Pandemic Reading

I’m a reader – long-term, confirmed, committed – I simply cannot imagine how I would cope without it. For me, there’s no emotional strife which cannot be calmed by withdrawing into a book – or at least there hasn’t been to date. Why then, have I only managed to read 4 books since the UK went into lock-down.

One reason could be that as a long-time home worker, my weekday routine has been little altered. Unfortunately, the little it has altered, has left me with less spare time instead of more. A second reason is my self-imposed post-op regime of walking for 5 minutes once an hour. Normally, I would become engrossed in a book, and the hours would simply fly by. Now I’m on edge, waiting for my alarm to go off, or constantly looking up at the clock to check the time. Not a practice for relaxed reading. The third reason is that like many of us, I am suffering from heightened anxiety and depression. The latter I’m used to dealing with – reading and my intermittent depression are good bedfellows – but anxiety is another thing altogether. Depression and snuggling up under the bedclothes, or on the sofa with a blanket and a cuppa are normal, whereas anxiety keeps you on the edge, fidgety, unable to settle or concentrate.

Anxiety – especially at such a heightened level – is a new experience for many of us, so I cast about to see what my fellow readers were doing to solve the problem. Many are listening instead of reading, and I can see how this could be soothing, especially due to it’s connotations of childhood. As part of my bedtime routine, I use a guided meditation practice before listening to a sleep story. It’s rare that I have to listen to a second story, so I fear I’d be inclined to nod off if read to now. Other recommendations are to select lightweight reading matter, more escapist subject matter, a thriller or mystery story to grab attention.

I came to the conclusion the problem is I’m trying to read as normal – and nothing about now is normal. Two of the newest suggestions I’ve seen are to read children’s books – most specifically those you enjoyed in your childhood, or to re-read favourites. Having a massive To Be Read list, I’ve largely steered away from adding anything old to be re-read, especially as I’ve a fear that a much loved or admired old read will turn out to be disappointing the second time round – for this happened to me recently. So, I’ve trudged on … but I’ve now a vague hankering to try some Enid Blyton. Have I regressed …?

How are your anxiety levels? Are they preventing you doing what you love? Have you found new methods to soothe yourself?

ยฉ Debra Carey, 2020


  1. debscarey

    Now there’s an excellent idea Deb. And it won’t make me look as childish as my selection ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you!


  2. debscarey

    You Michael? It’s a positive pandemic. I’m envious of your being able to write more, for I’ve been struggling there too. But I think & hope the cloud is starting to lift in both areas – hopefully it will lift soon for you too with fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Michael Graeme

    Thanks. I’m guessing fiction’s taken a back seat because with current affairs as they are, you couldn’t make it up. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. debscarey

    I’d laugh, except it would be hollow ๐Ÿ™‚ But I think that’s a very apt observation. What I’ve been able to read has been non-fiction or children’s fiction, so not my usual style at all.


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