COVID Newsletter #1


Greetings from Three Lives & Company!


To everyone who has sent notes of encouragement, bought books curbside, ordered gift certificates, rooted us on from their corner of the city or the globe, we thank you. These are not easy times for any small business, and we are tremendously grateful for the kindness and support you have shown – and continue to show – Three Lives.


We do have some exciting news for all of you who have expressed dismay at our temporary closing. The coronavirus has managed something that big-box bookstores, online booksellers, superstorms, and building maintenance have failed to accomplish: driving us to the Internet! We have belatedly joined the twenty-first century and are introducing an online ordering system, which we hope will fill the gap between now and our reopening. Here is how it works:


You can fill out an order form here. We will check on the availability of the books you want and get in touch with you directly to take your payment information. (We can only accept credit card payments at this time.) We are ordering from one of our regular distributors for direct delivery to our customers, which means we will be charging a UPS Ground fee of $7.95 for up to four books and $10.95 for five books or more.


You also can use the form to request gift certificates, which we will send to you via U.S. mail. And you are always welcome to order by emailing us at if you would prefer not to use the form. We recognize that buying books remotely is not the same as browsing our physical space – we are itching to return too! – but we hope this stopgap measure will keep you in literature for the time being.


Please write and let us know how you have been filling your social distancing time. If you are curious about what the Three Lives crew has been reading, watching, and beyond, read on!



~ Staff Updates from Home ~         

Nora has been taking daily walks in Fort Tryon Park to admire the cherry trees, magnolias, and daffodils. While indoors, she has begun a 1000-piece puzzle of the Grand Canyon, enjoyed many episodes of The Great British Baking Show, and read two wonderful novels, Miriam ToewsÕs Women Talking (Bloomsbury) and Anita BrooknerÕs Hotel du Lac (Vintage).



Who else has been watching The Great British Baking Show?? Why, our newest bookseller Tatiana! She also has been switching off between My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (William Morrow) and Weather by Jenny Offill (Knopf) – thumbs up for both so far. To get herself moving, Tatiana has been dancing around her apartment like a madwoman and dabbling in ÒYoga With AdrieneÓ on YouTube.



Miriam relates all too well to TatianaÕs exuberant apartment dance routine (letÕs see you not jump to your feet when Jorge CelednÕs ÒEsta VidaÓ starts playing) and has been trying to walk to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade on a regular basis. Season three of The Crown has been keeping her occupied and entertained, with long and enjoyable stretches spent catching up on old issues of the New Yorker and basking in Alexander CheeÕs delightful essays in How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Mariner).



In D.C., where she has decamped for the duration, Ruby has been making a point to get outside and see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. Keeping her company on her walks have been the audiobooks of Jodi Kantor and Megan TwoheyÕs She Said (Penguin Press) and Rachel Deloache WilliamsÕs My Friend Anna (Gallery). She recommends both highly if you are looking for a distraction from the news. 



Joyce is well-stocked with Assam tea, and like the rest of us, is making walking part of her daily routine (Park Slope and Windsor Terrace real estate holds endless fascination). She has been delighted to find that strangers actually nod and smile from six feet away. AcornTV has come to the rescue with episodes of Lovejoy (very lowbrow and fun) and season two of Blood, a dark, nuanced family drama. And donÕt forget Andrew CuomoÕs 11am daily press briefings! Sitting on her bedside table? Horizon by Barry Lopez (Vintage), a sublime read combining travelogue and history.



Toby finds himself bewildered by how quickly a single day can evaporate when seemingly all he has done is make coffee, read the paper, answer email, and watch various Lockdown home videos sent his way. Maybe there is something to that Covid jogging craze... With the little head space not devoted to virus-related news, Toby has been reading Breasts and Eggs by the Japanese novelist, Mieko Kawakami, the first of her several novels to be translated into English (Europa). It is a fresh and fascinating perspective on Japan: single mothers and working class women.



Ryan is quick to admit that he currently is the slowest-reading staff member, as his infant son does not, unfortunately, recognize the need for his parents to have reading time. Even still, he managed to finish one great book recently: Anna WienerÕs sharp chronicle of Big TechÕs cultural hellscape, Uncanny Valley (MCD). Otherwise his newly expanded family is filling their days with board books, tummy time and, when the four walls are getting a little too close, socially-distanced walks through a quiet Queens.



Emily is still searching for the right book to dive into during this strange time, but sheÕs put her free hours to good use and finally finished a few TV series, The Deuce and The Good Place. And given that all of the grocery stores are out of yeast, she has taken matters into her own hands and is proud to announce that her first sourdough starter is in progress! 



Troy has food on the brain as well (when does he not?!): with so much more time to devote to making dinner, he and his partner are challenging themselves to try new recipes. Tuesdays are ÒIndian CuisineÓ night! Madhur JaffreyÕs Vegetarian India (Knopf) shows the way. His morning routine looks different too: he has been waking up around 6am and before reading the news or turning on the radio, eagerly opens Gertrude SteinÕs The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (Penguin Press) and enters the world of Paris in the early 1900s. It is a delight – endlessly fascinating and often very funny (made all the more so by the genius and joy of Maira KalmanÕs illustrations). WhatÕs up next from his bedside stack (mountain!)? Without a doubt, Deborah MadisonÕs new memoir An Onion in My Pocket (Knopf, May 5).