"Two Years Before the Mast," by Richard Dana

During the pandemic, I've been rereading books I recall enjoying decades ago. In that spirit, I picked up Richard Dana's "Two Years Before the Mast." The memoir tracks Dana's two-year odyssey aboard a sailing ship from Boston, around Cape Horn to California to trade goods for cow hides. In addition to learning about sailing, there are also lessons on tanning bullock hides and some terrific insights on the crew of the Pilgrim and Alert, as well as life on the California coast in the early 19th century.

A true adventure story that's just perfect for taking one's mind off the troubles of the world today.

Tom McCarthy, Dassel, Minn.

Quarantine Reads are suggestions of soothing books during fraught times. Send your recommendation to books@startribune.com. Please include your name and city.