There is always an emphasis on learning when it comes to the benefits of a book, but equally books can entertain us, comfort us, or help us escape from current concerns or anxieties.
Despite all this, with the rise, and rise, of social media there has been a marked decline in social reading amongst children with a survey in 2019 reporting that just over a quarter (25.7%) of those aged 8-18 read every day compared to 43% in 2015.
However, our current lockdown offers the perfect opportunity to finally read those books that have been sitting on our bookshelves or bedside tables waiting to be read. There has already been evidence of book stockpiling, with book sales in the week ahead of Boris Johnson announcing the lockdown book sales rising 32%, whiles chidren’s books went up 234% to the third highest level on record. Subsequent to this Waterstones have seen its online sales rising by 400% week on week.
So for all you less than avid readers, where do you start, what might be the lockdown book of choice? We decided to give you a bit of help by asking a cross section of students what they are currently reading in the hope we might inspire you to give one of them a go yourself.
For my literature lockdown I’m re-reading Ian McEwan’s Atonement – my favourite novel and reading Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye for the first time
Half a world away by Mike Gayle and the Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris!
I’m currently reading Freakonomics. It’s uncovering some interesting questions like what sumowrestlers and teachers have in common, as well as the specifics of how some people are dishonest on dating websites!
I’m currently reading the Game of Thrones series for the first time (I’m on book two). The story is so absorbing I don’t notice when I turn a page.
Just dropping you an email to let you know of my favourite books that I’d like to recommend to others in lockdown: Last Bus to Everland, The Little Prince and How to be mindful by Anna Barnes. I really liked them and thought other people might like them too!
I am currently reading “Calme-toi, Lison” by Jean Frémon (in original French) as a part of developing my art practice, and “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac as leisure reading.
In terms of my lockdown literature, I’ve been reading a lot about Russian history and politics. I’m learning Russian with the aim of travelling there (once this all blows over) and seeing the country for myself. I’ve also a keen interest in the Caucasus region and Central Asia; Bishkek, Tashkent, Nur-Sultan etc are all places I want to visit.
My lockdown literature at the moment, then, consists of the following:
- Putin’s Oil – Martin Sixsmith
- Moscow Coup – Martin Sixsmith
- The Romanovs – Simon Sebag Montefiore
- The silence of the girls by Pat Barker
- Women and power; A manifesto updated by Mary Beard
- The binding by Bridget Collins
- Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
I’ve just finished my reading clubs current book, How to stop time by Matt Haig and started Forever X by Geraldine McCaughrean.
Hoping to get through some of my art books during isolation, such as Documents of Contemporary Art: Ruins (White Chapel) and What they didn’t teach you in art school by Rosalind Davis.
I’m reading And I’d Do It Again (London: Head of Zeus, 2017).
It’s the autobiography of Aimée Crocker (1864-1941), a free-spirited and unconventional Californian heiress. I came across her in my doctoral research. There’s already been an elopement, a divorce, a train plummeting into a ravine, and a shark attack, and I’m only on page 49. And none of those things was considered exciting enough to make the blurb which promises ‘cobra dances’, ‘headhunters’, and ‘murder’… Although I’m stuck at home I’m going on quite an adventure with this book.
I am reading at the moment,
- The Stage of Drawing: Gesture and Act by Avis Newman
- Happy: Finding joy in the everyday and letting go of perfect
On my current reading list is…
A NEW READ: Just Kids – Patti Smith – I’ve only recently started reading this, but already I love being able to access a more intimate and sentimental account of a well-known, iconic photographer like Robert Mapplethorpe.
And I’m REVISITING: Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot – maybe an existential ‘tragicomedy’ isn’t the appropriate thing to be recommending right now…regardless, I’m finding myself a bit comforted by its whacky, absurdist humour.
The Limit showcases the creativity that exists within the student population, creating a sense of community.