These are strange days! Last week we thought this newsletter’s theme should be “books to make you feel better.” Now, comfort reads seem even more necessary.
Maybe you know my literary tastes (gritty realism) or my reputation in the shop (“Emilie only likes downers”). Well, I promise I’m not going to recommend the world’s saddest book, A Little Life, even though it is my favorite. I’m also not going to recommend, say, Station Eleven, or Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World. (No judgment, though. If it will help you to read about a pandemic right now, we fully support you.) Instead, here are a few books about small joys, perseverance, and hope.
I’ve written before about R. Eric Thomas’s Here For It: How to Save Your Soul in America, and I remain convinced that it’s just what we all need right now. Eric is hilarious, but his essays are more than just funny. They are gentle, affirming pieces about identity and belonging — about finding your people, your calling, and yourself. I’m grateful for a book like this that feels both wise and optimistic; it is a gift.
My co-worker Jennifer feels the same way about Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights, which you might have heard discussed on NPR recently. These essays encourage all of us to notice small happinesses. Oftentimes we recommend this book as an ideal present, but given where we are in March of 2020, you probably need to buy it for yourself. Doctor’s orders!*
Two other recent books that I know I’ll recommend often in the coming days: Untamed by Glennon Doyle, a memoir of strength and character, and Under the Rainbow by Celia Laskey, a debut novel told in vignettes that reminded me of a queer Kitchens of the Great Midwest(enjoyable!). Both books believe that we are enough, that we can do hard things, and that things can get better. Their beautiful pink covers also make me happy, and I think Ross Gay would agree that acknowledging that tiny delight is worthwhile.
As always, we hope to see you in the shop soon. We love to hear what you’re reading and we always welcome the opportunity to help you find the right book at the right time. For those who can't make it to the shop, we are offering several delivery options to help you out (more info below!). Take care of yourself and each other, and if you’re able to continue supporting local businesses during this uncertain time, we promise that it is even more appreciated than usual.
*None of us are actually medical doctors, although Keith does have a Ph.D. in Medieval Literature.
In response to COVID-19 we are taking steps to steps to protect the health and safety of our community. As a result there will be some temporary changes at the shop:
Shortened Hours: Starting Monday, March 16 the shop will be open from 11am-7pm Monday through Saturday and 11am-6pm on Sundays.
Event Cancelation: We have canceled all public events, book clubs, and storytimes through March 31.
Local Delivery: We’ll be delivering books for a $2 delivery fee within a 1-mile radius of the shop. Contact the shop or order online and choose "Local Delivery" at checkout.
Quick Pick-up Option: Order and pay on our website or via phone, then just stop your car in front of the shop and we'll run your books out to you. Call 202-290-1636 a few minutes before you plan to pick-up so we'll have your order ready for a quick delivery.
Reduced Shipping Charges: Shipping will be $4 + $1 for each additional book for all domestic orders through March 31.