I listen to audiobooks or podcasts when I am out walking or doing something mundane like housework

Contributor: Nicky Morland

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

A little more.

Has lockdown affected your choice of reading material?


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

No, a mix of fiction and factual.

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


Have you been finding it harder to concentrate during lockdown?


Have you started books and been unable to finish them?

No. This does happen but hasn’t recently. 

Where do you get inspiration for titles? 

Mainly friends or via my bookclub. Sometimes from the radio. I get a regular email from Waterstones which gives me info on recently published books. My most recent inspiration came from an online talk by Kate Williams run by the National Archives on Emma Hamilton, England’s Mistress. I bought her book afterwards.

Where are you sourcing your books/audiobooks from?

Mostly Abebooks, so second hand. New books either Waterstones of Amazon. Audiobooks I get via Cambridgeshire Libraries.

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

Yes I have started reading the Tudor series (Phillipa Gregory) of which I had read a couple, had a number to read and filled in the gap (from Abebooks) so that I can read them in chronological order.

Have you been listening to audiobooks rather than reading? 

No, I listen to audiobooks or podcasts when I am out walking or doing something mundane like housework.

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

See my comment about the Hilary Mantel books below. 

I have just started Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo which has very little punctuation and a style of presentation that is perhaps (have only read a few pages) described as verse like. I have also got the audiobook on a reservation so that will be an interesting comparison.

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?

No not books. I get a lot of info and factual reading matter via links from the social media channels I follow especially via Twitter.

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


The John Shakespeare series of historical thrillers by Rory Clements. I had picked up one at the start of lockdown last year and enjoyed it so much bought the rest from the series. I have sent them off to my sister who I know will enjoy them.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. I have been telling everyone to read this true story.


All 3 of the Hilary Mantel series on Thomas Cromwell. They are abridged, though still 25 hours of listening in total. I had tried to read Wolf Hall a few years ago but couldn’t get along with it, however wanted to have ‘read’ the series.

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold.


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