Reading During a Pandemic

What weird, scary times we’re living in right now. I’m currently social-distancing with my family, so you would assume that a bookworm being at home all the time would equal lots more reading time. But, I’ve only just managed to finish my first book in weeks, and that was due to making a conscious effort.

Whenever I feel stressed or anxious, I find it hard to concentrate enough to get sucked into the world of a book. With current pandemic events, it’s fair to say my mind has been more than a bit preoccupied. I also can’t stop thinking about how a virus that overruns the world is the start of so many dystopian novels; Station Eleven was one of my favourite reads of last year – where the Georgia Flu wipes out a majority of the population – so that’s all a bit disconcerting…

Reading to Escape Reality

So, this week I literally forced myself to read – to make myself put my phone down and not scroll through endless news feeds and Twitter posts that I knew were just adding to my stress levels. And you know what? It felt good. I’ve learnt that in these uncertain times, I may have to force myself to read – which in itself is a new experience for me – but the escapism is completely worth it. The shift of focus from real life events to the world of a book is a break that’s so needed right now.

pandemic reading books on the 7:47 book review

I think my choice of book helped too; I wanted something light, that I knew would be easy to read and not put me through an emotional wringer. So I had a little look on my neglected Kindle shelf and found Us Three, the new novel from actress, writer and star of Gavin & Stacey, Ruth Jones. I’m not going to say it’s the best book I’ve ever read, but it was an engaging, often funny story that does now hold a special place in my reading list for giving me mental respite when I really needed it.

I hope you’re all safe and getting through this as best as you can. We’re all in this together and – as I keep reminding myself – it’s not forever. One day we will be able to look back on this as a slice of history and, inevitably, read about it as the backdrop to events in 1,000 novels over the coming years!

I’d love to know if you’re using reading as a coping mechanism during this pandemic? Also, please give me all the feel-good book recommendations!

17 thoughts

  1. Great post! I’m definitely using reading as an escape during this time. Like you, I’ve had to physically distance myself from my phone so that I can concentrate on reading instead of worrying endlessly.

    Beth O’Leary’s “The Flatshare” was something I read just last night that took my mind off it for a good 4 hours. It’s a feel-good, epistolary-ish roommates-to-lovers romance with believable character development and a lot of genuinely funny moments. It was quite uplifiting and just the distraction I needed.

    Hoping you’ll stay safe and sane during this time, and that this will soon pass. ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve had trouble concentrating on reading too. I’m working from home and although I’m keeping normal hours, I feel a bit like my routine has gone to pot! Also, the constantly refreshing of news sources on my phone isn’t helping!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve felt like I’m living in a dystopian novel this week, much like yourself I’ve struggled to focus and have had to limit how much time I spend watching the news as it was making me feel increasingly fearful and anxious. Hope you’re safe and well. X

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Currently reading a memoir called Educated by Tara Westover! It weirdly links to our current lockdown situation so is an interesting read x

    Liked by 1 person

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