Pandemic Stories – Too Soon?

pandemic photo

Books To Own For Posterity

We have lived through an incredible time of suffering, heartache and fear and have also witnessed so much kindness, collaboration and innovation. Stories of survival will be in the history books for younger generations to study and eventually, this historic time will be looked back upon for lessons on economics, science, politics and humanity. Here are some wonderful books to add to your collection -nonfiction personal stories written by many well known authors and edited by Zibby Owens, stories and images of New York City by author and photographer, Bill Hayes, and medical stories that focus on science and politics by Michael Lewis. When it comes to fiction, it will be interesting to see if many authors include the pandemic in their next novels. Some people say “write what you know” and two authors below did just that – moving stories about a deadly virus! We made it through and are now creating a new normal; it is not too soon to pick up a copy of one of these books for posterity. Read them now and then pass them along to the next generation.

Non-Fiction

Moms Don’t Have Time to: A Quarantine Anthology by Zibby Owens

JOIN AWARD-WINNING PODCASTER ZIBBY OWENS OF MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO READ BOOKS ON A JOURNEY FILLED WITH FOOD, EXERCISE, SEX, BOOKS, AND MORE.

It’s impossible to ignore how life has changed since COVID-19 spread across the world. People from all over quarantined and did their best to keep on going during the pandemic. Zibby Owens, host of the award-winning podcast MomsDon’t Have Time to Read Books and a mother of four herself, wanted to do something to help people carry on and to give them something to focus on other than the horrors of their news feeds. So she launched an online magazine called We Found Time.

Authors who had been on her podcast wrote original, brilliant essays for busy readers. Zibby organized these profound pieces into themes inspired by five things moms don’t have time to do: eat, read, work out, breathe, and have sex. Now compiled as an anthology named Moms Don’t Have Time To, these beautiful, original essays by dozens of bestselling and acclaimed authors speak to the ever-increasing demands on our time, especially during the quarantine, in a unique, literary way.

Actress Evangeline Lilly writes about the importance and impact of film. Bestselling author Rene Denfeld focuses on her relationship with food after growing up homeless. Screenwriter and author Lea Carpenter and Suzanne Falter, author, speaker, and podcast host, focus on loss. New York Times bestselling authors Chris Bohjalian and Gretchen Rubin write about the importance of reading. Others write about working out, love and sex, eating and cooking, and more. Join Zibby on her journey through the winding road of quarantine and perhaps you, too, will find time.

How We Live Now: Scenes From the Pandemic by Bill Hayes

From the author of the beloved and critically acclaimed Insomniac City, a poignant and profound tribute in stories and images to a city amidst a pandemic-an ode to our shared humanity.

A bookstore where readers shout their orders from the street. A neighborhood restaurant turned to-go place where one has a shared drink-on either end of a bar-with the owner. These scenes, among many others, became the new normal as soon as the world began to face the COVID-19 pandemic.

In How We Live Now, author and photographer Bill Hayes, with his signature insight and grace, captures these moments of life in real time-as things unfold day-by-day, hour-by-hour, in this strange new world we’re now in (for who knows how long?), with its new sets of rules and guidelines, its suddenly deserted streets, shuttered restaurants, bars, shops, and stores. As he wanders the increasingly empty streets of Manhattan, Hayes meets fellow New Yorkers and discovers stories to tell, but he also shares the unexpected moments of grace and gratitude he finds from within his apartment, where he lives alone and-like everyone else-is staying home, trying to keep busy and not bored as he adjusts to enforced solitude with reading, cooking, reconnecting with loved ones, reflecting on the past-and writing.

Featuring Hayes’s inimitable street photographs, How We Live Now chronicles an unimaginable moment in time, offering a long-lasting reminder that what will gets us through this unprecedented, deadly crisis is each other. 

Book Nation by Jen Interview with Bill Hayes HERE

The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis

For those who could read between the lines, the censored news out of China was terrifying. But the president insisted there was nothing to worry about.

Fortunately, we are still a nation of skeptics. Fortunately, there are those among us who study pandemics and are willing to look unflinchingly at worst-case scenarios. Michael Lewis’s taut and brilliant nonfiction thriller pits a band of medical visionaries against the wall of ignorance that was the official response of the Trump administration to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The characters you will meet in these pages are as fascinating as they are unexpected. A thirteen-year-old girl’s science project on transmission of an airborne pathogen develops into a very grown-up model of disease control. A local public-health officer uses her worm’s-eye view to see what the CDC misses, and reveals great truths about American society. A secret team of dissenting doctors, nicknamed the Wolverines, has everything necessary to fight the pandemic: brilliant backgrounds, world-class labs, prior experience with the pandemic scares of bird flu and swine flu…everything, that is, except official permission to implement their work.

Michael Lewis is not shy about calling these people heroes for their refusal to follow directives that they know to be based on misinformation and bad science. Even the internet, as crucial as it is to their exchange of ideas, poses a risk to them. They never know for sure who else might be listening in.

Fiction

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

Set in a world where a virus stalks our male population, The End of Men is an electrifying and unforgettable debut from a remarkable new talent that asks: what would our world truly look like without men?

Only men are affected by the virus; only women have the power to save us all. 

The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland–a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic–and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien–a women’s world.

What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus’s consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the male plague; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal–the loss of husbands and sons–to the political–the changes in the workforce, fertility and the meaning of family.

In The End of Men, Christina Sweeney-Baird creates an unforgettable tale of loss, resilience and hope.

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult (coming Nov. 30)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a deeply moving novel about the resilience of the human spirit in a moment of crisis.

Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s an associate specialist at Sotheby’s now, but her boss has hinted at a promotion if she can close a deal with a high-profile client. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.

But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.

Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. Her luggage is lost, the Wi-Fi is nearly nonexistent, and the hotel they’d booked is shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, the whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father’s suspicion of outsiders.

In the Galápagos Islands, where Darwin’s theory of natural selection was formed, Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.

All summaries are picked up from Goodreads.

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