Photo: Courtesy of the retailers

In our ongoing effort to provide productive distractions from what’s happening outside of your windows and on your screen right now, we turned to 21 authors, from Pulitzer Prize and National Medal of the Arts winners to rising literary stars, to ask them about the books they themselves are turning to for an escape from the present moment. Below — in their own words — are their choices, which range from 20th-century classics to riotous new memoirs and modern epics. As author Erin Khar told us, “Books are a great source of comfort during life’s challenging moments. And we are in one of those difficult moments now.”

Editor’s note: All of these authors have either recently published new books or about to publish new books. But due to the restrictions on gatherings and crowd sizes amid the coronavirus pandemic, they have been forced to postpone tours and events to promote them. So in addition to each author’s recommendation, we’ve noted their new titles as well.

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