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Guest: Author Drema Drudge on “Reading in the Time of the Coronavirus”

Today I have Author Drēma Drudge on my Blog as she talks about a very interesting subject as we suffer from the pandemic virus!

Oh, don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY of her Historical Fiction happening on my Instagram.


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Reading in the Time of the Coronavirus

During these uncertain times while the world tries to contain and heal from the worldwide sweep of Coronavirus, we are all likely to be asked to stay inside at some point. We’ve already been asked to limit our travel, our contact with others, especially the physically vulnerable.

Sure, we all have a Netflix cue to catch up on, but what about when that dulls our sense? What better time to read?

Reading transports us. It helps us forget about things that frighten us, whether only a little or something that scares us more deeply: Will we be okay? What about our family?  It helps us pass the time until life returns (we hope) to something more predictable and routine. It’s only during these times that we learn to value the mundane lives as we’ve known them.

Whether we choose escapist literature (totally understandable) or something that causes our souls to grow, reading is an excellent strategy for weathering the coming days. Holding a book in our hands, turning the pages, gives us something to grasp besides our worries.

My forthcoming novel, Victorine, about Edouard Manet’s favorite model who, history has forgotten, was also a talented painter whose works are just now being rediscovered after they were believed to be lost, deals with, among other things, everyday life during the Siege of Paris in the 1870’s. Due to a scarcity of supplies, food quickly became in short supply. Mouse became a delicacy. Paris even had to slaughter their beloved elephants at their city zoo, Castor and Pollux. (It’s doubtful things will come to that for us.)

But the citizens of Paris had plenty of books and art to sustain them. And, somehow, wine. So read during this time. Read short books. Read long. Read classical novels. Read graphic novels. Just read. It connects us to the world of yesterday and tomorrow.

If you’re really brave, here are a few novels that explore times of wide-spread illness. Remember: this, too, shall pass.

The Plague –  Albert Camus

Year of Wonders: a Novel of the Plague — Geraldine Brooks

The Stand  — Stephen King

Love in the Time of Cholera  — Gabriel García Márquez

Meet the Author

Drēma Drudge suffers from Stendhal’s Syndrome, the condition in which one becomes overwhelmed in the presence of great art. She attended Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program where she learned to transform that intensity into fiction. Her first novel, Victorine, comes out March 2020. For more about her writing, art, and travels, please visit her website,, and sign up for her newsletter.

Her Book: Victorine

Victorine, features Victorine Meurent, a forgotten, accomplished painter who posed nude for Edouard Manet’s most famous, controversial paintings such as Olympia and The Picnic in Paris, paintings heralded as the beginning of modern art. History has forgotten (until now) her paintings, despite the fact that she showed her work at the prestigious Paris Salon multiple times, even one year when her mentor, Manet’s, work was refused.

Her persistent desire in the novel is not to be a model anymore but to be a painter herself, despite being taken advantage of by those in the art world, something which causes her to turn, for a time, to every vice in the Paris underworld, leading her even into the catacombs.

In order to live authentically, she eventually finds the strength to flout the expectations of her parents, bourgeois society, and the dominant male artists (whom she knows personally) while never losing her capacity for affection, kindness, and loyalty. Possessing both the incisive mind of a critic and the intuitive and unconventional impulses of an artist, Victorine and her survival instincts are tested in 1870, when the Prussian army lays siege to Paris and rat becomes a culinary delicacy, and further tested when she inches towards art school while financial setbacks push her away from it. The same can be said when it comes to her and love, which becomes substituted, eventually, by art.

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