Life: Stranger than Fiction!

In these very tense times of quarantines, pandemia, and social distancing, here are eight special stories from our library that you can relate to. And if you have such a story, click here and consider telling us - and producers in their home offices! - about it. Also, if you'd like a TaleFlick Pitch Page like the ones we did for some of these stories, click here.

What about a story that includes an airborne March virus that closes schools, cancels all St. Paddy's day parades, has Mexico closing its borders to the USA, and has thousands of inmates being released from prison? Canni, by Daniel O'Connor, is terrifyingly close to home.

Escape in the Winter, by Linda Girgis, a doctor herself, deals with a dystopian future in which the economy has collapsed due to the cost of medical care, and courts of law decide medical treatments. Those with chronic health issues are deemed too great a cost to society to keep alive. A young man targeted for death leads his friends in a daring escape as they run for their lives. Themes that are both heartening and sobering - a great book to reflect on such difficult times.

In times of thinking about the individual as part of a society, Man & Horse, a true story by John Egenes, deals with the true meaning of being alone and contemplate our plans and limitations. In 1974, John and his horse Gizmo crossed America from coast to coast, pushing themselves to the limit - and then going further. The meticulous, calm pace of the book offers detailed looks into John’s musings about the pursuit of happiness and his interactions with others, while offering breathtaking locations throughout the way.

Another “road movie” in the making is Craig Moody’s The ’49 Indian - also a period piece. In 1983, two young men in love ride a motorcycle across the country in search of their Californian dream, but their relationship has to face prejudice, lack of money, and a terrifying new health pandemic. The way they deal with new symptoms and a new world order say a lot about what’s going through our minds right now.

Still talking about health, but mental health, we highly recommend The Theory of Invisibility, by Aimee Pitta. Emme, a young widow, can’t stand living and just wants to disappear after the death of her husband and son – so much that one day, she actually becomes invisible. While making new discoveries and finding love again with Phil, a co-worker who can see her, she must decide if she is going to remain invisible or rejoin the living. The driving metaphorical force of the story is inherently relatable, and very adequate to the moment.

In times of staying in, a timely plot about polarization and divisiveness on the Internet may make you think harder about some issues. In Dustin McKissen’s The Civil War At Home, the suburbs of middle America are the stage for the tale of two couples who engage in a growing political and social media fight. Their passionate disagreement, though superficially focused on politics, is fed by assumptions about class, economics, immigration, and race. Let’s all get along, folks!

Since we’re talking about spending time online, what if that was literal? At least the afterlife? That’s the question posed by Forever People, by Alison Lyke. The book welcomes you to Zeta City, where the whole world goes to die. In there, the "Node System" uploads the minds of the dying, so they can spend eternity in a digital Promised Land. This cyber heaven, however, is causing hell on Earth for the living, and Camille, a skilled mercenary, fights to keep a group of rebels from destroying the computer system that stores the minds of the dead.

To finish on a lighter note, what about a zombie apocalypse? In the very funny Dead Drunk, by Richard Johnson, the reader follows a group of alcoholic friends who awake to find that the Zombie uprising has arrived, and they will have to band together to survive. Okay, it’s not the time to band together, we understand - but you’re allowed to have fun with Charlie Campbell and his friends as he fights yet another virus.

What would we do without those stories to get us through the day? Stay safe, everyone!