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Pestilence

9 Aug

At the end of the 15th century, Albrecht Dürer created his third and most famous woodcut in a series of illustrations for The Apocalypse, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It presents a dramatically distilled version of the passage from the Book of Revelation (6:1–8), and shows, from left to right, Death, Famine, War, and Plague (or Pestilence)

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Ah, pestilence!

I just finished two books each dealing with a form of pestilence. The first, was Katherine Howe’s Conversion.

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People either seem to love or hate this book. I loved it and read it straight through in one day. The girls at St Joan’s School in Danvers, MA are experiencing a mysterious illness. As the affliction spreads, the news media descend and people are looking for explanations and someone, or something, to blame. Howe deftly alternates this story with the story of the Salem witch trials, and weaves in Arthur Miller’s  The Crucible.

A Death-Struck Year, the debut novel of Makiia Lucier, is set in Portland, OR during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

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Although it doesn’t have the depth of Cat Winters’  In the Shadow of  Blackbirds, this book is still worth reading. And, Lucier’s website has some very cool resources, including photos and a discussion guide.

While Cleo is staying at a boarding school because her family is out of town, the Spanish flu arrives in Portland. Schools are closed and  Cleo is told to stay until her brother can pick her up. Not wanting to wait, she sneaks out and returns home where she lives alone for the first time ever. She volunteers with the Red Cross, risking everything for strangers.

Both were great reads that I think you will enjoy. I have another one on hold:

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I’ll let you know how it goes.

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