Covid-19 and what we’re reading

Well, friends, it’s March 31 and for me Day 18 of confinement with no human contact. Oh, I don’t have IT and never did have IT. But I’ve been social distancing since dinner at Cy’s Hoof and Horn with Karen and Charlie back on March 13.

Note that I “hunkered down” two days before Dr. Fauci used that phrase.

I get out for a long walk after every meal and substitute a 15-18 mile bike ride after lunch when the Kansas wind allows.

Other than that, I’m getting by with books. I thought I’d whittle down my stack of unread books, but they keep publishing new ones and Amazon delivers them to my door.

Since you are all readers too, I thought it would be fun to share what we’re all reading. So here we go:

My last book was A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd. It’s the latest in a series set in the years after World War I and featuring a Scotland Yard inspector haunted by the voice of a soldier he executed for disobeying an order during the Battle of the Somme.

Right now I’m reading The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson. Larson’s previous non-fiction history include In the Garden of the Beasts, Dead Wake and Devil in the White City. Splendid and the Vile is about Winston Churchill’s first year as prime minister, from May 1940 to May 1941, mixing world events with the impressions, emotions and personal adventures of those around him.

Next up will be Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth. It’s my second book about Tokien in the last few months. Maybe after this I’ll get around to actually reading The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

In California, Janet just finished reading One of Our Own by Willa Cather. Now she’s reading a couple of books: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe and One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America by Gene Weingarten.

Then she’ll be choosing between A Brief History of Everyone who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes by Adam Rutherford or What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump’s America by Dennis Johnson and Valerie Merians

Here in Wichita, Karen just read A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller. Now she’s reading White Working: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America by Joan C. Williams. She’s also listening to an audio book: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Charlie, meanwhile, has picked up a new hobby: ham radio. So he’s reading the American Radio Relay League Handbook. “It’s a *$#@+%^! nail-biter,” he tells me.

Up in Overland Park, in the middle of Kansas’ coronavirus hot spot, Martha last read A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell. Now she’s reading Agent Running in the Field by John Le Carre. Next up: The Road Not Taken by Max Boot.

In Chicago, Mike must have been waxing nostalgic during the impeachment debate because he re-read All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Now he’s reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, which also is on my list to get to at some point. Next for Mike is First Man, The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James Hansen. A good choice for the second biggest fan of space flight I’ve ever met.

In Dallas, Jill, our intrepid nurse, just read City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. Next up in Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann.

Coincidentally, Killers of the Flower Moon is the most recent book read by Elaine, who lives in Oklahoma just east of Osage County, where most of the events took place. She’s now reading Women in Sunlight by Francs Mayes. Next up is a classic: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie.

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