Where would we be without books?

Tracey Books

Reading has always been one of my most treasured activities, and why not? A good book can transport me back to a rich time in history, whisk me off to a tropical island, make me laugh until tears run down my cheeks and even teach me a new embroidery stitch.

Why, I’m happy just walking through the front door of a bookstore and breathing in the unique blend of paper and bindings. (I’ve never been able to identify exactly what books smell like to me. It’s an earthy, smoky scent, a bit woody, too, and it’s always so pleasant, so comforting.)

Ah, books, where would we be without them … especially now, when we find ourselves in these most unusual, anxiety producing, depressing and especially boring circumstances of home confinement.

A good friend of mine shared a quote from writer Tom Perrotta with me: “I look out my window, and it’s a beautiful day, and the water comes out of the faucet when I turn it on, and my car works. The infrastructure of the world is intact, but there is this feeling of dread and grief that makes it feel entirely different than (sic) what it did a month ago. I wake up and as soon as I go downstairs and come in contact with any information, this heaviness just comes over me that I carry through the whole day.”

I’ve had mornings like that these last few weeks … until I picked up a book. For me, like many of you, reading offers such solace during trying times. A good book can be an entertaining distraction or a thought-provoking way to manage the loneliness, escape our uncertain futures and brighten our moods. Disappear into a book and when you come back up for air, the world just may look a little brighter.

With that in mind, I will be spending time each week looking for resources for all of us, adults and children alike, who are happy to escape between the covers of a good book. I’ll be sharing reviews, author interviews, recommending writing blogs and other related resources. (Writing blogs? Sure! Now is a wonderful time to explore your own writing interests!)

Perhaps I’ll come across an online book club you might want to join. (I hope, thanks to technology, that those of you in book clubs are continuing to meet. Coming together to share your latest selection will make you feel connected in many different ways. Don’t belong to a book club? Connect with a friend, read a book together and share your impressions during weekly FaceTime calls. The wine is optional!)

Take a few minutes to pursue your own shelves for those books you have been meaning to read. (I have a few tucked in here and there and everywhere!) Pull them, stack them up on a table, and then ponder how each one of them might improve the quality of your life. Grab one and dive in tonight!

Or, take this opportunity to consider something new you may want to learn. As previously mentioned, my embroidery skills are improving every day, thanks to a great book that’s been sitting on my shelf for years. (Ha, when I was a starving college student I re-built the carburetor in my 1956 VW Bug thanks to a clear, well laid out publication with plenty of useful illustrations.) Maybe you’d like to try your hand at magic? Is it time you explored Japanese silk screening? What do you need to brush up on the tender care of your roses?

Of course, as much as we all might want and need books at the moment, accessing them can be difficult. (My Saturday afternoon bookstore wanderings have come to a screeching halt.) Never fear! There are countless ways you can bring a book, either new or used, safely into your home.

We are fortunate to have a number of local, independent bookstores who are continuing to offer their services:

· Booklegger in Old Town Eureka is taking orders. Call 707-444-1344. They will either ship to your home or you can pick up your order curbside. Check out their Facebook page. Owner Jen McFadden told me they are getting a lot of special orders and that she is happy to offer recommendations to people who call.

· Eureka Books, also in Old Town Eureka, continues to stock new, used and rare books. You may order online at https://eurekabookshop.com or by calling 707-444-9593. They offer free shipping.

· Northtown Books in Arcata is taking orders via its website, www.northtownbooks.com, or by calling 707-822-2834. Books will be shipped to you or you can pick up your order at the store, Monday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. They are still taking cash, checks and credit cards.

· Tin Can Mailman in Arcata is offering both shipping and curbside pick-up. Leave a message at 707-822-1307 and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can.

· Blake’s Books in McKinleyville will definitely try to find the book you are looking for. Please call 707-839-8800.

Until next time … happy reading!