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Comfort Reading in Lockdown

You might not be surprised to know that there is a record of the books that we read – I don’t know how it started but there might be a touch of competition involved in the BookLore household. It might say something that when you look at my reading from 2020, it mainly consists of re-reading favourites.

I do re-read books, I like re-reading series in preparation for the latest instalment and I will defend that right unto death by a thousand paper cuts. 2020 was the ultimate comfort-reading binge. I am sure that I am not the only reader who escaped the tidal wave of global misery into a land of imagination and comfort. I did not feel able to watch the news, I listened to Radio 4 in a morning on the way to work and sang along to pop songs on Lincs FM as I drove home. We binge watched box sets and did Zoom Book Club Meetings. I would imagine that a significant proportion of the new books (previously unknown by author or suggested by SFX) were from the East Markham Book Club, otherwise I would quite happily have not read anything new for an entire year.

I worked my way through Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, the first thirteen of Raymond F Feist’s Midkemia series, Garth Nix Abhorsen series, a bit of Christopher Brookmyre and Dan Brown, in total I read only 38 new books out of 96 books in the whole year.

Do you know what? I do not regret it at all – there are memes on Facebook (I adore the Goodwill Librarian) which are dedicated to the joys of reading and I empathise completely, the pleasure of a cup of tea (I cannot drink alcohol whilst reading, but cheers to those who can) in a special reading spot is a wonderful privilege.

2021 has come along with a ridiculous addiction to Agatha Christie (one book for Book Club, any Agatha Christie, but only one) has gotten a bit out of hand (24 to date), but as I have not read any since I was about 12, I really not think that they do not count as re-reading; then some other new stuff is starting to creep in, so this year will not be quite such a familiar book-scape.

However you engage with books, and I appreciate that I am not normal, it is always nice to meet you, I love meeting people in our waiting room with a book and exchanging a recommendation or two. The joys of belonging to a reading community are many, you step outside your usual genre choice and you may find a gem that you would never have happened across any other way. I fell in love with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, a book that I would never, in a million years, have chosen for myself, well, maybe before that but I would have read and re-read everything else by then, and do you know, I loved it. It was a real pleasure and that is what reading is all about, that surprise, that frisson of pleasure as the words travel from the page to your heart via the eyes and brain.

Chrissi - 1st May 2021

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