Reflections on Reading Material over Lockdown 

 

Now that we are beginning to ease up on Lockdown, which feels just as scary as going into Lockdown, I have been looking back on the past three months and reflecting on my choice of reading material.

To my own surprise, at the beginning of Lockdown all I wanted to read were novels about plagues and pandemics. Dystopian futures, worlds/countries ravaged by plagues and illnesses that couldn’t be understood by the top scientists – until someone made a breakthrough discovery, or the illness somehow just goes away by itself- even more perturbing…

Talking to others, I found out that many other people were picking up these books, too. Were we driven by a feeling of not wanting to be alone; reading about others who had suffered similar situations, too, even in fiction?

The weather was good and I spent more time in the garden. I began to read about growing my own vegetables, herbs, salads and flowers. On my trips to the supermarket, as I queued up to go into the store, I could see their outdoor gardening section. I looked longingly, even hungrily, at the plants displayed. On my way out, I stopped off and loaded my trolley up with potted herbs, bedding plants (some a little worse for wear but…) and packets of seeds. I read several, well not whole books, but chapters of books, about growing veg. In the end, I just planted stuff out and stood back to see what would happen. It’s all looking very green and colourful out there now. And we have enjoyed some lettuce and a couple of radishes so far.

As the sunny spell ended, I thought I really should make good use of this imposed free time. I scrolled through my kindle for Teach Yourself books and toyed with learning the guitar, computer programming, several foreign languages, cake making, recycling weird things into weirder things, interior design etc in twelve weeks. I almost ordered some paint online to decorate the dining room – I’ve been planning on doing this since we moved in seven years ago – but didn’t quite get round to it.

My next phase found me feeling down. What as the point in anything anymore? Why get dressed? Why keep the house tidy? Who was going to see it or me? I started scrolling again. This time I looked at Self Help books to make you Happy, Successful, a Positive Thinker, a Better Friend/Parent etc. My finger hovered over the buy button, but I hesitated. What if I failed to become happier, more successful, a better parent etc. That would really depress me.

 

So, I turned to light-hearted, feel good romance:

After a devastating broken romance, X comes home to a tiny village after 10 years away. Meets Y an old flame. Will they find love a second time around?

Q will never fall in love again after losing his heart to a cold female. J turns up and makes him think twice. Will he let J in and learn to love again?

D decides love isn’t for her; she’s going to make a go of her new business and overcome all the problems she meets on her own. She doesn’t need help. But does she? Can B persuade her to let down her defences?

The answer to all these blurb questions is Yes! of course.

By this time, certain things were causing problems: the cold tap in the bath had stopped working, my hair really needed cutting.

I turned to Youtube instead of books at this point. Feeling baffled and none the wiser, we ended up using the cold water from the shower head to cool the bath water. And unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I couldn’t find any decent, reasonably priced hair clippers available.

With the talk of future easing of lockdown, my mood lifted slightly. I found I could tackle more demanding books. Now I got into deep, dark psychological thrillers that leave you wondering who did what and why until the very end, when it all makes sense – well, usually…

And YA novels with lots of teenage angst, just to remind myself that getting older isn’t all bad news!

Well, what have you been reading lately?

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