Bookends: March 2020

My spouse likes to tell the story of the day he, our toddler, and I were driving home from an errand and we saw a van hit a pedestrian. My emergency training clicked immediately. I grabbed my phone, checked for traffic, and hopped out of the car, dialing 911 as I called over my shoulder to my spouse to pull our car over. At the scene of the accident, I calmed the woman who was hit, checked on the driver, and gave what information I could to the dispatcher on the phone.

I am good in a crisis. Or rather, I am good in an acute crisis. Something happens; I deal with it.

I am not so good at this prolonged, amorphous kind of crisis. I was good at planning for it, and I am glad to have something to do to protect both my family and my community (i.e., stay home), but the daily, incessant anxiety around simple activities that now carry an unknowably greater amount of risk, like procuring food, walking around the neighborhood, and getting the mail, wears on me. It leaves me very tired.

The piece that works for me, though, is the government-mandated separation from humans outside of my household. I know a lot of people, including my spouse, are feeling stir-crazy, and I do miss the ocean and hanging out at the library, but overall, I kind of welcome the excuse to avoid everyone. I can do things slowly these days. I can keep a regular schedule. I can think before being expected to speak. I can avoid small talk. We’re only two and a half weeks in so far, and I might feel differently by May, but for now, I’m enjoying the freedom to be quiet.

Here’s some visual interest (my morning ritual: locally roasted coffee on the patio) followed by what I read this month.

Finished in March (4):

I thought with shelter-in-place, I’d get a lot of reading done, but I’ve found concentrating a little challenging this month. Maybe April will yield more reading time. But if it doesn’t, that’s cool, too.

Crossing by Pajtim Statovci

Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson (audio)

The Overstory by Richard Powers

In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett (audio)

Currently Reading:

Napoleon’s Buttons by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson (R.A. with my son)

Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersley-Williams (R.A. with my son)

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich (audio)

To-Read for April:

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

Thirteen Doors, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

Ten Years in the Tub by Nick Hornby

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

and whatever comes up for the #bookspin on Litsy.

What’s on your TBR stack for April?

One Reply to “Bookends: March 2020”

  1. Charity, thank you for this! I too have found it comforting to be able to avoid small talk, to schedule and to be able to stay to the schedule, since there is nowhere to go. And anxiety around going out–groceries is the main place–is multi-faceted for me. A mix of scarcity, awkwardness around people (are they sick? am I somehow passing something onto them?), and wondering what has had droplets of COVID-19 on it and at what point. I am reading Chronicles of Narnia with my kids to keep interested. As for other books, I started on called Spiritual Intelligence and it is simply dreadful. Since I still have to tell a story weekly for work, researching stories is my other reading task.


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