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When The Going Gets Weird

What? Me Worry? (Airport Selfie of the author on the way to California.)

The world has turned really weird, and we’re each living in our own particular version of that.

My own weird reality is that I was suddenly called upon to drop everything and fly to California.

At 65, I am in a high risk Covid category. The thought of flying across the country in the middle of a pandemic terrified me. But it was something I had to do.

I quickly threw the bare essentials into a suitcase. Clothing. A toothbrush. Cash. My meds. Extra reading glasses. A couple of pounds of Starbucks French Roast coffee.

And? At the last minute, I decided to bring along a copy of Straight Man by Richard Russo.

Straight Man, a comic novel about academia, is my favorite book. It’s smart and funny, my two basic requirements for a good read. (And, for that matter, for a good friend.)

I’ve re-read it half a dozen times. And I was packing light. Did it make any sense to schlep a hardcover across the country? One that I’d already read?

As it turns out? Yes.

Sitting on the plane, apprehensive about catching Covid, surrounded by people who were also apprehensive about catching Covid, reading that book took me right out of my reality.

I wasn’t sitting on the edge of my airplane seat, terrified that I could catch Covid from an air vent or an armrest. I was in a college town in rural Pennsylvania, enjoying the company of the smartass narrator.

And that’s the blessing of a good read. When you’re absorbed in a book, you’ve left reality behind. You are in that book.

Did escaping into the world Richard Russo had created help get me through that dicey experience?

You bet it did.

We’re all going to need a lot to get us through these challenging times. I’m here to remind you that a reliable read can help.

When the going gets weird and you really need a break? Try hiding out in your favorite book.

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About The Author
Roz Warren
Roz Warren
Roz Warren writes for everyone from the Funny Times to the New York Times and has appeared on both the Today Show and Morning Edition. Roz is the author of Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection Of Library Humor and Just Another Day At Your Local Public Library, and the editor of the ground-breaking Womens’ Glib humor collections, including titles like When Cats Talk Back and Men Are From Detroit, Women Are From Paris. She also curates the "Library Laughs" page on Facebook. Her work has been included in 10 Chicken Soup for the Soul collections. Roz Warren writes for everyone from the Funny Times to the New York Times and has been featured on both Morning Edition and the Today Show. Visit for more details.
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