Everything that I said last week about readings in the time of coronavirus is just as true this week: we can't in good conscience recommend that you attend a reading in this environment. Even if you're healthy, you are risking the health of others if you gather in groups right now.
But we need books now more than ever. And authors, publishers, and independent bookstores could use our support right now, too. So I want to direct your attention to a big event on Tuesday: Local author Matt Ruff is publishing his latest novel, 88 Names.
Usually, a rollout from Matt Ruff would be a big damn deal: he's one of Seattle's finest writers, a polymath who never writes the same kind of book twice. Our own Nisi Shawl published an advance review of the video-game-centric thriller just last week, raving that...
...In Matt Ruff’s calm and crafty hands, mystery gets interwoven with the survival imperative, and dedicated play leads to consequential discoveries.
But we can't go out and celebrate Ruff's latest the way he deserves right now. So we have to do the next best thing: Let's all agree, in one of two social-distancing-approved ways, to buy the hell out of this book.
The audio version of 88 Names will be available on Libro.fm on March 17th, and like all Libro.fm purchases, you can devote a part of the proceeds from your sale to your favorite neighborhood indie bookstore.
Or, if you prefer physical books, Ballard bookseller Secret Garden Books is Ruff's home store, and they're selling autographed copies. If you give them a call, they'll ship you a fancy first edition or have a copy waiting for you at the counter to pick up with no physical contact necessary.
One day — hopefully not too far in the future — we'll all be able to get together and throw a big party to celebrate Ruff's latest novel the way it deserves. But for now, it's important to come out and give the book some financial support, to show that Seattle takes care of our own.