My last appearance was on February 22, 2020, a few weeks before the coronavirus pandemic hit and we all started staying home. I was the Keynote Speaker at an event for a group of moms of teenagers. I spoke about my life, my writing, and my nonfiction book, All the Above: My Son’s Battle With Brain Cancer.
Ironically, the official topic of the day was “Self-Care,” which is something we all need to practice right now, physically, mentally and spiritually. I touched on all three in my speech. Now that we are in a new normal for the time being – and we don’t know how long it will last – we are all looking for ways to handle stress, and to nurture and care for ourselves.
One thing we can do for our mental health, besides getting outside and exercising when possible, is to read. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to work from home are adjusting to our new schedules. At least we don’t have a commute now, and we’re not stuck in traffic, so we might have a little extra time.
Using that time to escape into the world of a book is a great way to care for ourselves, and to navigate the troubled waters we are now in. It’s a great time to read more digital copies and less printed ones. So load up your Kindle!
My to-read list for 2020 includes the following (and I’ve read the first two):
1. Educated, the best-selling memoir by Tara Westover, which I borrowed from the library and returned the last day it was open.
2. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, a heartfelt story set in Sweden and an international bestseller. I borrowed a paperback copy from my daughter.
3. Bruno, Chief of Police, by Martin Walker, a mystery set in France recommended by a French friend who lives in Atlanta
4. Mastering the Art of French Eating, by Ann Mah
5. All Those Things We Never Said, by Marc Levy
6. A Woman Like Her, also by Levy
Numbers 3-6 were already on my Kindle, and I have the last one in French in paperback –
7. Une Fille Comme Elle and I plan to read it, too.
8. Also in French, Les Raisins de la Colère (The Grapes of Wrath) – I bought it in Lyon, France at a bookstore there last fall.
9. The Fifteen Percent: Overcoming Hardships and Achieving Lasting Success, by Terry Giles, a gift from Chateau Eza in the south of France, where my husband and I stayed last fall.
10. And finally, on request at the library when it reopens, Talking to Strangers – What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know, by Malcolm Gladwell, a favorite nonfiction author. I’ve already read (on Kindle) his other books:
In addition to reading (and binge-watching television series), I’ve been doing a lot more writing lately. My next novel is a psychological suspense set in the 1990s in the Midwest, and it’s tentatively titled What You Don’t Know. The tag line is: What you don’t know won’t just hurt you, it might even kill you.
Next week, on April 9, 2020, from 4:00 to 4:30, I’ll appear on UIMedia with MezzaLive host Jackie Grund to talk about it and answer her questions. Until then, take care of yourselves and your loved ones.
Look for all of my books on Kindle, and find links to them on my website, juliamcdermottbooks.