How Is the Pandemic Like a Middle Grade Novel? (Shocking story below!)

 

(Image courtesy Etsy BuyTheDress)

So. It’s been a summer, hasn’t it? Truly, I have felt moved to post a whole bunch of times. There’s something about that old Covid-19 that really connects to children’s literature for me. It feels invented out of A Wrinkle in Time, but slant: a dire threat, and the only way we can survive isn’t to fight for our own lives, but to try to save others from being sick—except humanity might not up to the task if it means thinking about other people.

I hope any and all of you reading this are relatively healthy, relatively sane. Here at blog HQ in Brooklyn, NY, it’s been a ride, and will continue to be one.

What else can can I tell you? It turns out that the level of stress is a magical way to figure out what kinds of books you truly love. Like a magical stone (that I, of course, can’t remember the name of right now) it will reveal all. Here’s how:

Try to read a book. If you keep putting it down, it cannot save you, and you must let it fly free. But! If you fall deeper and deeper in, until the ceiling hangs with vines and the walls become the world all around (thanks, Maurice), then it is the kind of book you must continue to seek out, because it is the only thing (as far as I can tell) that will save you. Quarantine reading must be without shame or showing off, only with the hope of sanctuary (or at least, you know, a bit of fun).

So, some books you might think about:

The Broken Earth Trilogy, by N. K. Jemisin (Chestnut, for you old-timers, LOVED it.) Crazy feminist sci-fi, apocalyptic but not our particular apocalypse.

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter This was just the kind of silly hero action I needed—like a blockbuster movie but without the toxic masculinity.

The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman I thought I had read all the old guy mysteries. But I had not, and this was perfect and strange and wonderful.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel Oh, so mournful and quiet and compelling. I wish I could unread it so as to read it again for the first time.

I hope you are all fine. I hope you are finding ways to support your bookstores and each other. I hope I write again soon with more books that are transporting.

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