Obviously, many people, myself included, want to read for escapism at least patr of the time during times like this. On the other hand there are three books I would definitely recommend as timely reads which are relevant to the Covid-19 outbreak. Probably best to alternate them with less grim readign material.....
1) Spillover by David Quammen is a brilliantly written, well researched and sobering examination of zoonoses, diseases that pass from animals into the human population, with often devastating consequences, COVID-19 is an example of a zoonotic disease. You can read my breif review of this book here.
2) The Plague (La Peste) by Albert Camus is a classic novel set during a plague outbreak in Algeria. It is at one and the same time a description of the progress of the plague in the town but also acts as an allegory for the progress of fascism across the world. I read the novel in French and have to admit I found it hard going, easy enough for me to understand it in French but difficult enough for me to have to read it very slowly. Also, my French probably isn't good enough to fully appreciate the subtexts in this book and the philosophical musings. Having said that, I would definitely recommend it, it is available in translation if you can't read the French.
3) The Dog Stars by Peter Heller is a novel set in the near future, after a flu pandemic has essentially destroyed civilisation. Hig lives in an airfield in post apocalyptic America with hhis dog, Jasper, his aggressive but resourceful neighbour Bangley and his Cessna light aircraft. This beautifully written story follows their lives through hope and hardship and their relationship with an isolated group of Mennonites living nearby, who have a blood disease that hit most people who survived the flu. I loved the relationship between Hig and Jasper, the dog is a very vibrant character in this novel. I couldn't help thinking about where the current COVID-19 pandemic will leave us when it finally ends.