I recommend Jane Smiley's "The Greenlanders." The fictionalized story of an ill-fated 14th-century attempt to colonize Greenland, it has everything — well-crafted characters of persevering farmers, willful daughters and striving sons; laced together in a style that echoes Norse sagas with their violence, high drama and proud survivors. It's a wonderful glimpse into an important slice of Scandinavian history. The brutal winters portrayed can make us feel quite grateful for 21st-century creature comforts! And at a full 582 pages, it guarantees that we can spend many happy hours with one of our best storytellers. It's an ideal book to help us through this long Minnesota winter quarantine.

Joan Kreider, Minneapolis

Quarantine Reads are recommendations of soothing books during fraught times. Send your suggestion, with your name and city, to books@startribune.com.