Lockdown 3.0 has caused many of us, particularly students, to fall in love with reading. When there is nothing new or exciting to watch on Netflix and no classes to physically attend, many of us have resorted to dusting off our old, neglected novels and spend our days reading.
According to The Guardian, people in the UK have almost doubled the amount of time they spend with their heads in a book; popular genres include thrillers and crime, whilst, unsurprisingly, people seem to be avoiding dystopian themes.
Vanita Dawra Nangia from The Times of India suggests that we tend to lean towards thriller and crime books during times of adversity (such as a national lockdown) because we crave a sense of law and order in our lives, ‘We are all used to certain patterns of life and human behaviour and get upset when there is a disturbance in that pattern. It is this that fires our need to understand what lies behind broken minds and morally ambiguous humans who think nothing of crossing the lines we set ourselves.’ This partly explains why these books can offer us much needed escapism during this time.
Students aren’t the exception in this craze of rediscovering books. Some of the best-selling books of 2020 were purchased by students, such as Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. As previously mentioned, this could be because of our need to escape; like many others, the Coronavirus has temporarily taken away our social, as well as educational, lives.
Additionally, students who read for pleasure outside of their educational texts tend to have a better understanding of the world around them and enable them to ‘learn the vocabulary they need to effectively communicate their thoughts, ideas, hopes’, as stated by Scholastic, a website dedicated to students and teachers.
However, this could also be about our desire, as a future generation of adults and leaders, to be informed and aware about situations that could happen, no matter how unlikely they seem. In 2005, Peter May’s novel Lockdown was rejected by many publishers, who deemed the storyline as being too unrealistic. Similar to the state of emergency we find ourselves in, the story outlines a London shut down by an outbreak of the bird flu, which was, at the time, predicted to cause a major health crisis.
Nevertheless, 15 years later, the book has finally been published by Quercus Books. Twitter users were shocked at the similarities the story presents to the realities that we are living in, with one reader claiming: ‘I find it easier to read about people wearing masks, who are scared of being near others, than about people doing ‘normal’ things!’ No one ever expected our University experience, and our overall lives, to be impacted by a global pandemic, so it is novels like these that have made us more conscious of ourselves and the world around us.
No matter what genre of book you prefer, spending an hour or two reading each day can work wonders, as well as help you to pass the time. So, grab a cup of tea, crack open your book and settle down.