"This Is Happiness," by Niall Williams

It's quiet, not exciting. But the lyrical writing, descriptions and musings in "This Is Happiness" give pause:

"Nor did I know how an older person must accommodate the younger one inside."

"The evenings that fell then were like embroidered cloths warm and blue before the stars came out."

"Just for a tick there was a broken-off lump of his heart in his throat, then he swallowed and the whistling came on again."

What a wonderful read during COVID! I go to bed telling my husband I am escaping to the little village of Faha, Ireland, circa 1950s.

Seventeen-year-old Noel has left the seminary and come to live with grandparents. Christy, one of the electric workers living at his grandparents', supports Noel as he comes of age. As young Noel discovers why Christy really came to Faha, he lends his support and encouragement.

If you have a speck of Irish in you (or wish you did), try this novel.

Nora Gabler Osendorf, St. Paul

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