So Many Damn Books on Pandemic Fiction
Back in the Saddle From the Damn Library (Kind Of)
We’re back! Kind of. The guys finally sort out Zoom (and other things) in order to bring you the very first episode of So Many Damn Books where Christopher and Drew aren’t actually in a Damn Library together. The resulting episode is probably the closest to what it’s actually like to hang out with them when the microphones are off. How books are providing comfort, project reading, Stephen King, audiobooks, and culling shelves all get touched on, along with lots of other bookish subjects.
What’d You Buy?
Pandemic fiction comes to life—but one particular book feels most interestingly accurate:
Christopher: It’s a nightmare. You’d think with all the fiction we read about basically this exactly, we would be better prepared but I think because it’s been such a mainstay of fiction in recent years, I felt like it was always going to be fiction, it would never be reality.
Drew: Well, that was also the hope. A) it’s been a mainstay of fiction but B) you’d think that we are more advanced than we were a hundred years ago—so it was the hope that it was in fiction because we want to explore the improbable possibility of this. By the way, you know whose book wasn’t getting mentioned in all of the initial pandemic reads roundups? It’s the one that, as I think about it, feels like it was the most accurate in terms of depicting what it feels like right now… is Laura van den Berg’s Find Me. That book, I remember talking to her about it when she was on the show, and the fact that her plague is not a 99%-of-the-population one… I think in the book it’s like 400k people die? And where we’re suddenly staring down a number like that…
Christopher: That’s interesting, I didn’t really think about her number of affected as being lower. I think that’s really interesting to explore, that idea that there are people this won’t touch, there’s nothing that would ever put them in contact with it. It’s all too relevant.
What’ve ya been reading?:
Christopher: The Mists of Avalon, memoirs read by the people who wrote them (as audiobooks).
Drew: Lots of John le Carré, Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, Terry Pratchett.
Audio stories or not?:
Drew: I feel like if I miss something, doing the dishes or not fully engaged in the story, I feel like I can still glom along because of the nature of roleplaying games and storytelling in that style—but so often when I’m reading an audiobook, if I miss something, I often feel “oh, fuck, the sentences! that these people worked on!”
Christopher: I understand what you’re saying but I love someone giving me the rhythm of a sentence and I am really loving, of course, memoirs read by the person who wrote them. I just listened to How Not to Be a Boy by Robert Webb, one half of Peep Show, one of the best British sitcoms ever—and I’ve listened to David Mitchell’s Back Story. But I can see what you’re saying, although I think I skim more than I think I do and I skate across sentences when I’m reading and I think that your brain is doing a similar thing while you’re listening.
Drew: Oh that’s interesting!
Christopher: I am always happier to have both a print and an audio copy, because there are things I’d like to look and see how they put it on a page.
This Episode’s Recommendations: