Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?

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Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? A question that invites readers on a spiritual journey to reexamine their lives as they navigated the global pandemic of 2020. A mixture of prose, poetry and reflective questions enhances the journaling experience.

cover of Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better

About this Book

“Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?” is an invitation to read, reflect and respond to the global pandemic of 2020 and successive months after by author Larada Horner-Miller. Readers are encouraged to think about how the pandemic affected them and how they adapted. The book is intended to be used as a journal, a safe keeping place to revisit 2020.

Larada Horner-Miller viewed the forced shelter in place as an opportunity for spiritual discoveries and renewed spiritual growth. The book incorporates what she learned during her year of solitude, a transformative process leading her to find a reconnection with her “God.” She struggled spiritually and emotionally. Her emotions ran deep from fear, struggle, and despair going deeper into her faith, ultimately making Horner-Miller a better, not a bitter person. 

Themed chapters with poetry and prose add depth to the book. The book is divided into chapters with content developed from the author’s blog over the years. Each chapter begins with a carefully chosen thought provoking quote complementing the theme. Horner-Miller’s prose and poetry are creative and soul-stirring. Both are extensions of the chapter’s theme. Many of the poems deal with the anxiety and depict the universal struggles of uncertainty during this time. Readers will find them inspirational and comforting. Reflective questions at the end of each chapter encourage reader participation to share their personal thoughts and stories as well as process hidden fears and concerns during time spent in quarantine. 

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As a trauma-informed psychotherapist, I saw the year 2020 and the pandemic, as an opportunity for spiritual growth. Larada’s powerful prose and poetry brings depth in this book of encouraged self-reflection. The task is clear: read, write and connect! 

-Ann Flosdorf, LCSW, MAEd, CEDS

Larada Horner-Miller has used these Quarantine Days to great advantage. Thoughtful and kind, and attentive, she uses poetry and prose to illustrate this experience of shut-down, isolation, and loss. She invites you to participate in a world of connection, life, and new beginnings.  She helps us grieve and let go.

The time and effort spent in reading/reflecting/praying this book is time and effort well spent. 

~Fr. Thomas Weston, SJ, active in the recovery community since 1976, teaching and conference experience, Masters of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley  

In this book Larada Horner-Miller offers us a spiritual journey – an invitation to remember your life as you lived through the Coronavirus pandemic.  It will take you back and help you integrate that trauma, reflect on it, heal from it.  Take your time with it; your life is precious. 

~The Right Reverend Michael B Hunn
The Diocese of the Rio Grande

As a COVID 19 survivor and “long-hauler” Larada’s new book Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? resonated with my heart. She expertly and genuinely threaded us through the maze of her deepest fears and concerns through her prose and poetry. The emotions I felt while reading this masterful work … well, it took me back to the intensity of emotions I experienced in the thick of The collective COVID battle and My personal battle.

Another emotion I noted … as a 3X breast cancer survivor who has by necessity had to look death in the face … it reminded me that the shared intensity of COVID 19 included the fact that this was a collective look into the face of death … worldwide. It seemed surreal then, and it still does. And finally from the point of view of a professional Courage Coach, I appreciated the exercises of exploring questions for the reader to be able to step into the examination of how COVID actually impacted their own lives and those they love and care about. I absolutely recommend Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? to help process the hidden fears and concerns which we need to face head on … and then courageously move forward to let this pandemic “inform our future” but not keep us stuck in the past! Congratulations Larada!

~Kathleen Brooks, Courage Coach, Master Certified Professional Life Coach, Speaker, Author


2020 is like looking both ways before you cross the street then getting hit by an airplane, said an unknown person on the internet. I think this perfectly sums up our collective feelings about the pandemic year. Overnight, our daily lives became the harbor of confusion, uncertainty, and anxiety. Whether you agree or not, humans are inherently social beings. But the pandemic turned schools, recreational places, and even religious places into unsafe areas. Consequently, the inevitable human connection was stolen.

‪Now that the tide has somewhat ebbed, do you feel the need to look back on how you even survived? What kept you going during quarantine? What methods did you follow to cope with the hysteria? How did you even adjust to the whirlwind? Did the trials of the pandemic turn you into a bitter person or a better person? Reflect on the changes you adopted to accommodate the new normal with Larada Horner-Miller and her book, Coronavirus Reflections.

‪This book is a collection of thirty-one chapters inspired by the blog posts Larada wrote during 2020. Each chapter starts with an inspirational quote and ends with an exercise where Larada asks questions that nudge you to look back at your pandemic life more deeply. This book has both poems and prose that mirrors the emotions Larada felt during the pandemic.

‪I will rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Since this book was well edited, I did not notice any errors. There was no profanity or age-inappropriate content. Although there are elements of religion and faith in this book, it will not hurt any reader’s religious sentiments; we all look towards some form of higher power during our difficulties.

‪Larada wrote these blog posts fairly regularly during quarantine. That is why the central theme is the pandemic and its effect on us. Larada is from the US. So, the chapters include events like mask debates, protests, political ideology clashing with science, and even the great toilet paper shortage saga! But, the majority portion of the book is universally relatable as every one of us felt the threat of the invisible enemy.

‪I wish I had read this book in 2020; it would have given me some sense of companionship while navigating through the pandemic. Reading Larada’s writing now made me go-yeah, me too or, I also faced the same situation or, Thank God! I am not the only one who felt that way. It was quite therapeutic to be reminded that we were all in the same boat! My favorite poem in this book was “Come Back Tomorrow and I’ll Have More”; it talks about the pressures of being emotionally available to others when you are exhausted inside. The only thing that bothered me was the stock images; they were more suitable for a blog post than for a book. But I enjoyed the few personal photos like Larada in her colorful square-dancing outfit; it added personal touch.

‪Larada makes it clear throughout the book that she was better off compared to the vast majority who faced a lot more difficulties due to socio-economic reasons; I admire her for this. Elderly readers who lived with the fear of uncertainty will connect to this book more. Readers whose thriving lives turned standstill overnight will understand Larada’s passion for square dancing. If you simply boxed your feelings about 2020 and desire to look back to find closure, pick this book. If you are one of those who struggled with comparative suffering, this book shows that you were not alone. Finally, I will recommend this book to readers who enjoy reflective writing and poems.


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