A stack of books, as described in the main text of this post

Covid-19 Diary: Quarantine books

Published 2020-05-11

I have made three or four Powell’s orders since March 16. Here’s what has arrived thus far:

  • Selected Writings — Hildegard of Bingen. I only knew her as a composer but recently learned she was a mystic and philosopher as well.
  • Midnight in Chernobyl — Adam Higginbotham. Just finished this, it will be a hard one to beat.
  • Meditations — Marcus Aurelius. I got this book in January, maybe
  • Dog Songs — Mary Oliver. I’ve actually had this book for a while but it was in the stack when I photographed it
  • Killing Comentadore — Haruki Murakami. I like Murakami but with two exceptions (Kafka on the Shore and Hard Boiled Wonderland) I doubt I could accurately describe the plot of any one of his novels. I read them for the atmospherics.
  • Dragon Bike: Fantastical Stories of Bicycling, Feminism, and Dragons — Elly Blue, ed. No idea what to expect here. I’ve met Elly a few times and really enjoyed Bikeonomics
  • Courting Mr. Lincoln — Louis Bayard. Literally bought this book because Powell’s recommended it. Hope it’s good.
  • The book of Numbers — John Conway and Richard K. Guy. Mathematician John Conway, inventor of the Game of Life, died of Covid-19.
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind — Yuval Harari. I was expecting something more anthropological (and the anthropology is a little suspect? Definitely written from an Old World perspective anyway). But this is a historical account & made me think a lot. Particularly about the Problem of Evil for which Harari provides almost parenthetically a solution that had never occurred to me. So mad props for making me think of a truly new idea for the first time in decades. I enjoyed it & didn’t think the next thing I read would compete, but the next thing I read was Midnight in Chernobyl
  • The Odyssey — Homer; Emily Wilson, transl. In theory I read The Odyssey in tenth grade but in actuality I read the first four chapters. I heard Wilson’s translation is amazing so I’m looking forward to this.