Apr 7th, 2020, 03:23 PM

Need a Friend? Read a book.

By Caitlin Kelly
The comfort of books in our isolating times.

Self-isolation, social distancing, and enduring an indefinite quarantine can be incredibly hard on many people. The lack of human interaction as a result of this pandemic may cause feelings of loneliness. However, as Ernest Hemingway said, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

Books are a way of connecting people. The characters within stories often feel real and can comfort a reader in troubling times. 

A common trend among book lovers in the age of social media is sharing their love for books online. Whether it be by posting photos of current reads on Instagram accounts known as “bookstagrams” or YouTube videos of literary discussions, social media has made sharing a love of reading easier than ever. 

The Peacock Plume interviewed three AUP students who share their love of books online in one form or another.

Caden, who majors in History and Creative Writing, posts YouTube videos discussing books on her channel A Thousand Books to Read. She explains how she discovered “booktube.”  


What is a series you discovered recently and fell in love with? Tell me down below in the comments! 📚📚📚 • • • •One series that I recently discovered and fell in love with was the All Souls Trilogy by @debharkness ! This series is spectacular. I am also a huge fan of the TV series, but this book series is now on my top five favorite book series list! Diana and Matthew’s story is so magical, epic, and beautiful. I’m also a history major, so I was in awe of the historical connections that this book series makes. I love how Deborah Harkness connected magic and history so so much! One thing on my bucket list for this new decade is to meet @debharkness and get to interview her because she is such an inspiration of mine! • • • •SYNOPSIS: Deborah Harkness’s sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches, has brought her into the spotlight and galvanized fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar's depth to this riveting tale of magic and suspense. The story continues in book two, Shadow of Night, and concludes with The Book of Life. #theallsoulstrilogy #AllSoulsTrilogy #adiscoveryofwitches #adiscoveryofwitchestv #deborahharkness

A post shared by 20 • Caden Is My Name • (@athousandbookstoread) on


“I discovered, specifically, two YouTubers, Sasha Alsberg, whose username is A Book Utopia, and Christine, from Polandbananasbooks."

Caden adds, "Both are my friends now. They were the two people who started what we call booktube. A friend’s mom was talking to me, and she said, 'Well, you know about books just as well as they do, why don’t you do this yourself?' And I was like, 'What? I can’t do that!' But it got me thinking. So I created my booktube channel,” Caden said. 

To pass the time during quarantine, Caden recommends a fantasy duology called Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Six of Crows is a two-book series that takes place in a fantasy world called Ravka. It is derived from an earlier series Leigh Bardugo wrote, called The Grisha Trilogy. This universe is heavily inspired by Russian and Eastern European culture.

The duology is a perfect stay-at-home read because it follows seven incredibly developed characters and their perspectives. The plot is fast-paced and follows the characters embarking on a heist in search of large sums of money. If you like anti-heroes, well-written and detailed characters, disability representation, LGBT+ representation, and a fantasy world, this series is your perfect quarantine read. 

Sam, a Gender Sexuality and Society major at AUP, also frequently posts photos of their books on their bookstagram. I had the chance to talk to them about some of the books they’ve read during this quarantine period. I also spoke to them about the value of the genre fantasy in a time like this.

Fantasy and Science Fiction are genres that may be overlooked in the realm of academia, sometimes viewed as unimportant, unintelligent modes of escapism. However, Sam says that “fantasy is extremely real.

It shows reality with different elements. Lord of the Rings is some of the best fiction. Fantasy, yes, is escapism, but I also think it can reflect our reality in very poignant ways. It can show us possibilities. It can show us where our world can be.”

Izzy, an AUP student majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Comparative Literature, explained what she'll be reading during this quarantine period. "I picked Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, This is How We Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar, 1984 by George Orwell, and Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor, and they're all books I've been meaning to read for awhile. 

Izzy also commented on the misinformed view of fantasy books, and how they can be beneficial in stressful times. She praised the book Priory of The Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. "It is an adult high fantasy, it is a very long book, it's over 800 pages. But it is super incredible, immersive, and fast-paced. It took a long time for me to read as well, so it might be beneficial to pick a long book during this quarantine, because we have a lot of time on our hands now. It spans over multiple countries that are made up in this world." 

The book follows a young girl who is next in line to the thrown in the House of Berethnet, in the world of Inys. But assassins are after her. 

In a time that can be lonely and uncertain, art can provide us with comfort, self-reflection, and entertainment. Fantasy books are ways to see our world, and even the world’s current predicament, through a different lens, and can also be a way of escaping into a world unknown to us. Everyone should try to read more with the free time they find themselves in, and perhaps, you'll find a friend in a book when you most need it.