By Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D.

The last few months of blogs have focused on the COVID 19 pandemic: how to cope; how to help our kids cope; dealing with grief; dealing with psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, sleep difficulties, substance abuse, child abuse, domestic violence; risks of losing insurance coverage for telehealth; strengthening our immune system; maintaining exercise. 

Keeping up social activities is critical as well, whether by video calls with friends and family, or in-person contact with individuals, couples, or small groups of people with social distancing. Taking a walk with a friend, wearing masks and staying socially distant, for example, can be refreshing to the spirits. So can a meal shared outdoors, with good ventilation and sitting well apart (perhaps bringing your own food, as well). 

How about the simple act of reading? A few recently published books come to mind:

The Book of Delights, by Ross Gay. Published in 2019, this is a year’s worth of entries from one birthday to the next (not every day, however). Gay celebrates the small pleasures in life, as well as some of its challenges, that we all so easily overlook. (

One Long River of Song, by Brian Doyle. Published in 2019, this is a series of short entries focused on small experiences in daily life. Many of them center on Doyle’s relationships with children in humorous as well as touching terms. 

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu, Carlton Abrams (Translator). Published in 2016, this chronicles a series of meetings between these two spiritual leaders. They celebrate their friendship, often with delightful humor, discuss challenges of finding joy and anchoring themselves in daily practices. The final chapter is the celebration of a birthday with the children at the Dalai Lama’s retreat: a testimony to the human spirit as these children share their stories of survival and resilience. (

In this time of restricted living for us all, these books help us focus on the seemingly small joys and pleasures of life that are still available. Their short entries (especially the first two) are wonderfully written, delightfully readable, and thoroughly engaging. The links for each are for the website, Goodreads, a wonderful resource in itself when considering books of all genres.

Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Torrance, CA. A member of the Independent Psychotherapy Network, he can be reached at 310 539-2772 or . Telehealth sessions by phone or video call are available.

Copyright 2020 by Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D.

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