Alyssa’s Quarantine Reads

What are you reading?

Hi I’m Alyssa! I recently joined the Bamboo Ridge team as an intern and have been working with Misty to get content up on our social media pages. Since I’m working at Bamboo Ridge, it pretty much goes without saying that I’m a fan of reading. Like most people, I’ve been observing quarantine / self-isolation for the past few months during which I’ve gotten a lot of reading done.

From March 17 to now, I’ve managed to finish seventeen books ranging from historical to science fiction. I listened to seven on audio including: Reality Is Not What It Seems; The Astonishing Color of After; Lovely War; The Diviners; Weather; The Hazel Wood; and The Poet X. With the exception of Reality Is Not What It Seems, I borrowed all of these books from the Hawaii State Public Library System through Libby, a mobile app which allows users to borrow eBooks and audiobooks for free from their local libraries. I purchased Reality Is Not What It Seems on sale through; is a platform similar to Audible but allows users to buy audiobooks directly from their local bookstores. Of these books, I highly recommend checking out Lovely War on audio since music plays a significant role in the story. Lovely War is a historical romance with interweaving stories set during WWI as told by Greek gods. Also, I suggest checking out Libby! It’s a great, free resource that I’m delighted to have discovered.

My second-most read category after audiobooks is poetry. I’m currently pursuing a degree in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry, so I try to read as many collections as I can. Over these past few months I’ve read: Look; Homie; Picture Bride; A Cruelty Special to Our Species; Pei Pei the Monkey King; and Messages from Salt Water. Cathy Song’s book Picture Bride was the winner of the 1982 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition and her novel in short stories, All the Love in the World, is the newest release from Bamboo Ridge Press—it’s also one of the books I’m currently reading. One of my favorite things about being a writing student is that these collections are like textbooks to me and I get to revisit them over and over again.

Currently, I’m reading Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre; Kona Winds; All the Love in the World; and The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories. I’m glad to be reading The Paper Menagerie again, because I had actually started it back in early March. It was a copy that I borrowed from my university’s library and I wasn’t sure if the campus would reopen before the end of the semester, so I left the book with a friend to return before I flew home. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), my school didn’t reopen the rest of the term and my friend still has the copy that I borrowed, so maybe I can convince her to buddy read the rest of it with me.

Below I’ve included the full list of books I’ve read from March 17 to June 17.

  1. The Fortress by S.A. Jones (Erewhon Books)
  2. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (Mariner)
  3. Look by Solmaz Sharif (Graywolf Press)
  4. Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Elusive Structure of the Universe and the Journey to Quantum Gravity by Carlo Rovelli (Penguin Audiobooks)
  5. Homie by Danez Smith (Graywolf Press)
  6. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (Quirk Books)
  7. Picture Bride by Cathy Song (Yale University Press)
  8. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (Hachette Book Group)
  9. Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob (One World)
  10. A Cruelty Special to Our Species: Poems by Emily Jungmin Yoon (Ecco)
  11. Lovely War by Julie Berry (Listening Library (Audio))
  12. The Diviners by Libba Bray (Listening Library (Audio))
  13. Pei Pei the Monkey King by Wawa (Tinfish Press)
  14. Weather by Jenny Offill (Random House Audio)
  15. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (MacMillan Audio)
  16. Messages from Salt Water by Sabrina Ito (Finishing Line Press)
  17. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperCollins)

Did you get a chance to catch up on your reading list during quarantine? I’d love to hear about the books you’ve been reading!

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