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Pandemic & its accidental readers

As Covid locked people up in their homes in 2020, many turned to books to escape from the new normals being thrown at them  

Published: 03rd April 2021 01:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd April 2021 08:29 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD :  Books are a man’s best friend’, after dogs. What a cliche, many would say. But it is a cliche for a reason. In fact, the pandemic has proved that this saying is a classic. The nasty Covid-19 virus locked us up in our homes for three months in 2020, which seemed never-ending. It was so mean to us that we had to even plan our trips to the grocer and ration everything from milk to TP. Forget about grabbing a beer and hanging out with your chums at the nearest brewery.

With zilch social interaction, barring the countable hours spent on zoom calls in the name of WFH, many of us tried to get past the rough patch by ‘Netflixing’. But how much can one binge on OTTs. Arrgghh, it’s mind-numbing. 

“I have been working from home since March last year and this WFH might continue for longer. I used to watch so many movies and series on these OTT platforms that I got fed up. I needed a way to escape from all this. That’s when I started to read more,” Shiva Shankar, a 22-year-old transaction risk investigator at Amazon, said as he picked out Lee Child’s The Affair, Sidney Sheldon’s Doomsday Conspiracy and Dale Bailey’s House of Bones. 

The thriller buff was among many who took back home cartons of books from BookChor’s Lock The Box sale, which started on Friday and ends on April 11. Aeronautical engineer Sai Kiran, who recently cultivated the habit of reading, is now unstoppable. “Reading helps me escape into another world altogether,” the 23-year-old, who is all focused on getting his deep-tech drones startup up and running, said. For this, he picked up Propelled by Andreas Elpidorou, along with the some rom-com and crime fiction titles for a lighter read.  

The mean pandemic, which threatens to turn endemic, has also altered our preferences in books. Self-help, inspirational and mental health titles have suddenly become page-turners and are selling like hot cakes. “People are reading more. Books have become a strong alternative to the TV and mobile phone. Books on mental health are a roaring success even among young adults,” Vidyut Sharma, co-founder of BookChor.com, said. 

Psychologist Dr Diana Monteiro echoes similar thoughts; she attributes this to the increase in mental health needs among the people, who are now looking for more information and literature on well-being. Why the wait? Shut out the negative Covid vibes and snuggle up with your favourite author. This virus is here to stay!

 — Himabindu Reddy  himabindugopinath@newindianexpress.com @ahimureddy



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