Reading during a pandemic

Hannah Lorenzo, Copy Chief

With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening to impact the world with more vigor, it is difficult to find any reprieve from the virus that makes headlines wherever one goes. From more aggressive forms of the virus to mental and emotional instability, people everywhere are affected by COVID-19 one way or another. Which begs the question: Where can one find some manner of hope in the midst of a crisis?

While some may view the crisis with a negative outlook, it is also important to remember the little things, especially those that are cherished and still present in people’s lives. Whether they are hobbies, objects, or favorite past times, if one can hold onto something they love, the crisis no longer has to be the subject of anxiety and fear. 

Reading, for example, is one such activity that has its chance to bloom under these special circumstances. With COVID-19 forcing students to utilize Zoom, workers to conduct meetings through their laptops, and individuals to make their homes their semi-permanent habitats, the online forum has become a main source for people’s interests. 

Besides the daily online shopping rituals and social media, reading has the potential to reinvigorate life as it is indoors. Kindle subscriptions, eBooks, as well as physical book purchases cannot only boost businesses, but they can reawaken people from the boredom and fear they have been facing since the early months of 2020.

They say a book transports one to a world full of possibilities, and that mantra could not be more emphasized when it comes to the world today. Rather than incessantly checking the news and social media forums for negativity, one could open up their Kindle and dive into a coming of age novel with hopeful tones. And instead of lying in bed, thinking of worst-case scenarios, cuddling up in the covers while reading a romance can be the cheesy, stress reliever one never knew they needed.

Though some will argue that reading is a distraction that compels one to forget society’s major issues, it can also be said that reading maintains its status as one of inspiration. When dealing with problematic manners, a little positivity in the form of a good book becomes the metaphor for signifying what one considers important. It is more than just a distracting mechanism because when one’s focus turns to substances with uplifting spirits, those messages tend to change our mindsets for the betterment of society as a whole. 

Speaking from personal experience, during the beginning stages of the pandemic, my interests in reading increased due to the lack of outdoor opportunities, but instead of groveling, I felt more at ease. Paranormal stories became my go-to in my reading obsession, and every time I clicked on one, the supernatural component created the characters I came to identify and sympathize with. Though these books only truly exist within the pages, the magic and wonder found in the heroism and individuality connected to my own life. 

I hope to share through my reading journey the reset I felt after months of stress and frightening what-ifs. Books are escapes from the troubles one has, but they are not a coward’s way of fighting what is occurring now. Rather, the act of reading is a reflection of the present day and what one can make of the future ahead. 

COVID-19 continues to have a presence that will not easily disappear even with a glimpse of a vaccine. It can be defined as the antagonist, the growing shadow that lies in the darkness of the recesses of one’s mind. 

However, like all villains, one must determine themselves to be the hero of their own story to make it out. Reading creates this connection between books and individuals. No matter the genre, the descriptive imagery and plots relate to one’s personal story, and the one common thing that all of them have is the balance of pain and peace. And through that balance, people recognize that the completion of a story is the cycle of the real world that needs hopeful heroes.

Reading has the ability to allow one to see the world with special rose-colored glasses. Only in this case, their eyes view the crisis with the mindset that refuses to let the issues cloud their lives. That quick reprieve into the pages brightens the dreary landscape of threats to one’s physical and mental health. Even if people do not wield magic or are the destined saviors, they can realize how the brokenness of the world can be healed with a figurative touch.