Reading In a Time of COVID19 (Part 1)

on Monday, March 23, 2020
And just like that, the world changed.

Needless to say, the new normal is shit. Who would have thought that in 2020 we'd be locked in our homes, steering clear of one another, anxiously waiting to get a sense of quite how catastrophic this oncoming plague is likely to actually be. Hope resides in a combination of the ancient and the modern: physical isolation and medical science. To that end, sending a huge shout out to all who have tried not to be #COVIDIOTS and, most importantly, the essential workers on the frontline. No doubt this has made us reconsider how we ought to be valuing the different levels of the so-called societal strata.

One thing that has become increasingly apparent is the importance of reading at this time. It is not just a luxury but a damn necessity. To pass time. To stay sane. To be communal, to find new friends while separated from our communities. In the coming days and weeks, I'll try fill this blog with new short reviews and musings to point you in the direction of great reads. But for now, just a couple of recommendation posts, starting with these two lists - Pandemic Reads and Big Books To Live In. And whether you're turning to e-reading, rifling through your piles of unread books or availing yourself of all the wonderful indie bookstores that are staying open and delivering books to your door without you having to partake in any person-to-person contact just remember the new mantra. STAY SAFE. STAY HOME. STAY KIND.

For some people this might be cutting it too close. But if you are up for reading how some of the world's finest writers have considered life as we are currently experienced it, look no further than these extraordinary novels.
The Plague by Albert Camus.
Blindness by Jose Saramago
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O'Nan
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
Light by Torgny Lindgren
Nemesis by Phillip Roth
The Last Town of Earth by Thomas Mullen
The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian
The Trespassers by Meg Mundell
Severance by Ling Ma
Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter

If you're more inclined to escape this whole clusterfuck and lose yourself in a great, big book, then here are a few of my absolute favourite 400+ pagers, with links to the ones I've reviewed or discussed on this blog.
The Lost Time Accidents by John Wray (490 pp, but close enough and too good not to include here)
The Slaughterman's Daughter by Yaniv Iczkovits (525pp)
Europe Central by William T. Vollamn(832pp)
The Tunnel by William H. Gass (652pp)
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (848pp)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (639pp)
Underworld by Don Delillo (827pp)
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (662pp)

Might you brave Laszlo Krasznahorkai's Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming (512pp) before I do? Or might this be the time you finally trudge your way through the holy grail of literary bricks, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace(1077pp)? Whatever you choose, keep up the mantra: STAY SAFE. STAY HOME. STAY KIND.

And be sure to check back in a couple of days for more book-nerdy tips!


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