Corona Chronicles: Day 22

Being under quarantine can make it difficult to connect with people outside your home especially if you are enjoying loving up on your family. But I found that it is still important for me to reach out to the other readers. Although overwhelming at first, some aspects of virtual life have proven to be easier to navigate than I thought. Let’s not talk about BlackBoard and Connect right now. I still have a steep learning curve there but never fear –help is on the way. (If only McGraw Hill had capes for their tech support.) But I digress. Back to the books. This week I have found my sanity in the virtual book world. Purchase links for all books mentioned can be found below.

Here are some of the awesome events I have “attended”:

My VLF Virtual Literary Festival

MyVLF is a free online literary event space. It is more than just your everyday book club. Here readers get to explore small presses, attend genre specific festivals and chat live with authors. This past week I had the chance to watch a live interview with Maggie O’Farrell author of Hamnet. Listed on the 2020 Women’s Prize Longlist, this is the story of Shakespeare’s marriage, his wife Agnes and the loss of their son. It has been speculated that this tragedy is the inspiration for Hamlet, one of the Bard’s most famous plays. After seeing this interview with Maggie O’Farrell I am even more motivated to read this book. Release date in the US is July 21, 2020. But those of you who are anxious like me can purchase your copy now through Book Depository.

Bethlehem Area Public Library

Online Reading

BAPL patrons were giving the opportunity to meet acclaimed author Stephanie Powell Watts from the comfort of their couch. Ms. Watts was open and friendly with the audience. She talked about what inspires her stories and characters and described her writing process. In light of most of us living under self imposed quarantine Ms. Watts read stories about what it means to be home from her short story collection No One is Coming to Save Us. Moderated by librarian Kate Racculia, the question and answer session that followed the reading was upbeat and engaging.

In addition to book readings Bethlehem Area Public Library is offering online ESL and language study groups, exercise classes and writing workshops. Check with your local library to see what virtual activities are on their event calendar.

Reading With Family

It’s Not All Downhill From Here by Terry McMillan

From the Blurb: After a sudden change of plans, a remarkable woman and her loyal group of friends try to figure out what she’s going to do with the rest of her life—from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting to Exhale.

My sisters and I are reading It’s Not All Downhill From Here together and discussing it over the phone. It’s a shame it took something like the Covid 19 to get us to do a Buddy Read but so glad that we can connect in this way.

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

From the blurb: A timely and powerful story about a teen girl from a poor neighborhood striving for success.

During the quarantine I have been having my teenage son choose a book to read each week. Each Friday at dinner we discuss the book and go over what he liked about it and what insights he has gained. What he especially liked about Piecing Me Together was that it taught him an aspect of history (Lewis and Clark expedition) from a perspective he never considered before. He learned that sometimes you have to be open give things a chance lest you miss out on an amazing opportunity.

Where to Purchase

Corona Chronicles: Day 21

With all of the uncertainty and confusion that this virus has stirred up I feel as if I need to reset my internal clock and revamp my life. This pandemic is teaching me a lot of things not only about the world and the people in it but about my home, my family and myself.

Lesson #1: As a parent with school age children it is not my job to be their teacher. I am their mother. My role is to be their comfort and their guide. My hovering was only causing all of us more anxiety for all of us and as a result we were getting less accomplished.


Lesson #2: I work best with a clearly defined structure in place and so do my children. I have since implemented a family planner. This outlines when my daughter will be doing each of her learning modules and coordinates Zoom and WebEx meetings so we are not all talking over each other.


Lesson #3: Everyone needs help. Most people are willing to extend a helping hand if only I am humble enough to ask for their support.

Lesson #4: Downtime is important too. All work and no play makes Jack a crazy boy. So far I think our Pandora Remix Outbreak Dance Off was the best mental health break we’ve had.

Lesson #5: My mother used to always follow me around saying K.I.S.S. for Keep It Simple Stupid. It’s only 40 years later and I am finally getting it Mom. Not everything is going to be perfect especially since we are scrambling to get these classes up and running in such a short amount of time. Where usually I would spend 3 hours revamping each and every lesson plan for a new semester we just don’t have that kind of time.

Lesson #6: Collaboration is KEY. My children’s teachers and I are a team. We all have the same end goal in mind and want the best for our students.

Lesson #7: My colleagues are freaking AWESOME! During this time we’ve been networking and pooling our resources. Everyone is working so hard to give our students everything they need to get through this crisis.

Lesson #8: My husband is still a big kid at heart. His comedic efforts have helped to lighten my mood even if they are a distraction from getting work done.

Lesson #9: Self Care is essential. Both Geralyn and I felt better after completing our 3 hr+ long hair care routines. Even though no one else was going to see us we could still see the beauty in ourselves and admire each other.

Photo Credit : Pierre Jean-Louis, Artist

Lesson #10: Sometimes clothes do make the woman. Although it’s easier to loaf around in sweats and comfy slippers I feel more confident and more competent when I am fully dressed to “go to work”. So I’m not burning my bras yet.

Photo Credit: Creative Soul Photography, Atlanta GA