Books read 2020 #6-10

So much for reading more in 2020. The combination of pandemic lockdown and small child rather did for that aim!

#6 Lucy Mangan Bookworm: a memoir of childhood reading

I loved this book so much, I’ve already reviewed it here.

#7 Catherine Price How to break up with your phone

Already reviewed in a previous post, but included here for completeness 😉

Oh, and it has worked. I haven’t broken up with my phone, but I do use it a lot less!

#8 Laura Spinney Pale rider: the Spanish flu of 1918 and how it changed the world

It turns out that I deal with raging pandemics by reading up on historic ones. The OH was the same – completely separately we ordered historic pandemic books. I read this one, he read Justinian’s flea: plague, empire and the birth of Europe. I found Pale rider strangely reassuring, we’re in a much better place in 2020 with vaccines already discovered and about to be administered than in times past. I didn’t know that much about the Spanish flu before Covid-19 came along. I knew it had happened at the end of WWI. And that’s about it. It turns out that it killed more people than WWI did, interacting with troop movements and exhausted people across the world to spread quickly. In those days, they hadn’t discovered viruses, nor the ability to detect them. The only means of combatting it were social distancing (much to my surprise, this wasn’t a term invented in 2020!) and quarantine. Masks became commonplace in some countries, and some populations carried on wearing them when ill throughout the 20th century (which explains some of the overseas students at work who wear masks when they have a cold). It’s a fascinating read, and is aimed at the general public, explaining the science in an easy to understand way. It traces the history of infectious disease – from our earliest ancestors starting to live in groups, which made it easy for disease to spread, through the various epidemics of the past (plague, cholera) to influenza now and how we can fight it.

#9 Rebecca Ley For when I’m gone

This one sounds rather morbid, but really isn’t! Sylvia is terminally ill, and decides to write a handbook for her husband to use when she’s gone. It includes the nitty gritty of bringing up their children, but also some surprising revelations about her life, which affects her relationships with many others. It is a thought-provoking read. I was a bit worried in advance that it would be upsetting (we lost LO’s Godmother to cancer before LO turned two, and she left three young children behind) but it actually made me feel rather positive!

#10 Tom Wright God and the pandemic

Continuing my series of reading about pandemics 😉 I spotted this one in the window of the local Christian bookshop. It’s nice and short and very readable! It’s balanced, Bible based and sensible – the emphasis is not on why the pandemic happened (after all, they have happened throughout history, so why not now?!), but what we, as Christians, can do about it. The focus is very much on looking forward, rather than backwards. I found it very hopeful, as well as helpful.

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