stack of 3 books plus open book with pen. Title: Top Ten Tuesday

#TopTenTuesday 10 Lists of Books About the COVID-19 Pandemic

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Here’s how it works: Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic for each Tuesday. If you check this link, you’ll find she’s assigned topics for several future weeks so you can plan ahead. She adds, “create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list . . . Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you!”

Each week Jana posts a Linky on her blog where you can (if you want) share a link to your post and check out other bloggers’ posts.

Today’s suggested topic for Top Ten Tuesday is a Halloween freebie. I love Halloween just as much as the next reader, but I published my Suggestions for Spooky Halloween Reading early in the month, and that’s all I’ve got on that topic.

So today, instead of Halloween, I’m presenting another topic I’ve been interested in lately, how the COVID-19 pandemic affected publishing and, more specifically, how literature written during the pandemic will reflect the texture of the time. I’m thinking it won’t be long before pandemic literature becomes a hot topic for Ph.D. dissertations. 

Here are 10 articles that discuss pandemic books. They focus not on books about pandemics in general or pandemics past, but on books somehow related to or resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown that began in March of 2020. They discuss both fiction and nonfiction, but the overall emphasis is on fiction. These entries are listed in the order of publication.

The Literature of the Pandemic Is Already Here

Posted on July 22, 2020. Includes some related links.

COVID-19 Pandemic 2020 Books

A list of about 250 books created by Goodreads users.

The Covid novels are arriving. And they’ll be a warning to future generations

Published in the Guardian on August 7, 2020. Laura Spinner writes, “The first coronavirus novel from a major British writer has just been published. Summer, the last book in Scottish writer Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet, is infused with the pandemic we are living through.”

It’s too early to know if we’ll reap a crop of pandemic-themed novels in years to come. The arrival of Summer suggests we might. . . . Those novels that have staying power . . . will act as messages in a bottle to future generations about what it was like to live through this. That’s important, even if we ourselves prefer not to be reminded.

12 Great Novels That Got Lost In The Pandemic

Posted September 18, 2020. Aimee Liu describes “the personal experiences of six authors of novels released during these two ill-fated months [April and May 2020].” These novels aren’t about the pandemic, but about how the onset of the pandemic impacted their publication.

Pandemic fiction: Fall books include stories of the virus

From ABC News on August 18, 2021.

The pandemic has now lasted into a second fall season for publishing, and a growing number of authors, among them [Jodi]mPicoult, Louise Erdrich, Gary Shteyngart and Hilma Wolitzer, have worked it into their latest books.

Inside story: the first pandemic novels have arrived, but are we ready for them?

Published in the Guardian on November 27, 2021.

now, as we see the work made by writers who confronted it [the pandemic] head on, questions emerge. Do we really want to read about the pandemic while it is still unfolding? Do we risk losing sight of the long view in getting too caught up with the contemporary?

The best books about the pandemic

Economist, journalist, and broadcaster Tim Harford published this list on his website on December 13, 2021. The descriptions suggest that all but one of these books are related specifically to the 2020 pandemic. All appear to be nonfiction.

These are the first books about the COVID-19 pandemic to have been published in the midst of it

This list from Business Insider, published on January 25, 2022, features both fiction and nonfiction, including books for children.

COVID-19 books are now hitting shelves to document the pandemic, teach people how to cope, and even weave together fictional stories based on the real-life events of the past two years.

The Pandemic Novel That’s Frozen in Time

Published September 27, 2022, this article discusses Lucy by the Sea: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout.

Children are coming of age in the pandemic – and these books are capturing the moment

In this article published in the Guardian on August 27, 2022, Australian writer Emily Gale discusses books to help children, whose “lives have been defined by a crisis that floored their parents,” make sense of the experience. 

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

11 thoughts on “#TopTenTuesday 10 Lists of Books About the COVID-19 Pandemic”

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      Thanks, Lydia. Right now I’m actually more interested in reading about how the pandemic influenced literature than in reading the literature itself. I enjoyed your list of Halloween things you’ve never done, although I suggest that you could probably try pumpkin spice coffee or tea without any milk.

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      Thanks, Liz. I’m actually more interested in looking at how the pandemic influenced literature than in reading the actual literature itself. That would be a fascinating project, but I’ve got a huge list of other projects I’m more interested in right now.

      1. The question I’m interested in is how the literature produced at the height of the pandemic differs (assuming it does) from literature after a period of time has passed.

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      I agree with you, Cindy. I’m not quite ready for the COVID fiction yet, but I did enjoy researching articles about how the pandemic has influenced, and might continue to influence, literature. I enjoyed your list of spooky Halloween reading suggestions this week. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  1. I’ve read a couple of COVID books lately and they’re definitely interesting. My favorite of the bunch is NEW FROM HERE by Kelly Yang. It’s a novel, but it’s based on Yang’s own experience of how she (who’s Asian American) and her kids (who are bi-racial) dealt with the pandemic, including the racism they experienced because of it. It’s a MG novel, but a very affecting one.

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!


    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      Thanks for your comment, Susan. One of the articles I read addressed how books for children (I think from picture books through YA) helped them to understand the pandemic while it was happening. I imagine that children were probably in more immediate need of comfort and information, so the quick publication of children’s books was definitely a good thing. I’m also guessing that adult fiction about the pandemic will emerge more slowly and will deal with the after effects rather than the immediate, as-it-was-happening, experiences.

  2. Interesting list! I have a few pandemic books on my TBR, but I haven’t had the motivation to read them yet. It’ll be cool to see how the pandemic influences the books that come out in the next decade.

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