We are a family of readers. Still, during the pandemic things change. Not only is my wife working from home, my daughter is also here, doing the same. This seemed to be the most logical thing, given that her housemates weren’t working from home, and who needs pointless potential exposure? What became clear to all of us is that pandemic normal was actually close to our normal normal. I mean, I don’t get out as much on weekends now, but other than the panic, Monday through Friday are pretty much the same as always. Awake obscenely early. Start work before sunrise. Finish work, eat supper, go to bed. The real change has been on my reading habits.
When things are “normal” (if that word can ever apply to me), during the time my wife drives home from work, I read. I also read in the morning and before going to bed, but that latter doesn’t last long if I’m tired. Now, however, we’re all here and after work is over family time begins. I don’t begrudge this for a nanosecond, but it does affect my reading habits. You see, self-isolation has been a way of life for me long before the pandemic began. Not necessarily because I wanted it this way, but I have always tried to preserve time for books. I don’t have the reading time of a professor, so I have to carve it out of personal time. In situations like this even bibliophiles have to admit that people are more important than books. Still, with only essential businesses open, and Amazon delivering only essential items, books have fallen between the cracks. Some of us consider them essential.
My daughter said the other day that not being able to buy books was worrying. Indeed it is. We’re pretty well stocked here for reading material. I’ve got plenty of books I want to read, but I lack the time. Also, one of my reading challenges specifies the particular types of books I need to target, including recent ones. How am I to get them? Our local library is closed. As are the bookstores. It’s beginning to feel like an episode of The Twilight Zone—being isolated but not having access to new books. At work they’re suggesting which television shows to binge watch during the long hours of enforced alone time. Me, I standing in front of my bookshelves staring in wonder and indecision. Pandemic or no pandemic, it is time to read.