Much has been written about how technology can keep us connected as we navigate social distancing to do our part to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic. Friends are using apps like Zoom for cocktail hours, baby showers, and every other event that social distancing has canceled or delayed.
The latest apps are useful to stay #INthistogether and create a sense of community. But where do we turn when we’re looking to unplug and step away from the screen? For nearly 2,000 years, books have remained an essential activity to strengthen our brains, reduce stress, and even help us live longer.
Book sales have surged since social distancing became the new normal. Book sales in the UK jumped 6% in the week of March 15-21, with a 212% growth in sales for “home learning” titles and a 77% boost in school text books as parents and students adapted to e-learning.
So what is everyone reading to cope with isolation and social distancing? “This might be a good time to read that looooong novel you’ve always thought you should have read,” suggested our creative director, Ken Honeywell. “Anna Karenina? War and Peace? Ulysses? Moby-Dick? Infinite Jest? All come immediately to mind, but what else? I would recommend John Crowley’s Little, Big and David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jakob De Zoet and maybe Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale.”
As a music junkie and someone who reads a lot of nonfiction, I have been reading Greil Marcus’ book on Van Morrison: When That Rough God Goes Riding as well as diving into the three most recent annual music editions of Oxford American on North Carolina, Kentucky, and South Carolina, respectively. The issue routinely features some of the best music writing of the year, and I have been loving these.
The IndyStar recently shared a story highlighting Indy’s most popular e-books since the coronavirus outbreak. While Indianapolis Public Library has closed its physical locations due to social distancing requirements, the library’s digital archives remain available to anyone with a library card.
To compete with e-tail giants like Amazon, local bookstores have been forced to get creative during the pandemic. Irvington Vinyl and Books has opened up access to its distributors, allowing customers to order books directly to their doorstep.
How to order from Irvington Vinyl & Books
- Email titles to email@example.com or message their Instagram or Facebook
- Send your name, address, and a phone number
- Pay via Venmo/Cashapp/Paypal or be invoiced through Square
- Ship to your door (takes 3-5 days)
- The shop will cover shipping & tax
Book Picks from Well Done Marketing staff
Brian McCulloh – senior developer:
Nate Diesler – developer:
Nick Honeywell – associate creative director:
I’m reading My Tank is Fight! by Zach Parsons. It’s about a bunch of WWII weapons and inventions that never saw the light of day—it’s basically half fiction, half nonfiction. I’m reading it because anything in the pulp WWII genre is right up my alley. It’s also just about the most lighthearted book on war you’re going to find, and lighthearted is good right now.
Caitlin Flowers – content specialist:
Kristin Baxter – senior account executive:
Yale has made one of their courses on Coursera free: The Science of Well-Being. I start this week, and it seems to have a decent amount of reading attached to it.
I was attracted to the course because A, it’s free. B, it says that it will help me build more productive habits. C, it says I will gain skills in gratitude, happiness, meditation, and savoring. What’s not to like?
For fun, I’m reading A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons. Suspense and horror. All of the good stuff to calm my anxieties right now? A friend recommended it to me because of my love for Stephen King.
Lisa Vielee – president:
Delusions of Brandeur by Ryan Wallman. He’s threatening to do live readings via social.
Ken Honeywell – creative director:
I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian science fiction: I just finished Gish Jen’s The Resisters, which concerns climate change, authoritarianism, and baseball; and am currently enjoying(?) Yōko Ogawa’s The Memory Police, which portrays a situation that feels a whole lot like extreme social distancing. Ironically, my next book will be Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel; it’s not post-apocalyptic fiction, unlike her last novel, Station Eleven, in which the Georgian Flu kills most of the human race. I promise I’ll read something light and funny after this.
If you are looking for laugh-out-loud funny, I highly recommend Simon Rich’s Hits and Misses. Mostly very short short stories.
Casey Cawthon – director of public relations:
Melissa Sunsdahl – director of account service:
The Accounts team is reading Dare to Lead by Brené Brown for our Accounts Book Club.
Mindy Ford – director of operations:
I’m also taking the free Yale class that Kristin mentioned and I’m reading a low-heart-rate, funny book called Mr. and Mrs. American Pie. I’m also doing an online book club with the author Jennifer Weiner on her old but popular book Good in Bed.
Eric Rees – junior developer:
Righting the wrong of my Indiana K-12 education and finally reading some Vonnegut. Specifically, finishing Slaughterhouse-Five!
Ariel Sexson – account coordinator:
Own Your Everyday by Jordan Lee Dooley. She’s a Christian influencer but the book is about creating a purpose-driven life for yourself, overcoming the pressure to prove, and showing up for what we were made to do (in our career and relationships).
Cathy Kightlinger – writer/producer:
Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan and Edward Boches. The reason: Ken Honeywell and Robin Beery suggested it as a great resource to help transition my writing from newspaper style to copywriting.
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead; The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon by Crystal Zevon. The reason: I have an addiction to rock books and I love Zevon’s music.
Joe Black – associate creative director:
The one I’m currently reading: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.
Christine Hudson – digital strategist:
I can usually only read one book at a time, but I’m juggling a lot of reads right now since I live alone with two cats and have found myself with a lot of spare time to fill.
- A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- Ain’t I A Woman by Bell Hooks
- Norton’s Anthology of English Literature, Volume D: The Romantic Period (assorted authors, but I’m reading William Blake right now)
- À L’École Des Sorciers by JK Rowling (Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone in French)
I’m also reading between the lines of my own feelings to try to sort out why I enjoy solitary confinement so much.
The Well Done Marketing team has been staying in and working from home during the effort to flatten the coronavirus curve in Indiana. While we continue to be busy doing all we can for our clients during this crisis, many other projects have been postponed or put on hold for the time being.
We’ve filled some of this surplus time by collecting our own ideas and suggestions for weathering this time of uncertainty, grief, economic hardship, and time away from friends and loved ones. It’s our own small way of showing how we’re #INthistogether.