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Are Books About the Pandemic Cathartic or Anxiety-Producing?

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I read it in the fall of 2021, so the pandemic had been around for a while by

I didn’t realize how badly I wanted to read a book set in the world I

Before it was published in 2022, Carly Moore serialized Panpocalypse online during the early days of pandemic

There’s an eeriness and an urgency to it that I instantly connected with

The next pandemic-centric book I read was The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

It came out at the end of 2021, but I didn’t read until this past summer

I had the same experience with it that I had with Panpocalypse: I fell into it hungrily

Despite centering these devastating events, it’s a quiet, character-driven book

Then the pandemic comes, and life is no longer ordinary — until it is

That’s the part that settled something within me, that made me want to reach for more

I was tired of having to recalibrate my understanding of “ordinary” every time I started a new

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But many people have looked at me askance, or told me they’re not ready

What about books that include the pandemic and then seem to move past it? I loved R

Eric Thomas’s Kings of B’More, a YA novel about two Black queer besties trying to

What about nonfiction? I recently read Ivan Coyote’s latest book, Care Of, a beautiful collection of

But Coyote’s writing is steeped with the loneliness of those early months, and the overwhelming sense

I wept reading Care Of, but they were good tears, cathartic tears, tears that reminded me I’

John Mandel’s latest novel, Sea of Tranquility, which is set in the future but features a

But I have friends who absolutely cannot pick up a pandemic novel: it’s still too close

As far as I can discern, there’s no pattern, no formula we can use to figure

Every pandemic book is going to affect every person differently

A cathartic escape for someone — maybe a romance set in 2020 that ignores the pandemic — might feel like

It’s okay to seek out books about the pandemic and it’s okay to avoid them