In this summer of COVID-19, a lot has been canceled or changed — vacations, sports, parties and get-togethers ... Before you start thinking there’s nowhere to escape, consider opening one of these books suggested by local readers. These are what they’ve been reading during the pandemic, or what they plan to pick up next.

You’ll be transported to 19th-century Puerto Rico, London during the Blitzkrieg of 1941-42, post-war Paris and an imaginary world set during the French Revolution and Haitain Rebellion. You can travel to a small town in Texas, post-Civil War America or Edinburgh, Scotland.

If fiction isn’t what you’re looking for, you may enjoy the true story about the rescue of boys trapped in a Thailand cave, a book calling for “a new masculinity” in response to the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., a biography of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or an entertaining account of one man’s exploits in Australia.

We’ve include a brief summary/review of each title to help you find one that speaks to you.

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“Wonderland”

by Zoje Stage

“A fresh take on stories like ‘The Shining’ and ‘The Amityville Horror,’ where the family, looking for a fresh start, find their new home already inhabited by something sinister. The story of a family’s survival against the unforeseen and the unseen certainly has parallels to the current state of the world, and Stage’s writing is modern and reflective while maintaining its core of suspense.”

— Jennifer Johnson, Washington

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“When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains”

by Ariana Neumann

“A fascinating true story of how one man hid in plain sight as a Jew under the Nazis and then how he made a fortune in South America after the war.”

— Joan, Washington

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“The Splendid and the Vile”

by Erik Larson

“Set in London during the Blitzkrieg, from May 1941 until May 1942. It is about how people went on with their daily lives as they were being bombed and shows a side of Churchill that isn’t much known. France has fallen, the U.S. is not in the war yet and Britain is fighting the Nazis alone. The British government had people keep diaries about the war and day-to-day life, and Larson quotes extensively from these. And life did continue — people fell in love, babies were born, they celebrated events and continued on with an amazing amount of courage and confidence.”

— Joan, Washington

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“The Spy and the Traitor”

by Ben Macintyre

“Ben Macintyre immediately brings the reader into the world of betrayal and treason in this Cold War thriller. Oleg Gordievsky is a member of the KGB, but defects to England’s Secret Intelligence Service, the MI6. When Gordievsky is unmasked, he attempts to escape from Russian authorities in an action-packed, nail-biting race to the border.”

— Bill Schwab, Washington

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“Valentine”

by Elizabeth Wetmore

“A story of strong women in a small town in Texas. I loved the character development as each female struggles with her own form of racism and violence. Each tells her perspective on her own journey to overcoming the sexist ideals of oil and cattle production in the ’70s.”

— Laurie Reed, Washington

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“The Paris Hours”

by Alex George

“The author intricately weaves the lives of four characters with well-known people in a story that takes place in post-war Paris. I loved how the seemingly unconnected people were drawn together toward the dramatic conclusion. The detailed descriptions of Paris and the compelling histories of each character would please any historical fiction lover.”

— Laurie Reed, Washington

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“White Fragility”

by Robin Diangelo

“My goal was to learn and grow in my understanding of the current racial situation and, perhaps, my part in it. Goal achieved, and I would recommend this book to others.”

— Amie Adrian, Union

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“A Better Man” (to be released Sept. 15)

by Michael Ian Black 

“In the aftermath of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 students and staff members and other school shootings, Michael Ian Black raises the discomfiting question, ‘Why is it boys who are pulling the trigger?’ He examines what it means to be a man today. He calls for a new masculinity embodying vulnerability, wonder, fear and tenderness.”

— Bill Schwab, Washington

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“In Praise of Walking”

by Shane O’Mara

“ ‘In Praise of Walking’ celebrates the uniquely human skill of walking on two feet. Neuroscientist Shane O’Mara describes how walking strengthens muscles, protects and repairs organs, improves posture and slows the aging of the brain. The book addresses the mechanics of walking as well as the activity’s social and emotional benefits.”

— Bill Schwab, Washington

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“The Taste of Sugar”

by Marisel Vera

“Set in 19th-century Puerto Rico, ‘The Taste of Sugar’ follows the shifting fortunes of the Vincente Vega family as it perseveres through drought, devaluation of the peso and the callous U.S. occupation of the island after winning the Spanish-American War. The poverty-stricken family is induced to move to Hawaii by a sugar plantation owner who promises them paradise. Based on true events, this is a troubling story about the hardships endured by Puerto Rican laborers who left their homeland for Hawaii to pursue a better life.”

— Bill Schwab, Washington

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“A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians”

by H.G. Parry

“A historical fantasy, where magic is real, and the laws that govern magic’s use favor the aristocracy. It covers the era of the French Revolution and Haitian Rebellion. Parry’s scenes of parliamentary debates are just as exciting as her scenes of the terror of mysterious shadows. If you liked ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell,’ pick this one up!”

— Nelson Appell, director, Washington Public Library

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“The Boys in the Cave”

by Matt Gutman

“Very inspiring read about the boys in Thailand who were trapped in a cave for several weeks and how they were rescued. It is truly miraculous.”

— Joan, Washington

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“The Book of Lost Friends”

by Wingate

“Post-Civil War historical fiction. A woman, her stepsister and the woman’s former slave leave together to go to Texas. The sisters want to settle their father’s will, and the former slave is hoping to find lost family members and to claim some family land. The lost friends were people who were missing, and the list was posted in many newspapers in the south. Those who could read would read aloud the names of people missing. An interesting time that few people know about.”

— Joan, Washington.

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“Sunday Philosophy Club” series

by Alexander McCall Smith

“Edinburgh, Scotland, resident Isabel Dalhousie edits a journal of applied philosophy and helps people with problems. The reader follows Isabel around town while she visits art galleries and restaurants and talks with old friends (who advise her not to get involved in other people’s business) and new acquaintances (who implore her to get involved in their business).

— Diane Disbro, manager of Scenic Regional Library in Union

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“In a Sunburned Country”

by Bill Bryson

“A funny and interesting tale about Bryson’s trip to Australia in 1999. He loves the language language, and it shows in the care he takes to write an entertaining sentence.”

— Nelson Appell, director, Washington Public Library

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“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone”

by Lori Gottlieb

“Gottlieb is a clinical psychologist. She writes well about her practice, her own therapy, and the human condition. It is inspiring; it is funny; it is hopeful. She also pulls in the history of analysis and therapy.”

— Joan, Washington

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“Pelosi”

by Molly Ball

“A first-rate political biography of the most powerful woman in U.S. Congressional history. Based on personal interviews and in-depth reporting, the author shares family stories from Pelosi’s childhood, adolescence and early years of marriage. She chronicles the labyrinthine path Pelosi followed to enter politics. This fascinating read is an intimate portrayal of a tough, bright 30-year veteran of Congress.”

— Bill Schwab, Washington

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“War and Peace”

by Tolstoy

“I expected it to be deep and political. Turns out, so far, that it’s just about people living their lives, sometimes at war, mostly not, with a sprinkle of politics and philosophy, and a lot of human nature.”

— Amie Adrian, Union.