Pandemic Summer Reading

Pandemic summer 2020 reading challenge

Since I have posted a summer reading challenge (with a health humanities/social justice focus) beginning in 2015, I continue the tradition this year. Please support your local independent bookstores because we need them to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. I miss being able to visit in person my favorite local indie Elliott Bay Book Company.

Thirteen books, left to right in the photograph above.

1-3. Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy: Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam. Because Atwood can teach us so much through her writing.

4-6. N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy: The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Sky, and the Stone Sky. Because I am sadly remiss in reading this important sci-fi trilogy.

7. Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron. Because I have never read this bawdy classic of imagined tales by friends escaping the Black Death of 1348 in Florence, Italy.

8. Barbara Ehrenreich’s Had I Known new collection of essays spanning her four decades of journalism. Because I am a big fan of Ehrenreich’s acerbic wit and observations on our society.

9. Tara Wetsover’s Educated. Because I am interested in her take on the power and pitfalls of higher education.

10. Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel mainly because I recently finished reading her prescient dystopian (flu pandemic) novel Station Eleven.

11. American Birds: A Literary Companion, edited by Andrew Rubenfeld and Terry Tempest Williams. Because watching birds in my backyard during the pandemic shelter-in-place spring have entertained and soothed me.

12. Brian Doyle’s One Long River of Song, a collection of essays. Because I miss the compassionate and lyrical voice of one of my favorite contemporary writers who died in 2017 from a brain tumor.

13. Louise Aronson’s Elderhood. Because I have heard good things about geriatrician and writer Aronson’s book. And because this is the summer I officially enter elderhood. And because as a society we suffer from extreme ageism as highlighted by our seeming indifference to the high death rates from COVID-19 among our elders. (see Aronson’s article “Ageism is making the pandemic worse” in The Atlantic, March 28, 2020.

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