changing yours.

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