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Books to Get Us Through This

Posted 5 months ago by Franco V

There’s no sugarcoating our current situation. This is a historical moment in which we are all collectively concerned about a single thing. From worries about health to finances, we are all in this together, even though we are apart.

No matter what else you might be occupied with right now, there will always be books in which to take refuge. These are some reads that can help get us through this. All of these titles are available digitally, through Overdrive/Libby or hoopla.

Do Nothing, by Celeste Headlee

It might feel like “nothing” is what so many of us are doing right now, but the opposite is true: We’re taking care of ourselves, our families, friends and our communities. For when things do return to feeling a bit more normal, award-winning journalist Celeste Headlee takes a deep dive into the overworked lives we typically lead. If anything, Do Nothing will help you place things in perspective and think about what is really important in your life.

How to Be Idle, by Tom Hodgkinson

Idleness is different from laziness. Laziness is the complete unwillingness to do anything, while being idle means actively making time for leisure, to do things you enjoy, even if at times doing the things you enjoy is looking out the window or taking an afternoon nap. Hodkinson offers remedies to being stressed through embracing downtime and providing historical perspectives of work and non-work time.

The Art of Living, by Epictetus and Sharon Lebell

Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus is distilled for a modern audience in Sharon Lebell’s interpretation. The Art of Living acts as a manual, told through brief entries, almost diary-like, on topics for everyday life. Ultimately, stoicism takes a stance of handling situations as they are, regardless of what our reaction and opinion about those situations might be. Some might find such an approach to the current predicament useful. For example, on how nobody wants to be stuck in the middle of a pandemic, you might apply what Lebell writes in one passage: “Circumstances do not rise to meet our expectations. Events happen as they do. People behave as they are. Embrace what you actually get.”

Fear, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has plenty of books that examine life issues through a Buddhist lens, but this book tackles a topic that many of us might have on our mind right now: fear. And that’s OK – fear is a normal reaction to the unknown. Hanh finds a peaceful approach to recognizing fear and providing tools to work your way through it.

Economix: How Our Economy Works (And Doesn’t Work) In Words and Pictures, by Michael Goodwin and Dan E. Burr

Have you ever wanted to understand the machinations of what makes our economy tick? Or in our current situation, how much of it has been impacted in a matter of weeks? Economix gives a look at what does and does not work in Western economies in an easy and accessible comics format. Most importantly, as we move to a post-pandemic world and look to make improvements to how life works (including the economy), this book provides some possibilities for an economic future that is more fair and works for everybody.

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