COVID19 Reading

Books & The Passage of Time

June 16, 2022

I have read 2 books this month which rank among my favorites EVER: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai and this one which I read in 3 days (it’s very readable and not long):

Themes: time travel, the nature of life, timeless truths, family relationships, gender inequality, pandemics. There were many references to characters and scenes in her prior works, The Glass Hotel and Station Eleven. I thoroughly enjoyed all 3 — actually I’m not sure which was my favorite. Sort of like my children – they were all different but special in their own ways!

Emily St. John Mandel is someone whose books I will preorder and look forward to. (Other novelists I have felt that way about in the past? Haruki Murakami, esp in my late 20s/early 30s. And also Liane Moriarty! I still love her stuff.)

Anyway, this has been a fantastic reading month so far! Up next is French Braid by Anne Tyler (SIDE NOTE: I believe the last Anne Tyler book I read was Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant which was assigned as summer reading before 9th grade!!! 14 year old me liked it . . .). As much as I prefer physical books I have succumbed to the reality of digital as easier to deal with in the kids’ rooms while they are falling asleep. Thankfully I am talented at completely ignoring G’s Headspace Sleep Story as it plays . . . .


I am sooooooo behind on work! Hopefully today will be a massive catchup day. I have a relatively open afternoon and plan on chugging through work email AND working on planning orientation which is somehow starting on Monday.

(I keep getting disoriented in time. Like, isn’t today June 5th or something!? HOW are we halfway through the month already? HOW do A&C leave for camp in 10 days? AHH! They have started reminded me of the countdown so I guess that is helping.)

Also, I started watching some videos from March – June 2020. Those were some wild times . . . maybe I will finally be ready to create our 2020 family photo album. I suppose.

March 2020. OMG. Forgot I basically had a baby (she was 2 but still.)


  • Reply Geralis June 16, 2022 at 9:10 am

    I’ve been a reader and listener for awhile. I finished this book last night while nursing. Really enjoyed it as well. The Glass Hotel is one of my favourites. Might try French Braid next and follow along with you.

  • Reply Katherine B June 16, 2022 at 9:32 am

    As you like Liane Moriarty, you might be interested in an interview with her on the brilliant BBC podcast “Fortunately” which you can find on BBC Sounds. This was last week’s episode. It is a great feminist, very British podcast, very funny at times and I am gradually listening to the 5 year or so backlist as well as current episodes. I’ve never read anything by Liane Moriarty but having listened to the podcast will be checking her latest out. Thank you for your recommendations too.

  • Reply Alyssa June 16, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    Would you recommend reading The Glass Hotel and/or Station Eleven before reading Sea of Tranquility? I haven’t read any of her work before but looking to dive in! Thanks 🙂

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 16, 2022 at 1:14 pm

      I would say you don’t NEED to but I was glad I did if that makes sense! Especially the glass

  • Reply Miau June 16, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks to your praise of Station Eleven when it came out, I have now read all but one book by the author and loved them all. So I would totally recommend reading St John Mandel’s books that were published before Station Eleven.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 16, 2022 at 2:50 pm

      I need to read the Lola Quartet!

  • Reply Elisabeth June 16, 2022 at 1:53 pm

    I read French Braid earlier this year and LOVED it. Hope you do, too! I’ve not read any Emily St. John Mandel, but often see her work mentioned on Modern Mrs Darcy. Guess it’s time I dive in with Station Eleven!

  • Reply Erica Sparky June 16, 2022 at 2:37 pm

    I have been putting off the 2020 photo album. I started by making an album of a vacation we took in Jan 2020 and then I got kind of sad and well, haven’t revisited! I need to read The Glass Hotel (and Sea of Tranquility). I loved Station Eleven but I read it well before Covid so … 🙂 I love books about time travel, timeless truths, etc.

  • Reply Elisabeth June 16, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    I really enjoyed Station Eleven, but haven’t read any of her others. I’ve heard some really great feedback about both of the next books, though, and should just take the plunge and order them already!

  • Reply Katie June 16, 2022 at 8:23 pm

    What Murakami book would you recommend to someone new to his work?

    • Reply Amy June 16, 2022 at 9:24 pm

      Seconding this question!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 17, 2022 at 7:03 am

      Either Norwegian Wood, or my favorite which is Wind-Up Bird Chronicle! They are WEIRD but oddly peaceful and meditative books. hope you enjoy!

      • Reply Amy June 17, 2022 at 9:24 pm


      • Reply Katie June 21, 2022 at 11:24 pm

        Thanks, Sarah!

  • Reply Sarah Jedd June 20, 2022 at 10:43 pm

    I love both of those books and French Braid, too. My mom was WAY into Anne Tyler when I was a kid, but I didn’t love her until later life. A Spool of Blue Thread is fantastic.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 21, 2022 at 5:42 am

      I really liked French Braid! It was a slow burn for me but the character development was just fantastic and I liked that there was no tidy ending (it fit the title so well!).

  • Reply Heather June 28, 2022 at 9:15 am

    The Great Believers is definitely in my top few books read ever. I thought it was such an incredible, sad, curious, bittersweet story. Sea of Tranquility is up soon on my library list!

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