Books have always been a way to escape – something which is more vital than ever during these strange times amid the pandemic. Our reading habits reflect our precarious reality. As the nation has muddled through a deadly pandemic and racial reckoning under a cloud of exhaustion and dread, we’ve used books to flee this situation. We’ve found catharsis in apocalyptic science fiction and comfort in romance; advice in self help guide and a moment of peace. The past couple of months have upended our regular ways of living life , quarantined at houses , working from home and staying at home , social distancing had made life difficult building up stress and depression, people tend to find comfort in certain books , and reading habits and genre preference can change during period of stress .
There is an evident rise in the sale of books, books about (literal and metaphorical) isolation, like Sylvia Plath’s The bell jar and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love intimes of Cholerawere high on sale. Reading were more than usual largely because readers were having more free time due to being furloughed , or not having a commute , or the usual social obligation or leisure activities. Many found the lockdown to be a great opportunity to explore things they didn’t normally have the time or desire to read, like hefty classics which earlier seem to be heavy and dull and some to fill the gap of knowledge.
Much as with the choice of genre, browsers generally fell into two sections: those that read for exploration and those that re-read for safety. The re-readers found solace in previously read books familiar plots and known emotional registers helped stressed out readers avoid suspense and surprise .But the readers with exploration were louder.
People embraced audiobooks and e-books, even as print sales slumped, library system seen an uptick in e-book and audiobook downloads since the deadly virus forced to vary around.
However there is different joy of the reading the printed book which gives the sense of nostalgia and nothing could beat the musty smell of the novels , just lounging on the couch with a mug coffee and mesmerising into the books , reading in between line and visualising is the most favourite pastime during the pandemic.