When it comes to books, some of us go giddy for visually delicious design tomes, while others relish emotional memoirs. Some are completely converted to Amazon Kindles and other e-readers, perfect for subway riders and antsy kids alike; others refuse to surrender the sweet smell of a vintage paperback or the crack of a newly minted spine. Yet others prefer to devour poetry, delivered via social media post. We can’t all be on the same page, literally or metaphorically, but there’s one way we all agree: reading is a uniquely nourishing (and even necessary) practice.
Particularly in the depths of winter, when real-world surroundings are stark, imagined settings offer warmth and brightness. When current events feel especially complicated, we turn to written wisdoms (new and old) for guidance. Reading allows a contemplative exploration of the human condition, put to words. It reminds us where we’ve been and points us where we’re going; it introduces us to unique and unexpected stories, while simultaneously revealing our commonalities. The wild minds of our favorite writers ignite healing and hope.
It’s about time a modern publication emerged to celebrate the great gifts of literature and to bring bookworms together. That’s what Caroline Donofrio and Uli Beutter Cohen (You remember Uli, right?) have set out to do with Eye Level, a soon-to-be-launched “literary lifestyle” magazine featuring rising authors, must-read new releases and insights from thought leaders across cultural genres — not just publishing, but also fashion, film, food and more. Billed as a “love letter to all things literary,” Eye Level promises to deliver a new issue twice a month and free of cost, with the first edition set to release on January 26. It will include interviews with Isaac Fitzgerald of Buzzfeed Books and writer and artist Elise Peterson, among others, so it’s safe to assume it’s going to be juicy.
If you’re based in New York, you’re invited to the launch party at The Strand, otherwise known as every bookworm’s ultimate paradise. The event will revolve around readings of beloved book passages by New York literaries and authors like Dan Kennedy of The Moth and Glory Edim of Well-Read Black Girl — a perfect option for date night (complete with complementary wine) or a pre-book-club outing with friends. The bold might even show up alone and connect with fellow solo attendees in the process. (A foolproof conversation starter: “What’s the one book that has most changed your life?”)
As for the rest of us, we’ll be grabbing our reading glasses and settling into a cozy spot on the couch, browsing Eye Level via our iPads or iPhones. That’s the great thing about reading — it’s accessible and inclusive, uniting strangers across vast distances, bridging viewpoints and ways of life with one crucial thing in common: a love for the written word.
p.s. What’s your favorite author’s favorite book?