The_Persistence_of_Memory.jpgThe subject has come up in several venues and I found it a useful exercise to consider all the things one might engage in to pass the time while living in isolation from the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.

First, I have a literary bucket list gathering many of those big fat, possibly difficult books I know I should read but never seem to have the time or the inclination. Do you have a bucket list too? Maybe now is a good time to start one. There’s a good chance that, despite all his best efforts, Der Drump (Dishonest John) will not kill us all off and we might truly make a dent in that scary ol’ bucket list.

So what to do while avoiding social contact?

Read a big fat important book you might never have enough time for in the future. Consider these titles:

  • The Anatomy of Melancholy — Robert Burton
  • Bleak House — Charles Dickens
  • Nicolas Nickelby — Charles Dickens
  • Middlemarch — George Eliot
  • images-1The Good Soldier Svejk — Jaroslav Hasek
  • Ulysses — James Joyce
  • Finnegans Wake — James Joyce
  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom — T. E. Lawrence
  • Harlot’s Ghost — Norman Mailer
  • The Executioner’s Song — Norman Mailer
  • The Magic Mountain — Thomas Mann
  • Joseph and His Brothers — Thomas Mann
  • Women and Men — Joseph McElroy
  • A Man Without Qualities — Robert Musil
  • A Glastonbury Romance — John Cowper Powys
  • Gargantua and Pantagruel — Francois Rabelais
  • Pamela — Samuel Richardson
  • Clarissa Harlowe -or- The History of a Young Lady — Samuel Richardson
  • A Suitable Boy — Vikram Seth
  • The Tale of Genji.

Gorge on a fun mystery series (or suspense or spy or even speculative fiction). Try these:

  • Dune series by Frank Herbert
  • Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie
  • Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake
  • download.jpgThe V. I. Warshawski series by Sara Paretsky
  • A la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust
  • The Foundation series by Issac Asimov
  • Spenser series by Robert B. Parker
  • The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
  • The Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson
  • The Yoknapatawpha County saga by William Faulkner
  • Commedia by Dante Alighieri
  • The Maigret series by Georges Simenon
  • The Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • A Dance To the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
  • The Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly

Catch up on the great films available on the internet (Criterion, Netflix, Amazon, wherever). Here’s a few:

  • Dr. Strangelove, or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned To Love the Bomb
  • Mustang
  • cityThe Grifters
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  • The Apu Trilogy
  • The Decline of Western Civilization
  • Under the Volcano
  • Fitzcarraldo
  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
  • The Woman in the Dunes

  • War and Peace
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • America America
  • Blue Is the Warmest Color
  • City of Lost Children
  • Momento
  • Cannibal Women In the Avocado Jungle of Death

Or maybe an orgy of cable television with series like:

  • The Sopranos
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • images30 Rock
  • Dawson’s Creek
  • The L Word
  • Arrested Development
  • Are You Being Served?
  • Breaking Bad
  • Glow
  • Bosch
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Unbelievable
  • Prime Suspect
  • PeeWee’s Playhouse

I could keep going with operas, podcasts, ant farms, cloud formations, role-playing games, dress-up, ukulele strumming, cooking, the proverbial organizing of the sock drawer, toilet paper diaries, and rodent identification. Then there’s always Mumblety-peg.



2 responses

  1. I am reading Lonesome Dove and my wife is reading Executioner’s Song for our extended Spring Break reading.


    • I read Lonesome Dove when it came out (Imus recommended it) but now since it’s part of a continuing series I think I’ve fallen behind. Executioner’s Song is on my read-soon list (just got a digital version since the physical book was a doorstop). Now that we all have Time it’s good to see you’re reading those Big Fat Books.


What are your thoughts on this?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: