Wondering how to cope with the impact of COVID19? Troubled by the prospect of spending more time (by choice or necessity) in germ-avoidance isolation? Here’s a pleasant antiviral activity that you can enjoy: reading!
While you’re still able to go shopping, stock up right now with a batch of new books. Your local bookstore isn’t likely to be dangerously crowded, so just make a quick visit, grab a generous armful of literary works, and take those thousands of pages of well-crafted words home with you for company. Then, before the dire moment comes (next week?) when normal social interaction shuts down, you’ll be well equipped to engage with vicarious relationships, imaginary journeys and stimulating ideas without leaving the safe cocoon of home.
You’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve helped to keep the book industry afloat during this period of economic stress.
I’ve just followed my advice by buying a swag of fiction titles from a new little bookshop nearby, which is worthy of particular support because it has only recently opened its doors — right at the time when COVID19 is beginning to threaten many small businesses.
This brave indie venture is Typeface Books, located in the Ardross Street “village” in the Perth suburb of Applecross. Its shelves carry a good range of quality publications (well, it stocks my novels!), and it deserves to attract plenty of customers. Check out its website here.
Wherever you get your books from, you can of course choose whether to read things that take your mind off COVID19 altogether or things that help you to confront it. If it’s the latter, you have no shortage of reading material; it could include Albert Camus’ The Plague, David Herlihy’s The Black Death and the Transformation of the West, and Geraldine Brooks’s Year of Wonders. Or you might turn to the global best-seller Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, in which Yuval Noah Harari argues (among other provocations) that humans are on the verge of becoming superhuman because in the last few decades we have managed to curb all three things that have previously held us back: not only famine and war but also plague! “Epidemics are a far smaller threat to human health today than in previous millennia,” Harari says. Will he need to issue a revised edition?