Reading during a pandemic can feel like a lifeline or leaking boat, depending upon what we’re reading and where we’re anchoring our sense of safety. For me, reading (even badly written opinion pieces that pass themselves off as fact) is one of my primary sources of meaningful perspective – at least I know what we’re up against along the intellectual divide when I read pseudo-journalism and its fear-based pieces that often read like SNL parodies of Naomi Klein’s terrifying predictions in The Shock Doctrine.
Omnivorous reading along with the kinesthetic pleasures of learning by doing have increased in value as I age. Some things, of course, I am unable to learn by doing. One of these, delivering a child taken from her German parents by Kiowa, and then taken a second time from her Kiowa people by the army to be returned to her remaining relatives, all before her eleventh birthday, is one experiential adventure impossible for me to know first hand. This child’s story, unfolding as it does in the wilds of Texas soon after the conclusion of the civil war – a lawless and terrifying time by all accounts – adds to my relief in learning of the narrative’s twists and dangerous turns through reading rather than through experience.