With books, we are never alone
In tIimes of change and upheaval, books can answer to so many different needs
Everything is happening so fast at the moment and despite the incredible community spirit springing up around us, it’s hard not to feel some degree of worry and isolation. While reading may not be high up on the hierarchy of survival needs I believe that with books, we are never alone.
In times of change and upheaval, books can answer to so many different needs: they challenge and distract, comfort and reassure, inspire and motivate. While you might not be able to meet people face to face at the moment, books can stimulate and reflect conversation in a different way.
Whether you’re home alone, home together, or preparing for what’s ahead, don’t forget we have a curated range of books online now or you can call us for recommendations and we can send books out to you. Do try these for starters, selected to act as a balm for the current situation around us…
Stay safe and enjoy the extra reading time,
The Lonely City
I’ve written to you about this book before but never has there been a time when it’s subject – the beauty and artistic creativity that can emerge from isolation – has felt more prescient. In her wonderfully frank and refreshing style, Laing writes of her own experience of acute loneliness when living in New York and how she found a way through it by exploring the lives of some incredible artists: Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper, Henry Darger and David Wojnarowicz. In differing ways each of these men were subject to deep isolation but from it sprang a rich seam of art and new life.
A reminder of the incredible power of nature at times when as humans, we feel like all else around us has become utterly unfamiliar. Some years ago, award-winning nature writer Mabey moved to East Anglia from the Chilterns during a period of clinical depression. It was in the new landscapes and natural world around him that Mabey gradually began to find new inspiration and joy again, a journey he charts in this candid and profound memoir that fills you with hope – much needed at the moment!
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
‘This book is for everyone, whether you are eighty or eight… I feel like I’m both sometimes’ says Charlie Mackesy in the introduction to this, his bestselling book of life lessons and wisdom, told through the conversations of four friends: a boy, a mole, a fox and a horse. Exquisitely illustrated and written in Charlie’s hand with beautiful brush pen, it reads like a fable, teaching love, kindness and friendship. It’s exactly what we need right now for comfort and to remind us of the resilience of the human spirit. Film director Richard Curtis describes is as a ‘window onto the human heart’.
Being in self-isolation is the perfect opportunity to read those classic books you always meant to but previously never found the time for. A good place to start would be with Robinson Crusoe, widely considered the first ever English ‘novel’, telling the story of a shipwrecked sailor who lived for 28 years on a remote island in the Caribbean (we think two weeks at home will be difficult)! Holding an important place in the canon of English Literature, this is the ideal read when pondering how far humans really can go without the company of others.
Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Another book many might have pondered but never quite got round to starting is this enchanting, idiosyncratic tale of enduring love, Love in the Time of Cholera. Different in tone to the Nobel-prize winner’s popular One Hundred Years of Solitude (also recommended reading), this is a book that benefits from time for quiet, concentrated reading. The story is simple – Florentina Ariza has been in love with Fermina Daza for half a century, but she married someone else. Having sworn his eternal love for her, now is his chance, when her husband is killed trying to rescue their pet parrot from a mango tree. Challenging, playful, wise, obsessive, you now have the time to dive in and stick with it.
AVAILABLE ONLINE SOON
With fans from Sir Ranulph Fiennes to Robert MacFarlane, this pocket-sized gem is a meditation and instruction manual on the power of silence, from Norwegian explorer Kagge. He once spent fifty days walking solo across Antartica, his radio broken; inspired by this he shows us how to find beautiful silence in our everyday lives and to embrace it. With the prospect of quieter times ahead this feels like the ideal book to have on hand for its calming words and soothing messages about inner silence and learning to listen, to ourselves and each other.
Prices and availability checked Friday 20 March 2020.