What is essential in a pandemic? Our correspondents in Central and Eastern Europe recommend these books, films, and other works of art.
–Jessie Labov, Hungary
Giorgio Agamben’s State of Exception. Even though he has gone off the deep end and claimed at the beginning of this global health emergency that COVID-19 was a hoax and a conspiracy cooked up by governments in order to wield exceptional power. Yes, even though Agamben recently said those insane things, his book about the post-9/11 world is still very relevant and important to today’s reality. See: “Giorgio Agamben’s Coronavirus Cluelessness”
–Emma Pratt, Georgia
I can’t dazzle you with my intellect with my answer to this question, because I haven’t had the bandwidth for academic or intellectual reading. I tried to start Red Famine by Anne Applebaum when I returned from my trip to Ukraine, but I found it too emotional right now. The most fitting book I’ve read during this time has been Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory. It strikes the balance between being light and fun and reminiscent of better times, without being overly frivolous or silly.
–Ann Merrill, Ukraine
Мої Думки Тихі (My Thoughts Are Silent), a quirky, lovely, funny Ukrainian independent film released earlier this year. It’s available online in Ukrainian with Russian subtitles. The scenery is gorgeous, and anyone who’s taken a road trip in Western Ukraine will find many familiar sights.
–Jesse Smeal, Italy
Influenza 1918 – PBS film on the 1918 Pandemic. Very relevant to today’s crisis.
–Conrad Rinto, Hungary
Luckily, prior to the pandemic I had ordered Eric Hobsbawm’s The Age of series. He is an author that I had discovered in Professor Dragostinova’s “Nations and Nationalism” course at Ohio State. Additionally, I am re-reading Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series because when in Hungary why not read an alternative history series on Dracula.
– Lyudmila Skryabina, Russia
It seems to me that during the pandemic we should read those things we’ve been unable to find time for. And watch as many comedies as possible!
<<Next Monday, May 18, our participants will be sharing their go-to comfort food recipes!