Friday, March 27, 2020

By Emilyn Linden

One piece advice often see about staying sane while Safer at Home is to take breaks from the news. That can be difficult unless you can fill your checking-the-news time with something else. But stress and anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic can make it hard to sit down and read a book. I’ve come up with a few ideas (that you can check out from the comfort of your couch) of e-books and audiobooks you can read in short snippets but that also might grab your attention and help you ignore the news for awhile.

I think most people in Wisconsin are aware of author Michael Perry and his work. Perry was born and raised on a farm in Wisconsin and now raises his family on a small Wisconsin farm. He’s written a couple of memoirs that you can find on Libby. I love his folksy writing and the way he humorously (but not nastily) writes about friends and neighbors. His books are very popular on Libby, so you may have to get on a waiting list. If you want to explore his stuff sooner rather than later, he’s been a frequent guest on WPR and he has a great Youtube channel that he’s been updating frequently during the pandemic.

One book that’s a great listen that’s also available on Libby is AsapSCIENCE by Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown. The authors answer weird questions about a wide variety of topics. And while they treat the questions with humor, they also provide thoroughly researched answers. Moffit and Brown also have a Youtube channel called AsapSCIENCE and a few new videos answering questions about the current pandemic.  

I know I’ve been watching lots of cute cat and dog videos lately. My coworkers have been sharing photos of their furry coworkers to help keep our spirits up. Libby has  a bunch of e-books by Jennifer Holland featuring Unlikely Friendships (with lots of photos). Holland relates stories of friendships between such creatures as a chihuahua and a silkie chicken, a bear and a cat and a hippo and a goat. 

I find that when I’m stressed and having trouble concentrating, I sometimes like to revisit old favorites. Right now seems like it would be the perfect time to reread Alice in Wonderland, The Little Prince, The Wind in the Willows or Anne of Green Gables

For something light and amusing, check out the essay collections by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella, Scottoline’s daughter. If you’ve only ever read Scottoline’s murder mysteries, don’t expect more of the same. Mother and daughter share hilarious and moving stories about everything in their lives from aging to empty calories and blind dates. It’s a great way to take a quick break with some short, sarcastic and hilarious musings on life. 

One of the most talented people currently producing insightful and sharp stories about everyday life is English author Penelope Lively. The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories came out in 2016 when Lively was 84. Her characters enjoy common sense, her dialogue is wonderful and she has a gift for describing people and relationships. I particularly enjoy her stories featuring older people. Highly recommended.

If you find yourself without a library card during this unusual time, we’re issuing temporary library cards. Just fill out the form, and someone from the library will follow up with you.

Emilyn Linden is a librarian at FDL Public Library where she loves recommending great books to anyone who will listen.