With more people stuck at home, many are turning to fiction and literature for escapism. Chelsea Hodge, a staff member in the University of Arkansas Honors College, is using the beloved Harry Potter series to help her students stay connected. When the college's annual Harry Potter-themed event was canceled, Hodge decided to host a live webcam reading of the books each weekday at 3 p.m. for her students and colleagues. 

Courtesy / Colin Boyd Shafer Photography

Garrard Conley is the author of Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family. The book, which was adapted into a movie in 2018, tells the story of Conley’s experience as the son of a Baptist pastor in a small Arkansas town. As a young man, Conley was conflicted about his sexuality and when he was outed to his parents, he went to a conversion therapy program. He is now an advocate for ending such practices.

Nightbird Books in Fayetteville is closing Feb. 29. During its nearly 14 years of operations, the locally-owned, independent bookstore has hosted book clubs, workshops and the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective readings.

Alexander Watson

Alexander Watson and his partner Dale Harris didn't really understand what they were doing when they bought a boat and planned to navigate the Arkansas River, but, over time, they figured it out. The adventure is recounted in Watson's book, River Queens: Saucy Boat, Stout Mates, Spotted Dog, America.

Courtesy / Penguin Press New York

Steve Inskeep, a host of NPR's Morning Edition, explores the lives of Jessie and John Fremont in his new book, Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Fremont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity and Helped Cause the Civil War. The Fremonts were influential in the westward expansion of the United States.