• Hayley Zablotsky

Your COVID Reading List [sort of]

If you know me, you know I love irony. But it turns out, I don't appreciate being the butt of the joke. Here's my beef:

In normal times, all I ever want to do is stay home. Putting on real pants is a tremendous effort. The sofa has become my dearest friend, especially now that I'm approaching the listless wasteland of my mid-twenties. I adore my non-furniture friends [love you SO MUCH, my non-furniture friends], but going out can still be such a chore. Thankfully, my non-furniture friends are also falling in love with furniture, so we still hang out. We are all potatoes together, and it's generally wonderful.

My friend's dog Fuzzy, who speaks for all of us.

Okay, but here's the kicker.

NOW THAT STAYING HOME LITERALLY SAVES LIVES, I don't want to. Not because I don't want to save lives [in fact, I've never felt so good about myself for sitting on my sofa], but because... the grass is always greener? We always want what we can't have? Now that I can't go out, I want to go out. Now that I don't need to wear pants, I want to wear pants. I mean, what kind of sick joke is this?

Anyway. What I'm really here to talk about is a great staying-home-sans-pants activity: reading. See? My blog is literary and educational. So let's dive in.

My Top 5 list of things you should read

1. That Penguin Classic novel you've been telling people you love but actually you don't remember.

Or maybe you never read it in the first place, but you were an English major so you never want to admit it to anyone because then people might think you are a failure as a serious writer [and, in fact, as a person] and of course your ego is extremely fragile since you do consider yourself to be a serious writer [and, in fact, person], so you just go around smiling and nodding and pretending to have read all the classic literature ever.

That's just one arbitrary example.

It might be War and Peace. It might be Moby Dick. Or maybe it's East of Eden. Now is your chance to take a big bite of literary meat so you can pretentiously back up your "wow, it changed my life" schtick next time somebody asks about your favorite book.

If you're lucky, you might even fall asleep every time you try to read the literature and hopefully not wake up until the pandemic is over.

Oh my god, did she just imply that classic literature is boring? Oh my god.

It's not always boring. Calm down. I'm just saying. Sometimes it is, and you're allowed to think so.

[I'm not allowed to think so, as I was an English major. But off the record, I think so.]

2. Trashy romance novels.

If you're like me, you don't live with a significant other. Which means that, right now, it's literally illegal [basically] to get any sort of action whatsoever. Unless you're into standing six feet apart wearing masks and waving [and if you are, more power to you].

In spite of this, there's been a recent onslaught of timely pick-up lines to be delivered from at least six feet away:

Hey, if coronavirus doesn't take you out, can I?

You can't spell virus without U and I.

Baby, do you need toilet paper? Because I can be your Prince Charmin.

Here is the only one I like:

Hey, I saw you from across the bar. Stay there.

I like how hostile it is.

Anyway, maybe reading a romance novel will help. Or maybe it won't. It might just remind you that you're alone. And, in my case, that it isn't Christmas.

Dug up this little beauty while cleaning the house.

Also, romance novels might infuriate you with their total disregard for science i.e. apparently, male refractory periods didn't exist in Regency-era England among the somewhat disgraced nobility. Those dukes just don't quit.

But who needs science? In fact, a total disregard for science is still happening TODAY! In real time! All over the country! So at least your scientific and well-informed outrage will be consistent and relevant across time and space.

3. Your emails.

17,894 unread emails is unacceptable. Handle that.

4. Recipes

Here are some comforting phrases you might find in recipes. They will bring you peace and warmth.

- 3 sticks of butter

- Bubbly golden brown

- Chives and cracked pepper

- Cinnamon streusel

- Crusty bread

- Generous layer of cheese

- Lemon glaze

- Hearty lentils

- Bright crunchy veggies

- Creamy pesto

- Large chunks of potato

Don't you feel better already? If you're inspired by the phrases, think what could happen if you actually made the recipes.

I, for instance, recently made a risotto that changed my life. You, too, could make such a risotto.

Life-changing risotto. Look at the cheese strings.

5. Alternatively, don't read any of these things

Read yourself. Take care of yourself. If that doesn't involve reading right now, cool. If that doesn't involve anything except shlupping around the house, eating dried Cheerios from the box, crying on the floor, finding crushed Cheerios in your bra, and Facetiming your grandparents, that's cool too.

Oh and speaking of your grandparents, check in with them and all the rest of your loved ones.

Otherwise, enjoy your pants-less life. Or put on some pants and feel like the most put-together person in the universe. For all we know, you might be.

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© 2020 Hayley Zablotsky

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