The pandemic has given me the chance to diversify the types of literature I’m reading.
As a bookworm, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a book on the go. Before the first lockdown, nine times out of ten it would be a novel, often a Rankin or Le Carre. The pandemic, however, has changed this. Now, rather than constantly reading fiction, I have found myself gravitating towards non-fiction. The newfound time to read has broadened my reading horizon into books on politics, world history and popular science. Ultimately, I have now been able to find a balance between my non-fiction and fiction reading.
There were periods of the pandemic that weren’t so smooth-sailing when it came to my reading. Due to the nature of my course, English Literature and Creative Writing, there is a lot of compulsory literature. Because of this, I would go for a month or so without reading for my own pleasure, feeling weighed down by the amount of reading my course offered. I was drowning in course content, and I couldn’t find my way out of my reading slump. A general lack of motivation to read – a rarity in my previous bookworm life – wasn’t ideal when it came to needing distractions.
Around the period I was struggling to read books for pleasure, I began to drift away from literature and towards listening to podcasts. One podcast that seemed to blur the lines between fiction and non-fiction was George the Poet’s ‘Have You Heard George’s Podcast?’. Seeing the creativity of this podcast helped reignite my love of reading.
The final way my reading has changed over the past 18 months is through the forms of fiction I’ve been reading. I would rarely stray from the novel format but now I find myself delving into short story collections or poetry – even more so than my previously favoured novels. I have begun to read more poetry in the present day, with collections from Inua Ellams and Kae Tempest.
The pandemic has given me a space to not only diversify the type of literature I’m reading, but also to finally catch up with the books I’ve long had on my list. More importantly, these past 18 months have made me realise I have a bad habit of buying five books for every one that I read!