Reading for the Quarantine
What with being encouraged to stay home in order to stay healthy and flatten the curve, I thought that we might suggest some good reading for the duration. Here are three books I've loved that others might also enjoy:
1. The Stand, by Stephen King. A mega-virus sweeps the earth, wiping out almost the entire population. Survivors band together and a struggle between good and evil ensues. This book does not contain the horror and usual creepiness that SK is famous for. It is heavy on plot and character and is, imo, a great read. I finished it days before the coronavirus broke into the news, and may re-read it. I was pleased to learn that CBS has a miniseries based on the book ready for airing this fall.
2. The Plague (La Peste), by Albert Camus. The Mediterranean city of Oran is quarantined off from the rest of the world because of a plague; Camus creates a couple of immortal characters who contend with the situation. This book can be read as a history of Oran, which did suffer a couple of devastating plagues, but also as a metaphor for the Nazi occupation of Paris, which so deeply affected Camus and his cadre of other existentialist writers. A great classic!
3. And The Band Played On, by Randy Shilts. With the publication of this book in 1987 Randy Shilts made a truly great contribution to the literature surrounding the AIDS plague. Beginning with the collapse of a Danish doctor in Zaire with very odd symptoms, Shilts takes us in painstaking detail through the beginning and mid-life of the AIDS epidemic. You love some of the people you meet in this story and at the same time you want to scream at the ignorance and mishandling of it all, especially in its early years. Shilts tells a tragic story in a thrilling way; I've read it a few times.