Keep calm and read on! That’s the new motto at Books & Books. The beloved local indie bookstore might have had to close their doors for the time being, but they’ve got a secret weapon that you can use anytime you need an escape from the daily barrage of coronavirus updates: READING! Meet them in that special place that only readers inhabit — right now, it’s coronavirus free and you don’t have to get on a plane, train or automobile to go there. Free your mind and travel without leaving home. Here are a few of the books their staff are reading and loving right now. Order today at www.booksandbooks.com and they will ship them to you for free!

Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir by Rebecca Solnit (Viking, $26)
This is a dynamite new memoir from the author of Men Explain Things to Me and many essays on feminism, activism and social change, hope, and the climate crisis. Here, she describes her formation as a writer and as a feminist in 1980s San Francisco, in an atmosphere of gender violence on the street and throughout society and the exclusion of women from cultural arenas. She tells of being poor, hopeful, and adrift in the city that became her great teacher: of the small apartment that, when she was nineteen, became the home in which she transformed herself: of how punk rock gave form and voice to her own fury and explosive energy.

My Dark Vanessa: A Novel by Kate Elizabeth Russell (William Morrow, $27.99)
In this gripping debut novel, a teenage girl falls into an affair with her English teacher, who is 30 years her senior. The voice of Vanessa, the narrator, is unparalleled in its honesty, and her emotions are fiercely conveyed with unrelenting realness. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood.

Writers & Lovers by Lily King
Casey lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, waits tables, worries about her debt, and falls for the wrong man and the right one. She dreams, she grieves, and she worries about her health. In spite of it all, she manages to finish her novel. Written with King’s trademark humor, heart, and intelligence, Writers & Lovers is a transfixing novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another. It’s a portrait of an artist as a young woman!

The Bear by Andrew Krivak (Bellevue Literary Press, $16.99)
In an edenic future, a girl and her father live close to the land in the shadow of a lone mountain. They possess a few remnants of civilization: some books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. The father teaches the girl how to fish and hunt, the secrets of the seasons and the stars. He is preparing her for an adulthood in harmony with nature, for they are the last of humankind. But when the girl finds herself alone in an unknown landscape, it is a gear that will lead her back home through a vast wilderness that offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen.

Cover photo by Divine.Ca