Quarantine is a Great Time to Read!

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”

― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

If you’re an avid news consumer, you might have noticed that the news has been sort of slow these past few weeks. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they’re still reporting (apparently there’s some sort of virus going around?) but with the world shut down, there’s not a lot of non-corona related news happening.

There are, however, many articles on “things to do at home,” the majority of which are lists of television shows to watch. Do you want great movies about diseases? Mindless comedies? The best shows on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or Amazon Prime? You can find all of that and more. Because, of course: people are home with nothing to do, feeling lazy, so it’s natural they turn to some television as an escape.

However, I think it’s important that we don’t just spend this next month sitting around watching television. You can only watch so many comedies, after all. In this time, sitting around with nothing to do, you should be doing one of the greatest pleasures in life: reading.

The most common excuse for not reading is a lack of time. Well, guess what? Now we all have plenty of time with nothing to do. And, rather than spending this time letting your brain waste away, spend this time thinking and imagining and learning.

Read. Read memoirs of people who have never lived, descriptions of worlds that aren’t real, and chronologies of events that never happened. Read strange fantasies about wizards and witches and dwarves and elves, read science fiction stories that have no basis in real science. Get lost in a world that never existed.

Read. Read skinny books about how to live life and fat books about the lives of other people. Read books that made the bestseller’s list this year and books that were popular two centuries ago. Read books with pictures and books with lots of complicated words that you don’t understand, and then look up those words and keep reading.

Read. Read about historical events that changed your life in ways that you never knew. Read about the history of the United States, of Europe, of Africa, of Asia. Read the history of marginalized people, the history of revolutions, of war, of genocide, of human stupidity. Read about the mistakes the world has made over and over again. 

Read. Read the accounts of people you have never met, of lives you will never understand. Read stories about men, women, white people, black people, rich people, poor people. Criminals, politicians, convicts, prostitutes, drug addicts, terrorists, revolutionaries, protesters, soldiers. Read about the survivors. Read until you feel what they feel. Read to become a better, more empathetic person. 

Read. Read about teenagers, about people struggling to fit in, about people struggling to find their place in the world, about people struggling to stand out, about people who are afraid. Read to know you are not alone.  If you need some recommendations, click over to the Click Here to Procrastinate section of The Fairviewer