Reading all kinds of books during the coronavirus crisis is one way to look back at this time and see it as productive. While shopping is not an option, readers can learn to make something. Instead of watching television all day, people can read a classic or write in a journal. Sherita Miller, owner of Redbird Books, shares her ideas about the books that can enrich lives now with benefits that can last into the future.

Self-help books

“The Power of Positive Thinking,” by Norman Vincent Peale, is still a book that is requested all the time, Miller said. The time spent at home because of the coronavirus is a good time to concentrate on self-improvement, she continued.

“When your boss asks what you did with your time when you go back to work, you can say you spent it expanding yourself,” Miller said. “Spending the downtime improving yourself will go a long way with employers.”

Business books are another possibility. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen Covey, is a good option, Miller said. Generally, Miller recommends books geared toward powerful lessons and personal change.

Spiritual books

Many turn toward religion during trying times. Miller recommends devotional prayer books.

“This is a great thing for someone to do now, and sometimes they don’t know how to pray. They don’t know where to start in the Bible,” Miller said.

Devotionals have prayers based on scripture readings, and there are so many of them, she said.

“God’s Promises for Your Every Need” compiled by Jack Countryman and A. Gill is a good option. The book focuses on one’s needs at the time and a table of contents helps find the appropriate reading for each situation.

Another favorite, “Anytime Prayers for Everyday People” by various authors offers prayers that coincide with Bible verses based on the help one needs.

“When you need to feel God’s acceptance, or you need to feel God’s love, you can go to that page,” Miller said.

Journals

Journaling is a great escape, Miller said. Writing what one is going through on a daily basis – feelings and thoughts – is therapeutic.

“People are really out of sorts and so many are starting to feel depression right now,” Miller said.

“Gentle Spirit Devotional Journal” by Barbour Publishing offers a reading accompanied by space to write for each day of the year.

Classic literature

Now is a good time also to pursue classic literature, Miller said.

“You might not have absorbed that literature in high school the way you would now,” Miller said.

Miller suggested “Hamlet” by Shakespeare, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte, “The Good Earth,” by Pearl S. Buck, and “East of Eden,” by John Steinbeck.

“These are the ones on my list to read and I have yet to start any of them,” Miller said. “My daughter couldn’t believe I had not read ‘Jane Eyre’ yet because it’s such a good book.”

There are so many, she continued. She mentioned “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand, “Treasure Island” by Robert Lewis Stevenson, and “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley.

“A lot of people don’t want to bite off (classic literature),” Miller said. “So if they are already familiar with the story, if they’ve seen the movie, it makes it easier to read, especially for those who haven’t read classic literature before.”

Children’s books for any age

For children, “Harry Potter” is Miller’s favorite series.

“It’s such a great escape and totally out of the realm of our normal lives,” Miller said. “There is so much fantasy.”

The books are for any age group, and Miller read the series of seven books in one summer.

“I still love Harry Potter and still reread it,” she said. “The first one was not that difficult, but every year they became a little more complicated and a little thicker.”

Instructional books

Now also is a good time to learn new skills.

From knitting, quilting and crocheting to sewing, woodworking and organizing, there are numerous books that can expand one’s skills set during the downtime. Miller recommends “The Ultimate Sewing Book,” by Maggi McCormick Gordon and “Stained Glass Craft” by J.a.F. Divine and G. Blachford. She also suggests “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo.

Redbird Books offers curbside delivery, delivery service and shipping. In addition to individual books, readers can select genres and purchase boxes of books put together by the staff.

“I am thankful every day that I get to do this,” Miller said.

Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for the Victoria Advocate. 

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