I discovered that I can enjoy reading more than one book at a time, which was something of a revelation.

Contributor: Pat Aske

Have you read more or less during lockdown, or much the same as usual?

More. When I was a working Librarian, I only found time to read at night but that has all changed.  I now have more time to read during the day.

Has lockdown affected your choice of reading material?

Definitely.  I discovered that I can enjoy reading more than one book at a time, which was something of a revelation.

Have you switched from your normal genre? eg started reading poetry, short stories, non fiction, drama?

Yes, I used to read mainly novels but now I read non-fiction (biographies or histories) during the day and read novels at night.

Have you been using reading in a different way – for example for comfort, raising your spirits, escapism, distraction?

Yes, reading during the day certainly helps pass the time profitably and is a good distraction.

Have you been finding it harder to concentrate during lockdown?

No, not until now when it seems lockdown is coming to an end and the future seems a bit uncertain.

Have you started books and been unable to finish them?

Well, I rarely do that, but I must confess to having abandoned Ulysses half-way through.  I have every intention of picking it up again, though.

Where do you get inspiration for titles? 

Reviews sometimes, word of mouth, but usually by browsing in Heffers.

Where are you sourcing your books/audiobooks from?

I have ordered some books online from Bookshop which supports independent booksellers and I have a small pile of presents waiting to be read.

Have you embarked on reading all the books you already own but have never read?

I did start doing that but there were too many tempting new books to read.

Have you been listening to audiobooks rather than reading? If so, does listening add something to your experience of the book that you wouldn’t get by reading it yourself?

I have not but I may do that in the future.  At the moment I listen to the radio as an alternative to reading but I will try audio books.

Have you been reading books about pandemics? eg The Plague by Albert Camus, Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Roses of Eyam by Don Taylor etc?

I have not read any books about pandemics since Covid but before this crisis I had read The road by Cormac McCarthy which was harrowing and terrifying.  

Can you recommend up to 5 books/audiobooks that you have enjoyed during lockdown?

William Dalrymple: The Anarchy

Robert Hughes: Rome

Sebastian Barry: Days without End

Hilary Mantel: The Mirror and the Light

Absolute favourite- Philip Pullman: The Secret Commonwealth

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