One of my favorite folksingers, Cheryl Wheeler, wrote a song called “But the Days and Nights are Long,” which is a little bleak, but hey! Life has been a little bleak lately. When the reality of the pandemic really hit me, I was in the middle of reading Chris Weitz’s Young World trilogy, and I came to a screeching halt. How could I read about dystopian disaster when the world seems one step away from that?
Since the days and nights *are* long, and I was almost entirely alone for those first three months of the pandemic, I turned to some “happier” genres, hoping to keep my spirits up and my mind occupied any time I wasn’t working.
I must say that the mysteries Once You Go This Far and In a Midnight Wood knocked my socks off. The first is the fourth book in Goldie-award-winning Kristen Lepionka’s series. The latter is from Ellen Hart’s enduring Jane Lawless series, which Hart has written over a period of thirty years and for which she has won both mainstream and lesbian awards right and left, not to mention the MWA Grand Master Award. Hart is the first out lesbian to ever be so honored, and it’s great to see her continue to write such good books. But alas, the pages ended far too soon.
After a time, I grew weary of mystery and murders and needed a change of pace. In the Distance There is Light and the Gothic Victorian-style romance Harkworth Hall were terrific, but the days were long, and again, the pages ended too soon. I grabbed up Jazzy Mitchell’s You Matter, and that kept me occupied for a while. I was delighted when one of my very favorite authors, Jane Fletcher, came out with Silver Ravens, a novel that has a plot set mostly in the Otherworld (and the main character is named Lori, so that was kind of cool).
I moved on to read Alone, and it was a very short step from there to the romantic post-apocalyptic Survival Instincts and KC Luck’s Darkness Trilogy. In 2018, I had read the first book in the Graskey/Curry action and adventure Sanctuary Series, and I’d bought the second installment at the last in-person GCLS Conference in 2019. Despite the fact that I’d sworn to myself I wouldn’t embark upon the journey through Book II until Book III was available, I couldn’t help myself. (Bad Lori!) Next thing I knew, I was left on a cliffhanger, waiting impatiently for the next book. (Note to Self: Be more patient!)
I’ve been keeping track of the books I read each year since 1986. My previous high count was 194. Is it a coincidence all that reading happened back in 2008 when the economy went right into the freefall dumper after the bank and credit crisis? I’ve already surpassed my old record, and there is still quite a bit of year left, so I’m pretty sure this crisis is even worse than the last.
I’ll probably never grow tired of reading – but I must admit I AM tired of sitting on my butt. I need to get out and about more, exercise, visit others in a socially distant manner, get accustomed to wearing those icky masks. But I’m lucky to always have books to return to any time I need a break from reality.
When the days and nights are long, what are all of you reading? Have you got any suggestions for me? The days and nights are long, and I need all the books I can get!