Life Is Hard Right Now. Read a Book.

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.


PortraitI hope everyone stays safe and healthy, and able to keep entertained as we settle in for the long haul.

All the best,Steph

This entry was posted in Letters from the Porcupette (the Intern's Blog) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Life Is Hard Right Now. Read a Book.

  1. Pingback: The Porcupine’s Quill

  2. Ross says:

    Thanks for your encouraging words, Stephanie. I shall take up your suggestion and have another look at the PQ e-store. Any thoughts of a Porcupine’s Quill book club?

    • Steph says:

      If you ever need reading suggestions, I’m happy to recommend.

      A couple of the book listings on our website include discussion questions for book clubs (see Shane Neilson’s Complete Physical, or Sheree-Lee Olson’s Sailor Girl, for example).

      We also have a nifty resources page ( that has some great lesson plans. The one on The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson is particularly compelling and detailed.

      That should offer a bit of literary distraction for a while!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.