Honors Department Director Jeremy Cohan recently discovered a reading list from Damage magazine that he really liked, and he sent it along for me to post here. Titled “Pinned to a Rock, Alone: The Coronavirus Reading List,” the magazine provides the following introduction:
In 2020, Damage will feature periodic reviews from writer Sam Kriss. The first installment covers quarantine favorites.
The tales in this list are not Great Books to finally get around to, now you have so much time. Some of them are long, but others are short, very short. These are not achievements to tick off your list, so you’re still productive while you’re self-isolating, so this enormous hush descending on the world doesn’t stop you Achieving Your Goals. If that’s what you’re after, you might as well just give up now rather than later, and just binge-watch something on Netflix like everyone else. These are not stories to distract you from your isolation, to make it pass quicker, to make you feel better, to nourish your soul during the uncertain months ahead. Literature is not therapy, and putting a bird-feeder on your window will achieve all those things better than any book ever could. These are books that lengthen the silence in things.
Entries include works by Aeschylus, William Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and J.G. Ballard, among others. You can see the full list here: