Hey, friends! Long time no see. Does your state/region have a shelter-in-place order right now? Is it good for your reading life, or do you find yourself tracking the infection numbers, hitting “refresh” on your feed every fifteen minutes? I’ve been trying to pick up a book instead, but it’s tough.
I have two reading patterns happening right now. I’m reading through Karin Slaughter’s books (first her Grant County series, and now her Will Trent series.) They are dense, engaging, suspenseful and a gruesome. Normally I don’t love the gruesome part, but it’s vivid enough for me to shut out the images of what my colleagues in New York, Spain, and Italy (and Denver) are going through. My favorite so far is Criminal, but start with Blindsighted.
What I especially enjoyed about Criminal was the intimate look at the Atlanta police force in the 1970s. Much of the book is present-day, but the history was really well done, too.
I’ve also been revisiting my favorite dramatic, epic survival stories. (I can’t imagine why I’m drawn to that right now…) In no particular order, they are:
The Martian (Andy Weir): Astronaut Mark Watney is left behind on Mars when his NASA crew thinks he died in a sandstorm and must figure out how to survive alone. I have this as an audiobook, too, and the draw of listening to it while I run or walk has been getting me out of the house.
Blackout and All Clear (Connie Willis): I have these in paper, on kindle and as audiobooks. Oxford historians travel to the WWII to study heroism and are trapped in the Blitz.
Endurance: Ernest Shackleton’s Amazing Voyage (Alfred Lansing). This is non-fiction. Ernest Shackleton’s 1915 voyage to reach the south pole is interrupted when his ship is trapped in pack ice. He and two companions brave the polar winter and a 1000-mile voyage through the most dangerous ocean in the world to save their crew.
Doomsday Book (Connie Willis): Oxford historian Kivrin Engle has thought of everything as she prepared for her trip back in time to study the middle ages. When a glitch in the time travel mechanism sends her back to the Black Death and Oxford in the future faces its own pandemic, she must figure out how to survive. The audiobook of this one is especially lovely.
There’s a theme here: I want to be reading epic stories of courage and heroism, but I’m not looking for anything too close to home.
What are you reading right now? Do you have any recommendations for me?