Editor’s Note: It’s a good time to read – we’ve a deep need to feel connected, need something to do when everything’s closed, or perhaps just require distraction from anxiety and fear. So we’re asking Mainers to tell us, in their own words, what they’re reading during these pandemic times and why. This week we bring you writer PAUL DOIRON, whose most recent book is “One Last Lie.”

“You don’t start writing murder mysteries unless you have a morbid imagination. And I’ve always been a history buff – as is the protagonist of my novels. What Maine game warden Mike Bowditch and I are both reading during the lockdown is an account of the world’s most apocalyptic pandemic, the Black Death of 1346-51 that may have killed 60 percent of the people of Europe. Ironically, for all its horrors, I’ve found that “The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time” by John Kelly has helped give our current situation a better sense of proportion. Things could be – and have been – much, much worse.

At the same time, some of Kelly’s sentences sound like they were written about the events we’re now living through. He quotes Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio: “A great many people died who would perhaps have survived had they received some assistance.” But he also observes, “Even when death was everywhere and only a fool would dare to hope, the thin fabric of civilization held – sometimes by the skin of its teeth, but it held…. Even in the most extreme and horrific of circumstances, people carry on.”


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