Wednesday 10 February 2021

How books helped us through lockdown

My name is Diane and unlike most of the bloggers I am not a librarian, but I do enjoy reading.

Image by Thomas Frisch from Pixabay 

The 21st January saw the CLG host their first meeting of 2021. The online talk was about how books had helped our three speakers through lockdown. Sarah kickstarted us off. She explained, that as she had been furloughed for 32 weeks of the year, she had read an impressive 729 books. She told us that she enjoyed re-reading old favourites, that she almost knows by heart, and crime. She went on to describe how she loves a series of novels, something I can relate to. She also read books that had been recommended to her and discovered a new series, Biggles.

Her reading allowed her access to crimes that are being republished by the British Library, focusing on novels where the guilty would be discovered and punished without the need for gore.

She told us that she had managed to read the amount that she had as has no television and most importantly has a Kindle and a linked Amazon Prime account and this enables her to download a lot of books cheaply and gives access to a plethora of material easily.

Our next speaker was Shaun. He had likened himself to various characters that had sprung from the pages of the books he read, finding comfort in the words from The Lonely City by Olivia Laing. He took us on a journey, starting with the loneliness that lockdown has brought and the excitement of freeing the imagination and allowing the mind to experience places and people that only comes with books. His books allowed him to time travel to places, that only months ago I was taking for granted, like coffee shops and having people over.

Katherine ended our trio of talks. With no particular genre to discuss she will pick up a book and give anything a go. Whilst the board gamer in me was shunning Pandemic, she started reading novels based around pandemics, namely Stephen Kings' novel Sleeping Beauties.

She found escapism in fantasy books, finding herself lost in other worlds as she could remove herself from Covid-19. She read 166 books in 2020, including Game of Thrones. She listed her Top Favourites as Great Expectations - Charles Dickens; The Book Thief, Markus Zusak; The Tenth Muse - Catherine Chung; and The Midnight Library - Matt Haig.

Following these talks I realised how much of bigger world there was to reading (so much more than Harry Potter) and not to be afraid of not liking a book.

The floor (or microphones on) was then opened and the debate over physical books vs the Kindle vs audiobooks was the first question posed. The general consensus was that physical books were brilliant, the Kindle was brilliant and audiobooks are brilliant. They each have their own place in the world of books. There is something about having a book in your hand, but a Kindle is so convenient if you are travelling, and many have a backlight allowing late-night reading. Audiobooks work well if you are using your hands to do something else or you want something to listen too. Personally, nothing will beat a physical book. There is something about the smell and feel of a book.

We discovered that many of us read in bed.

The talks were amazing, informative and the general feel was books give permission for imagination to take hold and you can discover things that films just cannot achieve. Books build characterisation and whilst it gives the bones of a person, you bring flesh to individual and the smells they smell and length of their stride. Books are an experience. All you have to do is open the cover and let it take you on a wonderous adventure.

Image by un-perfekt from Pixabay 

Post contributed by Diane Symonds (CLG Committee)