If you’re coming to this site, then you’re most likely a fellow reader. Which means during these unsettled times, like us, when you can, you take refuge in what has always been a solace to you — books. That’s often a connecting thread amongst readers, though how we find that needed comfort varies.
Some of us may find it by learning as much as we can about what’s scaring us, tracking the idea of “knowledge is power” and so giving us a semblance of control, even if it’s illusory. Even if we know it’s illusory. So we read everything on this particular virus, or infectious diseases, or histories of, say, the Spanish Flu. Other may go the opposite path, turning away from the too-real world and diving headlong into fantasy, the more removed from our own world the better. Give me dragons! Give me invincible Dark Lords overcome! Or maybe we’ll go the obvious route: I’m feeling sad; I’ll find a book that will make me laugh (or read some Pratchett and kill two birds with one tome).
Some of us, we know who we are, take that and spin it 180. This world is making me sad; I’ll find a made-up one even sadder. Give me something that breaks my heart (but in, you know, a good way). Or, in a similar vein, this feels like the end of the world? Fine, screw you real world! I’ll read about the actual end of the world, dammit. I’m looking at you Station Eleven, Oryx and Crake, The Stand, or (combining break-my-heart with End-of-the World), you The Road. Or (combining End of the World with Make Me Laugh), you Cat’s Cradle or Shaun of the Dead (ok, ok, it’s a movie, even readers turn on the TV now and then).
Possibly it’s a dip into the formulaic. Give me a mystery series with the same beats: complaint about the ex-wife/ex-husband on page 31, wrong accusation on page 115, argument with the boss on page 154, second murder on page 167, cue big reveal. Or a dip into the warmly familiar. Slipping into that well-read, dog-eared, spine-tired copy of LoTR or The Little Prince, or something by Toni Morrison, Jane Austen, Anne Tyler (really, is there anyone more warmly comforting than Anne Tyler?). Or going back to a more innocent time, an Andre Norton or Lloyd Alexander. Hell, I may just go back to The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet (and yes, I do have a copy… And the sequels).
So what about you? Are you reading? More or less? As usual or has something changed? Has this virus, which has changed so much about our world and our lives, changed anything about your reading as well? Let us know how you’re doing and how you’re reading.
And now, I have to go find that Mushroom Planet book… (I’m lying; I know exactly what shelf it’s on.)
As usual, one commenter will choose a book from our stacks.