The pandemic has changed reading habits. I have some friends who’ve expressed concerns that during the Covid19 chaos and subsequent Lockdowns, that they’ve stopped reading. Others seem to be overjoyed at rediscovering books and the places they take you, that if only temporally, it gives you an escape from reality (press here to see more).
Book sales are up and according to reports its mostly classic titles or books by establish authors that people are purchasing, (press here to find out more). As people use the extra time to catch up on the reading they’ve always meant to do, or crave the familiar and revisit old favourites.
There, been some big stories, from celebrities learning to love reading again, (press here) to illiterate adults who have spent lockdown learning to read (press here).
One thing is certain, for better or for worse the pandemic and lockdown has changed peoples reading habits. I’ve bucked the trend. I am not reading less, or more. I’ve also not returned to old favourites, or embarked on devouring classics. But my reading habits have changed.
Usually I exclusively read kids and YA fiction, however I’ve found that I’m reading less children’s books, I just can’t seem to finish them (don’t worry I’m passionate about kids lit, so I’m sure it's temporary), and I have opted for an eclectic mix of books which is actually a balance of adults fiction and non-fiction.
So the books that have got me through the pandemic so far are …
The Smart Neanderthal, Clive Finlayson – A non-fiction book about the authors research into Neanderthal, and primarily their relationships with birds, from the evidence found within the caves of the Gibraltar Rock, and how’s it challenged and changed the way Neanderthal, are viewed.
How to Think like a Neanderthal – Thomas Wynn and Frederick L. Coolidge – a non-fiction book that examines the anthropological evidence about Neanderthals and how this can be assembled to give us a greater understanding about how they lived and possibly how they thought.
How to Clone a Mammoth, The Science of De-Extinction - Beth Shapiro – A non-fiction exploration about genetic and cloning and how it can be applied to help endangered animals and combat global warming.
Mammoths, Ice age Giants- Adam Lister – non Fiction beautifully illustrated book crammed full of facts about this ice-age mega-fauna.
Get a Grip on Genetics – Martin Brookes - A beginner’s guide to genetics in easy to consume bitesize chunks.
The Hedgehog Handbook – Sally Coulthard – A beautiful charming non-fiction book, with a month by month account of a hedgehog’s life in the wild. Juxtaposed with facts about their dwindling numbers, challenges, and what we can do to help, paired with exquisite illustrations.
Jumbo , This being the True Story of The Greatest Elephant in the World – Paul Chambers – A nonfiction biography about the world most famous ever elephant.
The American Gods Quintet - Neil Gainman – finally getting around to reading the two novels and two novella, that have been recommended to me by so many friends. Loved being immersed in the deliciously dark and bonkers world of forgotten deities
The Constant Rabbit – Jasper Fforde – A trippy trip to an alternative version of the UK, with talking animorphised rabbits. Bonkers and brilliant.
Mammoth – Chris Flynn; A creative non-fiction/ fiction (I’m not sure) biographical account of one American Mastodon’s existence in life and after death when his soul is woken as his fossilised remains are unearthed. Recounted by the creature himself, to other artefacts as they await the action where they'll be sold off. This is charming, original and such a breath of fresh air. A true masterpiece.
The Library of the Unwritten – A. J. Hackwith; Step in into the library in Hell where all unwritten books are stored, sometimes waking up, manifested into one of the characters and are restless (or mad) as their story arch's haven't been finished. Plus a war brewing between Heaven and Hell that only a Librarian, a muse, a woken book and a demonized soul of a teenage boy can prevent.
If you need any motivation to crack on and get an unfinished manuscript completed, then read this. After reading this, I picked up a story I started in 2013 and finished it, as so not to torment my characters!
The Boy the Horse the Fox and the Mole: I was so late discovering this book, but it is so beautiful, and the perfect antidote to the pandemic, which the whole family fell in love with it, so we brought copied an got them sent to friends and family.
These books really helped me get through the pandemic so far , I don’t know exactly why my reading habits during these strange times has changed, or why I’ve changed the ratio of my reading to be more non-fiction, but it has indeed changed. One thing I’m grateful for, is that I am still reading. As Mason Cooley said, ‘Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”
Also, I know this may not look like much reading, but I am dyslexic and my reading is painfully slow!