There is zero way to approach a post like this that won’t come off as either insensitive or uncomfortable, and frankly, that’s fine—you can click on out right now. But the reality of the world we live in right now is that more and more states are requiring the use of non-medical masks as we begin to enter public spaces during COVID-19. Wearing a mask doesn’t protect you unless you have a medical-grade type, and unless you work in the medical field, you shouldn’t seek those out. Instead, the point of wearing a cloth mask is to protect others. For many, it is a sign of deep appreciation and consideration for other people.
American culture hasn’t used masks publicly before in the same way other cultures have, and there’s incredible resistance to doing it and to talking about it. There’s been no shortage of space on whether the general population should make their own masks (if you even have the materials) or rely on someone to make them for you for free (dedicating their time and resources) or seeking out one for purchase from a stranger (capitalism doesn’t feel good here, but again, time and resources cost money even in a pandemic). The resources are themselves scant and when orders began coming in that people wear masks in public, it was hard to even buy a mask from someone—orders were canceled or severely delayed because of the demand and the lack of cloth and elastic. This hardly begins to dig into the conversation about how Black people are putting their lives on the line by covering their faces, nor does it scratch the surface of both the science and opinions many have about how people are or are not wearing the masks correctly.
It’s important to do this, and maybe that’s where the conversation for now needs to stand as we suss out the facts from the non-facts. And if we have to do this, one of the ways we can ease the discomfort of it is by at least donning something we enjoy over our chins, mouths, and noses.
For me, it felt weird to buy a mask, let alone wear one. But I don’t have a bandana just lying around the house, nor do I have a sewing machine or skills to make my own. So I sought out a seller on Etsy who had some great fabric and sent them my $15. I had a mask in a week to swap out with the one a local gal made me. It’s uncomfortable to go out in either one, but at least the bright lemon pattern of one reminds me of spring and the vintage floral reminds me that I’m doing this because I want to help protect other people and allow them to enjoy nature, too.
I’ve rounded up a number of book and comics themed masks you can procure. Note that your mileage will vary in terms of availability and speed of shipment, given that more and more people are finding themselves in need. I’ve stuck to Etsy for this, knowing that the bulk of those selling through Etsy are individuals or small businesses offering their skills at this time. I know that as more mandatory orders roll through, we’ll see more businesses add masks to their inventory and even though it’s (sigh) capitalism, that pivot is allowing average people to continue working through this time.
If one of the links below comes up sold out, check the rest of the stock of the shop. Chances are they might have a similar bookish mask fit for your taste.
We’re getting through this at the same time, even though we’re not all necessarily in the same boat. Which is a reminder that when you begin to judge someone’s mask usage, pause for a moment and consider how you got your information about how one is supposed to use them and offer the grace knowing they may not have access to the same information as you—class and access to knowledge and information is a significant hurdle right now, and remembering that is vital.
Wonder Woman comes with adjustable or loose ties, along with a variety of sizes. $15 and up.
This Marvel superheroes mask is made with a filter pocket and you have a few choices in which superheroes will grace your face. $15.
For Winnie the Pooh fans. $17.
A little Batman. $10 and up—and there are a few other comics-themed fabrics to select from.
If you want to go the face shield route, here’s one begging you to keep calm and read. $25.
Hit the books. Comes with a filter slot. $11.
Some old tomes for your face. $16.
How purr-fectly novel! $15.
Spider-Man! Imagine grabbing these for everyone in your household and recreating the Spider-Man meme. $8.
For those who love a good due date card. $13.
This A Little Prince mask is super sweet. $14.
A book lover’s print featuring an array of books and cute plants. $17.
Down the rabbit hole with Alice in Wonderland. $17.
It’s a comics gaiter. Note this shop says they’re made to order, taking anywhere from a week or two to complete. $25.
A gaiter featuring stacks of books. $19.
As of this writing, there are only two of these book genre masks left, so check the shop for restocks if it’s gone. $15.
Cover up with Black Panther. $10 and up.
Any Olivia the Pig fans out there? $15.
Douglas Adams fans: here you go! $27 for the face shield.
Cat + books = keeping your indoor lifestyle vibes while leaving your home. $14.
Books. That’s all. Just books. $12.
If you like Lord of the Rings. $18.
Last, but certainly not least, you might like a Star Trek mask. $18.
Also In This Story Stream
- How the Pandemic Has Changed Our Reading Lives
- Libraries Reopen in COVID-19 Hot Spots: Are Library Staff Being Protected?
- More Bookish and Literary Masks for Your Pandemic Life
- Quaranzines are Popular and Libraries are Noticing
- A New Role for Little Free Libraries
- As Bookstores Reopen, Stores Seek Safe Practices
- Librarians in Phoenix Become Healthcare Workers
- Amid a Pandemic and Information Crisis, FL Library Funding Demolished
- 6 Free Children’s Ebooks on the Coronavirus
- Lockdown Summer: Literary Translation Events Online
- J.K. Rowling Releases Serialized Novel THE ICKABOG
- How Public Libraries Are Handling Summer Reading During COVID-19
- Essential Until We’re Not: An Angry Librarian On the Disregard for Library Staff Safety
- Taika Waititi Leads All-Star Reading of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH to Fund COVID-19 Relief
- 6 Ways to Maximize Your Reading Time During the Pandemic