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Book Club: The Best Quarantine Reads Chosen by the VIE Staff

Categories: Culture, Lifestyle,
April 21, 2020,

As we enter another week of working remotely and social distancing, our to-do list of things to fill our time in quarantine seems to be getting shorter. To help us get through these strange times and to dissipate the disheartening news flooding our phones and televisions, our staff has curated their favorite books that have helped them get through COVID-19.


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Lisa Burwell, CEO/Editor-in-Chief

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. First published in 1925, this quintessential novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the mysteriously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted ‘gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,’ it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.” —Simon and Schuster, Publisher

To learn more about The Great Gatsby and to purchase your copy today, click here.

The Holy Bible

The Good Book is always a daily source of inspiration and hope, but especially in times like these when so many things are uncertain.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”–Psalm 91


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Jordan Staggs, Managing Editor

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

“Edward Warren, 23, has been living in Thailand for five years, a prodigal son who left his family after an irreparable fight with his father, Luke. But he gets a frantic phone call: His dad lies comatose in a New Hampshire hospital, gravely injured in the same accident that has also injured Edward’s younger sister, Cara.

“Cara, 17, still holds a grudge against her brother, since his departure led to her parents’  divorce. In the aftermath, she’s lived with her father—an animal conservationist who became famous after living with a wolf pack in the Canadian wild. It is impossible for her to reconcile the still, broken man in the hospital bed with her vibrant, dynamic father.

“With Luke’s chances for recovery dwindling, Cara wants to wait for a miracle. But Edward wants to terminate life support and donate his father’s organs. Is he motivated by altruism or revenge? And to what lengths will his sister go to stop him from making an irrevocable decision?” —Jodi Picoult, Author

To learn more about Lone Wolf and to purchase your copy today, click here.


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Tracey Thomas, Art Director

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

“Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence ‘Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?’

“Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

“In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.” —Penguin Random House, Publisher

To learn more about Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and to purchase your copy today, click here.


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Meghn Hill, Digital Marketing Director

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

“For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

“As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

“With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.” —J.D. Barker, Author

To learn more about The Fourth Monkey and to purchase your copy today, click here.


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Olivia Weller, Senior Graphic Designer and Ad Manager

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

“For fans of Before We Were Yours and Where the Crawdads Sing, a magnificent novel about four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression, from the New York Times bestselling author of Ordinary Grace.

“1932, Minnesota—the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

“Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an enthralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.” —Simon and Schuster, Publisher

To learn more about This Tender Land and to purchase your copy today, click here.


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Hannah Vermillion, Senior Graphic Designer

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

“For years, rumors of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

“Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.” —Penguin Random House, Publisher

To learn more about Where the Crawdads Sing and to purchase your copy today, click here.


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Abigail Ryan, Social Marketing Manager

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst

“What do you do when God’s timing seems questionable, His lack of intervention hurtful, and His promises doubtful?

“Life often looks so very different than we hoped or expected. Some events may simply catch us off guard for a moment, but others shatter us completely. We feel disappointed and disillusioned, and we quietly start to wonder about the reality of God’s goodness.

“Lysa TerKeurst understands this deeply. But she’s also discovered that our disappointments can be the divine appointments our souls need to radically encounter God. In It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, Lysa invites us into her own journey of faith and, with grit, vulnerability, and honest humor, helps us to see our lives in the context of God’s bigger story. Whether we’re dealing with daily disappointments or life-altering loss, we can find unexpected strength as we learn what it means to wrestle well between our faith and our feelings.” —Thomas Nelson, Publisher

To learn more about It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way and to purchase your copy today, click here.


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Olivia Manthey, Marketing Coordinator

The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg

“One of the most influential, admired, and colorful women of our time: fashion designer and philanthropist Diane von Furstenberg tells the most personal stories from her life, about family, love, beauty, and business.

“Diane von Furstenberg started with a suitcase full of jersey dresses and an idea of who she wanted to be—in her words, ‘the kind of woman who is independent and who doesn’t rely on a man to pay her bills.’ She has since become that woman, establishing herself as a major force in the fashion industry, all the while raising a family, maintaining that ‘my children are my greatest creation.’

“In The Woman I Wanted to Be, von Furstenberg reflects on her extraordinary life—from her childhood in Brussels to her days as a young, jet-set princess, to creating the dress that came to symbolize independence and power for generations of women. With remarkable honesty and wisdom, von Furstenberg mines the rich territory of what it means to be a woman. She opens up about her family and career, overcoming cancer, building a global brand, and devoting herself to empowering other women.” —Simon and Schuster, Publisher

To learn more about The Woman I Wanted to Be and to purchase your copy today, click here.

What are some of your favorite quarantine reads? Comment below and let us know your recommendations!

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