by Caroline, Bookseller

One of the most comforting things for me, when I face unfamiliar or upsetting circumstances, is a change in perspective. Certain books—memoirs, poetry, even sci-fi—are rooted in this idea. I go to them for help; a little like getting advice from a cool older sister at a sleepover! I've never wished for some all-knowing friend to tell me what to do more than now, and I’m sure I’m not alone. I find that immersing myself in someone else’s thoughts, ideas, and experiences can give a new understanding of my own situation; at the very least, listening to someone else can make all of us feel a little more connected.

Since it’s really no secret that connection is something we are all searching for right now, I really hope these perspectives that have brought me comfort will help ease whatever degree of isolation you find yourself in:

From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity

Although death is not something we all want to think about while many are being forced to experience it on a larger scale, Caitlin Doughty's work is extremely important at all times and especially now. She comes at the topic with a “death positive” lens; focusing on how we can shift our grief, and the way we care for our passed loved ones, in a positive direction for both ourselves and the planet. This book takes a broad, interconnected perspective on mourning practices around the world, but if you are looking for more of a straight memoir on the subject I also recommend the author's first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.
Braiding Sweetgrass

Braiding Sweetgrass

Robin Wall Kimmerer is one of my favorite authors for discussing the wonders of our natural world, the ways it connects us all, and how we can be better stewards for the future. She comes at her writing from a complex perspective; rooted both in her studies as a professor of environmental biology, and in her knowledge as an Indigenous woman of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her work definitely helps me feel more connected and purposeful at any time, and would certainly be a great read for now!
The Martian

The Martian

If you’re looking for something a little more on the fiction-escapism route, I would definitely recommend The Martian by Andy Weir. The themes of hope and perseverance in a state of extreme isolation make for a suspenseful read, as well as helpful inspiration for dealing with our current situation. Not to mention it’s full of interesting survival science... and space! Who doesn’t love that?
Devotions

Devotions

Another way that people around me have been able to get through this time is through introspection and meditation on the self, as well as by focusing on how each of us fits into the ever-changing world. I’ve always found Mary Oliver’s words resonate strongly with me in that sense. Checking in with yourself and those around you on a deeper level is extremely important right now, and could help us all come out of this in one piece - or maybe even a little stronger. My personal favorites from Devotions include “Wild Geese” and “Evidence,” but given the emotional nature of poetry, different things tend to speak to each of us in varied ways. Give it a try!
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