APRIL 3, 2020

Hey, friends. We know it’s tough out there (or, more accurately, in there, as roughly 90% of the country is under strict orders to #stayhome. If you’d rather take up a new hobby (while listening and social distancing) than get to that overdue project, we’re here to help. Or you could just sit back and let us catch you up on some things that caught our eye…

Feeding a need

We are always looking for the helpers in these times and Chef Jose Andres—whose We Fed An Island chronicled how he and a network of community kitchens fed thousands in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria—is back at it again. His World Central Kitchen charity, which Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster is also partnering with, has mobilized to feed those impacted by the many COVID-19 ramifications, such as job losses and restaurant closures. As Lin-Manuel Miranda said of his pal Andres, who he tweeted about cooking to Hamilton songs, where would we be without you, Chef?

Pandemic’s influence found in surprising places

What we wear can make a powerful statement, and no one knows that better than fashion designers. Christian Siriano, Prada, and Louis Vuitton are among several luxury brands that have stepped up to meet the urgent demand for making masks as supplies dwindle. Then there are those like Nigerian designer Tiannah Toyin Lawani, whose glamorous masks are bedazzled with rhinestones and glitter. Lawani says she intends for her masks to raise awareness about the importance of taking safety precautions and wearing protective gear during a pandemic, leading us to wonder if the next chapter of fashion history will include even more protective gear on the runways and in our closets.

Ernest Hemingway, social distancing pioneer?

Maybe you need to be a literary genius to survive and thrive while being quarantined. During the summer of 1926, while quarantining due to to his child's case of whooping cough, Ernest Hemingway called the two-bedroom house he was isolated in with his wife, his mistress, said child, and the nanny a splendid place to write. His paramour, Pauline Pfeiffer, was #5 in the house and #3 in the marital bed. If this thruple was still around today, we’d have to get them in a room with Mark Manson and listen in on their session to discover if it’s true Love Is Not Enough.

Putting the ''in'' in introversion

Quarantine life has brought up plenty of questions, but the one perplexing everyone from our own editor Rachel to the ever-curious Jon Ronson (who started a fascinating Twitter thread): How are introverts and extroverts handling isolation differently? Have introverts finally arrived at a long-overdue moment to shine (away from the spotlight, please!) or are extroverts still leading the charge with virtual happy hours and video-conference-based Charades? Leave it to Quiet author Susan Cain to resist oversimplification with a fascinating explainer on social equilibrium—a state we hope all of us can get back to soon.

When video conferences go delightfully wrong

A woman turned herself into a potato—yes, a potato—on a video conference this week, and when she couldn’t figure out how to change back, she just stayed that way for the remainder of the meeting. We feel that 😂. Like Ms. Potato, we’ve been fortunate enough to keep business going with video meetings and remote work. Kids and pets have made guest appearances on calls, but so far, no vegetables. We’ll see what next week brings.

Hopeful listening in times of crisis

For those times when life itself seems precarious, history can be a source of comfort, inspiration, and strength. Our history editor, Christina, collected stories of the past in which oncoming tragedies were somehow mitigated, avoided, or just plain gotten through when people pulled together. Miraculously, ordinary people often rise to the occasion within the confines of their professional work (shout-out to all the contemporary hospital workers and those keeping service industries moving during the COVID-19 crisis). Where there’s life, there’s hope. Here are her suggested ''all is not lost'' to highlight real stories of lives that persisted in the face of looming disaster.

For more greatness in isolation:

  • April is Autism Awareness month. Explore our collection of titles celebrating neurodiversity—from ASD to dyslexia to sensory processing disorder, there’s beauty in thinking differently.
  • Writer Damon Young’s thoughtful New York Times piece on isolation echoes a message he shared in a recent interview with us: no matter where you are, it’s important to be open to growth.
  • Tiger King taken over your quarantine? For all you cool cats and kittens out there who don’t know what to consume next, check out this collection from our in-house true crime fanatic, Editor Kat.
  • This month’s selection of eight Audible Originals range from an uplifting fable perfect for re-centering yourself to a time-travel saga for the whole family. Choose any (or all!) to enjoy free with your membership.
  • Samuel L. Jackson is encouraging social distancing by telling fans to ''Stay the F at Home.'' If, on top of everything else, you’re struggling to get your kids to bed, we also recommend this F-word classic performed by Jackson.