The whole world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and most places have also experienced some form of lockdown. Coping mechanisms have been varied: people have chosen to spend their time picking up new hobbies, steadily working through everything their streaming service of choice has to offer, doomscrolling through social media, or learning how to cook. Some people have chosen to put pen to paper (or fingertips to keys) and write – about their own experiences, about the experiences of frontline workers, even about how beloved characters would be handling the pandemic. This list is made up of nine books about life during COVID-19, and includes the experiences of doctors, writers, artists, and children.
Duty of Care by Dominic Pimenta
This is a nonfiction account of a doctor’s experiences working in a National Health Service (NHS) ICU ward during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and much of the book focuses on the events that occurred in March and April of 2020. It provides some great insights into the struggles that the NHS faced at the beginning of the pandemic, which only worsened as the case count climbed.
COVID Chronicles by Ethan Sacks, Dalibor Talajić, and Lee Loughridge
This is an illustrated compilation of ten personal accounts of people on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic during early 2020. These comics were initially developed for the NBC News website and the stories within range from a young London-based man whose two-week holiday stretched to four months to a medic desperately trying to help people injured during the Black Lives Matter protests.
Alone Together Edited by Jennifer Haupt
This is a mixed anthology that includes poems, essays, and interviews from contributors all over the USA. The contributions in this book all fall under one of five main sections: What Now?, Grieve, Comfort, Connect, And Don’t Stop. Over 50 different authors all responded to the question of how the limited contact and uncertainty of this time is impacting individuals and the broader society we all belong to.
Vic Lee’s Corona Diary by Vic Lee
This is a personal diary made up of 45 murals that include Lee’s personal recollections of the first six months of the pandemic, starting from the first outbreak in Wuhan. It focuses heavily on March to June of 2020, but there is an epilogue that spans July to September. This diary includes news, witty observations and a little bit of comedy though it doesn’t shy away from the lives that have been lost or the social impact of the pandemic.
Women of the Pandemic by Lauren McKeon
This is a collection of stories written by Canadian women about the way they have experienced and been affected by the pandemic, focusing on moments of leadership and resilience. This collection features stories from scientists, doctors, nurses, charity workers, parents, and PSWs (caregivers). This book focuses specifically on the struggles that women have been facing, including the often-unmentioned fact that women are often disproportionately responsible for the additional labor of house chores and childcare – both of which have substantially increased.
And We Came Outside and Saw the Stars Again Edited by Ilan Stavans
This is an international anthology that collects stories from writers and artists in dozens of countries, all answering the question of what life during the pandemic has looked like for them. The answers range from working grueling shifts in an emergency room to trying to soothe a child’s fears. This anthology is intended to be a snapshot that preserves the emotions of the present as a record for the future.
COVID Chronicles Edited by Kendra Boileau and Rich Johnson
This is a graphic novel containing 60 short comics that cover the frighteningly large number of newsworthy events that occurred in 2020, including the heavily memed toilet paper shortage, the fear that the beginning of social distancing created, the strangeness of trying to virtually celebrate events, and the horror of not being able to see a loved one who is about to pass away from the virus.
Lockdown Life by Daniella Blechner
This is a deliberately light look at the pandemic, written for anyone who needs to be able to focus on a silver lining amongst the clouds. This book is made up of three distinct sections: ‘Lockdown Personalities’, ‘Lockdown Activities’, and ‘Lockdown Lessons’. This is part memoir, part lockdown-specific self-help book that is determined to find the good things in the world as it currently is to act as a counter to the stress and worry.
Coronavirus by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson, Nia Roberts, Axel Scheffler
This picture book is intended to be a resource for parents to help them teach their children about COVID-19 and what they need to do to keep safe. Teachers, psychologists, and a professor from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine consulted on the creation of this book which also goes into the emotions that children might currently be feeling and how to healthily cope with them.