Books During a Crisis
Well, when the month started, I was ready to relax into some books. I had a week of house sitting ahead of me, my work had hit a slight lull, and the idea of social distancing was surfacing. It seemed like the perfect time to hibernate with some reading.
But once COVID-19 reached official pandemic status (and there were outright orders to stay at home) my anxiety became a force to be reckoned with. I found myself rereading the same page over and over, and I just couldn’t make much progress. Still, I managed to stay on track by knocking out some shorter books from my TBR pile—and I’m hoping to do the same in April.
Stay safe out there, friends! And don’t feel guilty if you’re not “taking advantage” of the extra time you might have. Just surviving is enough!
How to Be a Mindful Drinker: Cut Down, Stop for a Bit, or Quit by The Club Soda Community (Laura Willoughby, Jussi Tolvi, Dru Jaeger)
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been on the sober-curious bandwagon for a little while, which is what led me to this title. It was another great look at our culture of mindless drinking and a window into a community of nondrinkers (Club Soda).
The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson
This was our March book club pick and I think we will be returning to the true crime genre! This was a very detailed look at the 1892 murder of Andrew and Abby Borden, Lizzie’s father and stepmother, and the ensuing trial.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
A title that’s both YA and a crime story? Yes, please. Loved this fictional after-the-fact investigation of a small-town murder. It’s got friendship, betrayal, and plenty of plot twists!
Perhaps more relevant now than ever, a quick guide to taking the path a little less traveled and to exploring a new place (or your own neighborhood) through aimless wandering and a little mindfulness.
Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There by Sylvia Boorstein
I’ve been considering a mindfulness/meditation/silent retreat for at least a couple of years, but of course there are always plenty of reasons not to commit. Which is why I was extra grateful to discover this little book: a DIY mindfulness retreat you can even set up at home.
This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life by Annie Grace
Another in the category of sober living! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m still drinking—but I still appreciate the chance to reexamine the habit and be more mindful of my imbibing. (Especially that we’re all self-isolating now!)
Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee
I read this over several weeks: It’s a pretty dense read and is a fascinating look at the things that, well, spark joy. From circles to rainbows to surprise, why do some things make everyone feel giddy no matter their age, ethnicity, or gender? Warning: This book will make you want to redecorate.
Storied & Scandalous Kansas City: A History of Corruption, Mischief and a Whole Lot of Booze by Karla Deel
I always enjoy reading books about Kansas City, my hometown, and this one was no different. Not only known as the Paris of the Plains but also home to the Wettest Block in the World, KC was (is?) one hell of a party town.
Spiritual Rebel: A Positively Addictive Guide to Finding Deeper Perspective and Higher Purpose by Sarah Bowen
With three weeks of daily readings, Spiritual Rebel considers ancient wisdom, modern religion, and pop culture to explore what helps us connect with our spiritual side and our life purpose.
Unfuck Your Brain: Using Science to Get Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers by Faith G. Harper
I picked this one up because a local bookstore was planning an event with the author. That was, of course, canceled along with the rest of April. But I still enjoyed reading this little book on why your brain works the way it does and how to be okay anyway.
Cures for Love by Stendhal
Did I buy this in college and only just now read it? Yes, I did. Will I read this collection of 150-year-old maxims about love again? Unlikely.
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
A clever and delightful novel about a protagonist who only sees himself as “Generic Asian Man”—and his quest to become “Kung Fu Guy”—in the black-and-white world of Hollywood.
SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanas
I think I will let Michelle Tea’s foreword sum up the brilliance of this 1967 critique/satire/call to action:
“To see the SCUM Manifesto’s humor, to let it crack you up page after page, is not to read it as a joke. It’s not. … The truth of the world as seen through Valerie’s eyes is patently absurd, a cosmic joke. The hilarity in the Manifesto strikes me as fighting fire with fire.”
What did you read—and love—in March? What are you looking forward to in April? I’d love to hear from you!