Caroline Donofrio

Currently Reading

The Bright Hour

by Nina Riggs

There are books that speak to our inner lives and make us feel more human. There are books that draw us out of ourselves and carry us somewhere new. The Bright Hour manages both. Riggs was just 37 when doctors discovered a small spot of cancer. By turns humorous and heartbreaking, she faces the unthinkable with remarkable grace. One might surmise "A Memoir of Living and Dying" will evoke tears. But Riggs' legacy is a gift for us all: the pervasiveness of light, the preciousness of days, and — as we suspect — how the meaning of life might be love.

Uli Beutter Cohen

Currently Reading

What We Lose

by Zinzi Clemmons

I had planned to talk about Americanah (because of One Book One New York) but then this gem landed on my desk and sucked me in like an ice cream shop on a hot summer day. Zinzi Clemmons has written a debut novel that is a highly personal observation on structures in society — or in Zinzi's words, "The difference between who we are and what we are called." What We Lose deals with identity, loss, sex, and coming-of-age at a time when ignoring reality is no longer an option. This is definitely a must-read.

Uli Beutter Cohen

Porochista Khakpour, born in Tehran and raised in Los Angeles, is the author of the novels The Last Illusion and Sons and Other Flammable Objects. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Bookforum, Vice, Slate, ELLE and many more. She has taught at Columbia among other institutions and is a writer in residence at Bard College. Her memoir Sick, which is about living with late-stage Lyme Disease, will be published by HarperPerennial in 2018. We met Porochista at The Wing, where she runs the book club and is the good soul of literature.

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Book Pharmacy

The world is full of problems. Thankfully, it's also full of books.


Caroline Donofrio

At the risk of sounding like a hermitic librarian, books are such great friends. They keep you company. They entertain. They impart wisdom. Most importantly, they don’t judge. Just as we are told to choose our friends wisely, we are smart to curate our own Book Pharmacy — an arsenal of words to reach for when times get weird. These are some titles, new and old, I currently have on hand. Much like with actual drugs, you may use them as prescribed or dabble recreationally…

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Why can’t people just sit and read books and be nice to each other? — David Baldacci

Hey, Reader:

Isabel Urbina Peña

Where do you live? I live in Greenpoint — a quiet, Polish neighborhood in Brooklyn.

What do you do? I’m a multidisciplinary artist and graphic designer. I specialize in cover design, lettering, and typeface design. I run my own design studio, teach, make zines, and run Yes, Equal an online directory of women in the creative fields. 

Name one book that has been meaningful to you: There are so many great ones!! I hold a collection of stories by Oscar Wilde very close to my heart. My dad gave it to me when I was a teenager and it made me appreciate darker literature. 

Reading ritual As a book cover designer I have to read a lot in a short time frame, so when I pick up a book for pleasure, I like to take my time with it.

Guilty pleasure: Watching TV shows while working 😱 I can’t help it 😂😂

Person you admire: My husband, Freddy Arenas. He’s the most driven and chill person, and he never ceases to learn, investigate and stay hungry. 

Must-Follow: My sis @tepuydining for Venezuelan popup dinners in NYC. Also, @yesequal, @mydarlin_bk, @tack_and_ward, @ohkiistudio, @thxitsvintage, @alphabettes_org, @letratype  and @knopfjackets.

Something you’re proud of: Being perseverant and following all my crazy ideas to completion even when I don’t have a clear plan at first.

Currently reading: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.

Words to live by: “Haz bien sin mirar a quien” — This is a very common saying in Venezuela, where I’m from. It’s simple and karmic. It translates to something like “Do good, no matter to whom”.

Special shoutout: Isabel designed the Eye Level logo.

Photography by Stephanie Geddes

Scrolling through Instagram is a good way to lose minutes, hours, and in certain cases, your sanity. Yet some accounts just get it right. (Case in point, the glorious @Ice_Cream_Books, whose images are featured above.)

Here are some more favorite literary follows…

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Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. — Charles William Eliot

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