Unmask Thyself! & A Summer Reading Project


The CDC has issued an Unmask Thyself mandate. We the Vaccinated are encouraged to go wherever we want, indoors and outdoors, without masks. We are relieved to have “vaccine privileges,” and hope this summer will be less confrontational than last. But the truth is we’re a little confused: we don’t feel entirely comfortable without masks in stores. And we LOVE social distancing – the perfect excuse for rudeness. But perhaps more people will get vaccinated when they see there is a reason for it: freedom.

And should we decide to attend a superspreader oldies concert featuring The Turtles, the Association, the Cowsills, Mark Lindsay, Chuck Negron, and The Vogues, we need not worry about “unvaccinated spit” mingling with ours and contaminating us. That will be their problem!

SUMMER IS COMING UP FAST. What is your summer reading project? Of course you’re doing the 20 Books of Summer! I am doing the Two Books of Summer.

Last year it was Dumas’s The Vicomte of Bragelonne, one of the d’Artagnan Romances, which I moderately enjoyed before losing the book. Well, I found it again, and since one plot element does not necessarily lead to the next in this rambling historical novel, I shall happily start on the bookmarked page, 300something. The Oxford edition has a detailed historical character list and excellent notes. I rely on it for background.

I also intend to pick up Hermann Broch’s The Death of Virgil for the fifth or sixth time. Is it actually a classic? It certainly isn’t “pop.” Virgil is sick and dying, he arrives at Brundisium and is carried on a litter through the city, and he ogles a boy. That is the first hundred pages. For four or five summers, I tried again and quit again on page 100. This year I have decided to start on page 100. My husband is keeping The Death of Virgil on a special shelf, so I will not have the “opportunity” to lose the book. Perhaps one hundred pages a summer?

Tell me your summer plans. I’m begging you! The 20 Books of Summer – and what else?