Two kinds of spaces are shrinking around us as we speak—one for books and creativity, as it starves from a lack of revenues, and another for our physical existence in the public sphere, caused by the coronavirus. Put them both together, and we open pathways for possibilities. As we remain locked away from the lives we knew, this new weekly page on books comes in an effort to help us travel beyond our physical limitations, to empathise, connect, and educate ourselves in a way that is best done through narratives both real and fictional. We will try to cover the latest in the world of books while also harkening back to what is old but still relevant. For this first issue, an exploration of what it means to be 'alone'—physically and psychologically—in a packed city, seemed fitting under the circumstances; this is accompanied by a piece on the need for climate fiction as we approach World Environment Day on June 5. The reading list on 'The Shelf' recommends books that, over time, have given us a deeper insight into the fraught and at risk natural world. We hope you will enjoy reading with us.
Sarah Anjum Bari
In-Charge, Daily Star Books