How the pandemic has changed my reading habits

Dog with long floppy ears has it's head in a book, a page of the book in on it's nose making it look like the dog is reading and turning the page. The book is placed on a cream blanket and the background behind the dog is blurred out

It was recently suggested to me by Shahrin, one of my favourite bloggers, that I do a post about all the books I have read so far this year because there’s been a lot! In less than 3 months I’ve read 16 books. Although I’ve read more than ever in such a short space of time, I have noticed a dramatic difference in the types of books I am reading. The pandemic has left everyone in a constant state of exhaustion and I have slowly been losing my ability to concentrate for long periods of time.

When it comes to reading, my concentration has slowly seeped away. Looking at a year a go I was sinking my teeth into challenging books and wasn’t afraid of experimental writing. Things started out as usual in January where I was trying to challenge myself with different genres, only to feel drained and left craving some easy reading.

Now, anything that requires massive amounts of attention is quickly discarded. Prose and drawn out character explorations send me to sleep. If there isn’t a clear plot and obvious sequence to the story, I am lost. I put this down to screen fatigue; whilst our lives may have slowed down, we are having to concentrate more than before. Below are some of the books I have read so far this year and how they are different from my usual reading habits.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Set in a world where Trump was never President, Red, White & Royal Blue is the perfect escape from reality. Following Alex, first son of the Us and Henry, Prince of the United Kingdom as they try to hide their love from prying eyes, racists and homophobes, all whilst trying to navigate growing up under the scrutiny of the public. Romance is probably the genre I read the least, (out of the 16 books I’ve read so far this year, Red, White & Royal Blue is the only one I have read) but McQuiston offers a breath of fresh air to an otherwise saturated genre.

The Guest List by Lucey Foley

In an unexpected turn of events, I have found that who dun it thrillers are the best genre to immerse myself in at the moment. Compared with 2020 where I read 2 crime thrillers, this year I have already read 4. The Guest List has multiple narratives giving their timeline of events that lead up to a murder at a wedding on a remote Irish island. I also read Foley’s first thriller, The Hunting Party, which felt like a test for her to work out how multiple narratives can work. With The Hunting Party I guessed pretty quickly who the victim and killer were, but, with The Guest List I had no idea until the end.

The Radleys by Matt Haig

The Radleys are a family of vampires trying to live discreetly as ordinary people in a sleepy British village. You are probably thinking it’s just another Twilight; I can assure you it’s not. For a start it’s a dark comedy, and it’s nice to read a novel about vampires that isn’t taken too seriously. Haig also gets the insecurities and embarrassment of being a teenager spot on. And, the icing on the cake – there is zero gas lighting.

What I like about Haig is that all his works of fiction are completely different. The Radleys worked so well for me, especially at the moment because it’s a bit silly and fun – definitely need some of that during a global pandemic!

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

As you may already know memoirs are one of my favourite genres, however since my concentration lapse I haven’t read that many, preferring to escape the realities of real life and immerse myself in fiction. In The Complete Persepolis, Satrapi details growing up in Tehran during the Islamic revolution through black and white comic strips. She covers hard hitting subjects which were easier to digest in the story board format, and, because of this made it an easy read.

I am currently fully immersed in The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue; a fantasy fiction about a woman who makes a deal to live forever but be forgotten by everyone she meets. That is until one day she stumbles across a man who remembers who she is…

Have you noticed your reading habits have changed over the last year? How has the pandemic affected what you read?

12 Comments

  1. I very recently read The Radleys too! Matt Haig is one of my favourite authors, and he writes with so much human understanding and compassion, even for vampires!

    I definitely think I’ve been reading more due to lockdown, but I’ve also been experimenting more with different genres too 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interested to hear about ‘The Radleys’. I love Matt Haig but haven’t read this one. I read loads of detective/mystery novels and found Lucy Foley’s the least challenging, although very easy to read. I can’t read anything unpleasant at the moment, but I can still read more challenging books – one of the benefits of not working!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Again, amazed at how you’ve read 16 books. I’ve only managed 9 and haven’t read a page in the last week. 🙈
    I definitely think I got back to reading thanks to the pandemic and blogging. All of you suggest such wonderful books that I just HAVE to read them. Adding ‘The Radleys’ to be TBR. Persepolis is a favourite of mine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 9 is still a lot! I think I’ve only read so many because they’ve generally been so basic lol.
      I do agree that the pandemic has helped with my reading and blogging but it has changed the longer it’s been going on xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was very much looking forward to this post🙌🏽😘

    Since you mentioned it in your last post —I realised the reason why I am reading less as the weeks go by is because I am craving a different easy to read genre. I was having such a wild ride with impressive literature that requires you to slow down and pay attention but right now I don’t have the energy to do that.

    I have read “Guest list” the other day and I ABSOLUTELY loved it. Way better than the first book she wrote. Really looking forward to what else she writes🌼

    Thank you for your lovely words👏🏾😘😘 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome 😘
      Yeah it’s definetely down to lack of energy.
      I’m also really looking forward to what she does next. Feel like they get better each time 💕

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi,
    I think it is amazing that you have read so many books. I have read one a month since the beginning of the year. One of them was The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I loved it. I switched gears in March from novels to… I guess it would be self-help. I am reading and working through the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. One of the habits I want to improve is reading more regularly. It seems like a great, simple book if you want to stop old habits and develop new ones. I am missing the feelings and connectedness of a great story. Does anybody here read more than one book at a time?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have definitely been reaching for easier reads in recent times, Shuggie Bain is almost gathering dust on my to-read pile. I am currently reading a trashy crime thriller and am really enjoying it.

    Liked by 2 people

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