Good Reads in Hard Times

A Good Story Can Remind Us Of Our Shared Human Experience and Ability to Overcome

I’ve been in a neighborhood book club for more than 12 years. In this time, we’ve met in person  about every six weeks. 

We were supposed to meet for our most current book selection, “Beneath A Scarlet Sky” by Mark Sullivan, in early April. And like so many around the world, we had to adjust our plans and meet on video chat, rather than in person.

“Beneath a Scarlet Sky” is a novel based on the true story of an Italian Resistance spy who works as a driver for a Nazi general during World War II.

I started reading this novel at the beginning of our country’s coronavirus outbreak. With more free time on my hands than normal, I set out to finish in record time but kept getting sidetracked by the continuous flow of often-fear-inducing news stories about our current pandemic. How could this virus be affecting all of our lives in such real-yet-surreal, devastating ways?

And then, in reading this beautiful story about a courageous young man from Italy, I was struck by how people all over the world, at all times in history, have gone through hard, scary times. And they have found the courage to survive.

And that’s the beauty of a good story. It can be a timely reminder of our shared human experience and be a great example of how to move forward triumphantly.

1. “Beneath a Scarlet Sky,” by Mark Sullivan. 2. “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. In homage to all eighth-graders everywhere, doing school from home. 3."Glass Half Full" by Caro Feely. 4. "Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Year Old" by Peter de Smet.

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