The Core of Our Community

Many of us feel powerless right now, in these unprecedented times. But there is something we can do--besides washing our hands, coughing into the crook of our elbows, and avoiding large gatherings: We can support our local bookstores.

Books make the best companions. They make us laugh and cry, and help us escape whatever may be troubling us. They can supply large gatherings of characters we wish to meet or place us back in a simpler time.

Many local bookstores are keeping their doors open, to offer an oasis when you need a change of scenery. Maybe you'd rather not leave your home--call your bookstore and see how they can help. Most offer online services, including printed books, e-books delivered instantly and digital audiobooks you can listen to solo or together with family. You can support your local indie by signing up for its newsletter and following on social media, preordering upcoming books you're excited about, buying gift cards; you can help your bookstore get through these difficult days.

You can also support indie bookstores and indie booksellers by contributing to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc), which since 1996 has provided assistance to booksellers suffering from severe hardships or emergencies. It's the only organization like it in the book business, and is, especially now, a most worthy cause!

As a distraction, consider sinking into a great piece of history with Erik Larson's profile of Winston Churchill, The Splendid and the Vile, or something insightful and humor-filled, like James McBride's Deacon King Kong or--for a little levity while we're all in tight quarters together--You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time by Patricia Marx, illustrated by Roz Chast.

What we do have right now is the gift of time: time to read to each other, to read for ourselves. Let's support our booksellers, who form the core of our communities. Stay safe, and be well. --Jennifer M. Brown, senior editor, Shelf Awareness

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