On Friday afternoon, Governor Jay Inslee announced an extension of his stay-at-home order through May 31 for residents of Washington State, USA. I totally agree with this decision. I’d rather continue self-isolating now than have to start all over again by opening everything up too soon and letting the virus overwhelm us again.
I do hope that all of you are staying healthy and finding solace in activities that soothe and comfort you.
If you’re like me, you probably skip right over the copyright page when you open up a book to settle down and read. But here’s what we’re missing when we do that: “there’s a lot you can learn from all that tiny text. For instance, do you love that book cover? You can find out who designed it. Want to know what font the book is using?”
Are you finding yourself wishing for comic novels to read during self-isolation? Muse along with New Yorker’s Katy Waldman:
Comic fiction sometimes seems less like a genre than like the treatment of a question: What is our disposition toward a fickle universe? Do we claim agency through humor? Or strive for a jolly and wide-eyed surrender? From an aesthetic perspective, one vision—pessimistic or optimistic, active or passive—isn’t better, or funnier, than another. But there’s a larger truth here. Before the shelter-in-place orders, I was not seeking out the books that made me laugh as a kid. Now I am. This fact somehow seems to get at the essence of comedy—an art that becomes more real, more fully itself, within a shared, tragic frame. With that in mind, here are some honorable mentions for the funniest books to read in quarantine . . .
Psychoanalytic psychotherapist and writer Maxine Mei-Fung Chung writes here about “Searching for accurate portrayals of a complex disease in an age of exploitative media.”
Here she examines “the portrayal of mental illness and personality disorders in literature, TV shows and movies—and the conflicting forces of entertainment versus a better understanding of the human condition.”
Her focus here is on dissociative identity disorder (DID), formerly called multiple personality disorder: “Perhaps if we are to better understand the condition we need to cease portraying those living with the disorder as psychopaths or wall-crawling lunatics.”
Kelly Jensen reports: “A new study by SuperSummary, a company which provides study guides for fiction and nonfiction, explored gender bias in their latest study ‘Strong Man; Beautiful Woman.’”
Jensen takes a pretty deep dive into the procedure and results of this research and offers some informative infographics to illustrate her examination. Here’s her conclusion:
despite women “dominating” publishing, their stories sell far less than those by male peers, are told far less frequently by men, and don’t permit them the same opportunities to be rich and powerful.
© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown