The Quarantimes Week 6: One-Woman Book Club

April 21st, 2020

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…”

I have never read Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, but this opening line intrigues me. Unfortunately, I have a huge pile of books queued up already. 

I ordered one book from Everyone’s Books in Brattleboro the other day and picked it up off a stool outside the back door. Such strange times. The book was Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, and it’s an intentional re-read. I originally read this book years ago when the idea of a modern global pandemic was not even remotely on my radar. That made it a light little read about the Black Plague in the 1600s. But holy shit is this book a bit deeper today!

The basic plot line is that when the plague comes to a small village in rural England, the townspeople have to decide whether to flee or hunker down. The minister urges them to hunker down and seals off the gates to the town so that the citizens are forced to endure together instead of spreading the virus to other places.

This book is entirely prescient. I read 150 pages last night. I rarely re-read books because there are so many new books to read, but when I do, I am always pleasantly alarmed to realize that nothing is remotely familiar. It’s like I’m reading it for the first time. 

Another book I have on my bedside table: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, which won the Booker Prize last year. I typically love Bookers and have heard so many gushing things about this book, so I am sad and sheepish to report that I just cannot get into it. The main glitch for me is that she doesn’t use periods. It makes it hard to read. I’m all for imagination, but not so much when it comes to punctuation.

I don’t know which is worse — not being able to get into a book or being so into it that you read it in two days? They are both a certain kind of heartbreak in a world where escaping into a novel is pretty much everything.

What I’m listening to:

Hear me out and take my advice: The Grease soundtrack. This lifted my spirits right back up.

What I’m doing:

Lots of walks in the woods with my family. So, so grateful to have the great outdoors at our disposal. 


What I’m eating:

I picked up fresh lasagna noodles from Atlas Farms in Deerfield, curbside, but then realized we were out of mozzarella. So I found a recipe on Smitten Kitchen for lasagna bolognese that didn’t require mozz. It did require an all-day sauce, which, since it was Sunday and hell, I have nowhere to go, was just fine.

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