Life is hard right now.
While COVID-19 rewrites rules and changes life as we know it, it’s easy to fall into the fear that is spurring so much frantic toilet paper acquisition around the globe.
Social events—including book launches, readings, fairs, and all the other fun stuff we usually participate in here at PQL—have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. People are encouraged not to gather, not to travel, not to shop unnecessarily, if not for themselves, then to protect those at higher risk of developing complications as a result of infection.
It’s scary. It’s inconvenient. It sucks. But it’s necessary.
If there’s ever a time for the power of books—especially fiction—to create empathy, it’s now. With so many recommendations to stay home and to self-isolate, I hope people unplug a bit, take a break from the 24-hour news cycle, switch off the boob tube, and turn to books and reading to fill at least some of their time. In doing so, I hope readers also see the importance of empathy, of sharing, of overcoming obstacles and doing things for the greater good. I can think of so many great books in which these themes are central, and maybe what we all need right now is a reminder of the potential of humanity to band together in times of need.
You needn’t go out of doors to do so. You can still shop for books online. Many indie booksellers are coming up with innovative ways to serve patrons in these trying times. You can buy direct from publishers (like us, and many other indies) if you prefer to support them directly rather than through the Amazon machine.
And of course, you can buy ebooks. For example, the Porcupine’s Quill eStore has a wide variety of books to choose from, all for $2.99 or $4.99. It’s a rip-roaring good deal for the wonderful collections of poetry and short stories in our list, and for gripping novels, thought-provoking non-fiction and stunning wordless novels. We have even started adding “Free Downloads” chapbooks and broadsides and other free content that anyone can download.
So bring a little joy and escapism into your day. Support indies. Buy a book. Read. And above all, empathize.
I hope everyone stays safe and healthy, and able to keep entertained as we settle in for the long haul.
All the best,