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Have you sent in your mail-in ballot? Have you or do you plan to go to the polling place to vote?

Yesterday NY1 broadcast a photo of a voter reading The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires while in line for the polls, and after seeing @claskow’s tweet with the phrase “VOTE AND READ,” we wanted to support this concept and recommend some other escapist reads to pack for your poll outing. If you’ve already cast your vote, nothing’s stopping you from diving into one of these distracting books while you wait for the results. No matter what, make sure your voice is heard, treat yourself to a curated mental diversion, and VOTE AND READ!

 

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Let’s begin with the book that inspired this roundup. This book has received a ton of attention since its release in April, from its Goodreads Choice Award Horror nomination to landing on the New York Times Best Sellers list. It’s not surprising as the concept of a true-crime book club, consisting of Southern, suburban housewives, taking down a horrifying and clever vampire provides much needed catharsis during these past few months. This one will suck you in and give your mind a temporary reprieve from any stressful thoughts.

Pack this book if you like: a mix of campy and genuinely disturbing horror, some social commentary with your reads (especially regarding misogyny, racism, and classism), the '90s, the American South, true-crime, and, obviously, vampires.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Bookshop | Books A Million

 

 

Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston

This may be the third book in Poston’s Once Upon a Con series, but the beauty of these stories is you can jump into any book without having read the earlier installments, the writing is light and sweet, and the story is familiar. A retelling of the Beauty and the Beast tale, this book follows Rosie, a young woman applying for college, grieving her mother, and seeking much deserved solace in books (relatable). An accident leads to working in the spoiled Vance Reigns’ library to pay off a debt which leads to the two bashing heads which leads to….? If you like this one and the polling line is really, really long, backtrack and dive into the first two installments!

Pack this book if you like: fairy tale retellings, geek culture and nostalgia (especially with sci-fi fandoms like Star Trek), the enemies to lovers trope, or that welcoming and calming feeling of a loving family and close knit group of friends.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Bookshop | Books A Million

 

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

This one’s for those fantasy fans who best escape via far-off worlds with imaginative magic, immersive cultures, and characters you can grow to know and care for. Four different Londons make up this world, all with four separate relationships to magic, and Kell is one of the few magicians with the capabilities to travel between these Londons. After a personal smuggling operation goes awry, Kell finds himself on the run with cut-purse Delilah Bard. The action and constantly evolving narrative will keep your mind occupied, and before you know it, you’ll be at the front of the polling line.

Pack this book if you like: memorable characters, complicated relationships (brotherly, platonic, romantic, rivalrous), interdimensional travel, pirates, and kingdom politics.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Bookshop | Books A Million

 

 

Bites of Terror by Liz and Jimmy Reed

These 10 terrifying tales are the perfect treat for those who need a sensible chuckle. Each tale is sorted onto a menu (table of contents) of appetizers to desserts, so there’s a variety of stories to jump into depending on your mood, and all stories are created with insanely detailed sculptures and dioramas (3D, miniature models). There’s a deal with a devil’s food cupcake, a literal beet cop investigating serial killings, and so much more, and it’s easy to pause and resume reading in case the line moves quicker than expected or you start up a conversation with other voters.

Pack this book if you like: food puns, casual horror, sculptures/dioramas/art, short and digestible comics, Tales from the Crypt (and other stories with frame narratives), and a quick, satisfying read.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Bookshop | Books A Million

 

 

Cursed Objects by J. W. Ocker

Does the end of spooky season leave a hole in your Halloween-loving heart? If the earlier horror picks don’t do it for you, maybe you’ll enjoy a volume of strange but true stories of the world’s most infamous items. Similar to Bites of Terror, the chapters featuring each cursed artifact make it easy for you to pick up and put down the read at your convenience as you shuffle through the polling line. Read about a chest blamed for fifteen deaths in one family, a mummy rumored to have sunk the Titanic and catalyzed World War I, and the Roman ring believed to have inspired Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Pack this book if you like: paranormal and unexplained phenomena, weird history, and spooky podcasts.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Bookshop | Books A Million

 

 

City of Thieves by David Benioff

Best known for writing HBO’s Game of Thrones series (we’ll let you take that news how you see fit), Benioff based this story mainly on the recollections of his grandfather Lev Benioff during the WWII siege of Leningrad. An adventurous and historical coming-of-age tale, the book follows looter Lev and desserter Kolya as they travel across enemy lines in the search of a dozen eggs to trade for their lives. If the Game of Thrones connection turns you off, maybe knowing the book inspired the art direction of The Last of Us games will help you give it a chance. If you’re an audiobook fan, give Ron Perlman’s narration a listen for a handsfree, relaxing line experience.

Pack this book if you like: easy bromances, WWII history, intense chess games, stories based on true events, and exploring the conditions humans will endure in order to survive.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Bookshop | Books A Million

 

 

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

If 2020 has thrown so much at you that it feels like the world is coming to an end, it might be therapeutic to jump into a trilogy where the world is genuinely ending. With only six months until a deadly asteroid impacts Earth, suicides rates have skyrocketed, people are walking off their jobs left and right, the economy is crashing, and crops are dying. Despite this, policeman Hank Palace still cares and investigates a suspicious death in the time he has left. This pick isn’t to undermine your individual struggles by pointing out that things could be worse, but it’s to emphasize that there are people out there with good intentions in their heart and an immovable sense of hope, despite the world’s attempts to warp them into something else. Hank could be that much needed hope for you.

Pack this book if you like: noir crime, contemporary settings with sci-fi or apocalyptic twists, hard questions and hard truths, or morally-structured protagonists.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Bookshop | Books A Million

 

 

Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn

Another novel with a resilient and inspiring protagonist is James Goul-Bourn’s debut Bear Necessity. As a recently unemployed, single father, Danny’s struggling to make ends meet and care for his young son Will, who stopped speaking a year ago after his mother’s death. Naturally, Danny dons a panda suit and takes to the street to earn some cash, but after saving his own son from bullies, Will opens up to the supposed stranger. This debut novel is quick, sweet, silly, and the perfect pick-me-up for destressing.

Pack this book if you like: parent/child bonds, a colorful cast of characters, street performance (especially dancing mascots), and a mixture of humor, heartbreak, and joy.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Bookshop | Books A Million


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