I’ve been using novels as a good way of winding down at the end of the day

Contributor: Joe McIntyre

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

I’ve been reading more than usual.

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. Pretty much the same, but falling back on some old favourites to bring comfort.

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

I’ve been using novels as a good way of winding down at the end of the day, reading a chapter or two each night before bed.

Have you been finding it harder to concentrate during lockdown?

Certainly for long periods during the day, when I can be easily diverted to other activities. My concentration improves at night, but is short lived because I am tired.

Have you started books and been unable to finish them?

No, but I have purchased several books and then lost interest before starting them.

Where do you get inspiration for titles?

Often from television or radio interviews with authors, occasionally from an “if you liked this, you will want to read this…” type recommendations on websites.

Where are you sourcing your books/audiobooks from?

Amazon, I am afraid.

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

Yes, but I always have when doing things like cooking.

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?


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

Mrs Searwood’s Secret Weapon (Leonard Wibberley) – After escaping to the countryside after bomb-torn London, Mrs Searwood must contend not only with village life and the suspicions of the locals but also the unexpected arrival of her Indian spirit guide. A gentle romp with the stylings of an Ealing comedy.

A Christmas Cornucopia: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Yuletide Traditions (Mark Forsyth) – a fascinating debunking of much we accept about Christmas, revealing the truth about many of the traditions we take for granted.

The Space Cat series (Ruthven Todd) – a collection of four short children’s books, written in the middle of the Atomic Age, an alternate history of the race to the stars seen through the eyes of a thoughtful and intelligent feline narrator.

Period Piece (Gwen Raverat) – the reminiscences of Charles Darwin’s granddaughter, growing up in Cambridge at the end of the nineteenth century.

The Trigan Empire (various volumes, Don Lawrence et al) ongoing collection of the comic strip originally published in Look and Learn during the early sixties to the mid-eighties. Stunning artwork, digitally restored, chronicling the rise and fall of a great empire in a distant galaxy (with a nod or two to the myths surrounding the birth of the Roman Empire).



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