Porter House Reads: Quarantine Edition

A pattern of empty rolls of toilet paper with the PHR logo and text that reads: "Quarantine Recs: Cheerful Reads for Stressful TImes"

Daynight, With Mountains Tied Inside” by Alice Fulton

This is a poem about joy that also contains grief—a poem of smallness and vastness, a poem of silence and song. The deft movements and inimitable music of Fulton’s language entwine these seeming opposites in ways that make one wonder whether they’re really opposites at all.

Asa Johnson, Poetry Editor


Football” by Louis Jenkins

This is peak Jenkins: whimsical, thoughtful, and warm like a seat by the fire.

Ben McCormick, Nonfiction Editor


Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

Hey, did y’all know the global economy was unequal as hell?

Frank Burch, Field Notes Editor


Dinosaurs in the Hood” by Danez Smith

Delight in a surreal, beautiful poem that narrates Smith’s ideal dinosaur action movie—one in which “a cop car gets pooped on by a petrodactyl” and Viola Davis fights the invading dino-horde with an afro pick. A “neighborhood of royal folks” banding together to defeat a hostile element—what could be a more hopeful theme in these times? Though in our case, we should band together by keeping a safe distance.

Ali Riegel, Copy Editor


Bullet in the Brain” by Tobias Wolff

Caught up in the everyday dread and surreality of life in quarantine, it can be hard to remember the beauty of our past lives or the small joys the world has to offer in the strangest, most idiosyncratic ways. Even if you’ve read this story before, read it again and try to remember. They is, they is, they is.

Will Pellett, Content Editor


Loitering is Delightful” by Ross Gay

This excerpt from The Book of Delights is a kind of conjuration: Gay’s lyric adjacencies transport me to another time, one (inexplicably, now) where working in a crowded coffee shop was an ideal way to spend a day. What I love most about this project, though, is its dual conceit—Gay is on the hunt for delight, and he finds it even when the world is inhospitable to it.

Taylor Kirby, Assistant Managing Editor


The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

If you want to hunker down and get gloriously lost in another world, then read Ferrante’s intoxicating four novels about the life and times of Elena and Lila.

Brady Brickner-Wood, Managing Editor


Ass” by Sandra Cisneros

To finding the ‘enormous happiness’ already around us.

Kaitlyn Burd, Fiction Editor

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