Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Reading in the Year of Covid

Last year, about a month into “Lockdown Life”, the internet was a-buzz with ways to “pass the time”; reading was high on that list, for many people. Have you read more/more widely/differently/less during the past 12 months? Please tell us a bit about what, and why?

From Frank

My reading habits have not changed with Covid-19.

I have kept to the same formula for years now. I have a physical book on my nightstand, a digital one on my Kindle, and an audio one on my phone, and I read each in its appropriate time.

I'd say my time spent doing each has remained pretty steady, with the exception of audio. Over the past several months, I've started walking a lot more and longer, so podcasts and audiobooks have garnered a greater share of my attention.

Not much has changed due to Covid. In fact, even my daily life was affected far less than many of you. Simply put, I had become something of a hermit long before the virus hit.

Aside from monthly trips to Spokane to visit family, my biggest sojourn from the study was to the grocery store, the gym, or to take walks or bike rides. Most of my social life outside of my wife was interviewing authors for my podcast, going to two conferences a year, and doom-scrolling Twitter.

Once quarantine happened, the monthly trips became quarterly and then were suspended. I stopped going to the gym (boo!). I was still able to do outdoor stuff, though. I kept up the podcast (over 100 episodes now), but the conferences got canceled. Doom-scrolling became worse and I started to skirt Twitter.

Like everyone, I've watched more Netflix (and associated streamers) than usual. And if you pick good things to watch, it's almost like reading. And by good, I mean well-written, with good storytelling. These kinds of shows or films are not as common as you might think. It amazes me some of the crap that gets made while I look at some of the unadapted work out there that is absolutely golden.


Why is there not an Ellie Stone series on Netflix? Or The Last Ditch Motel on Amazon Prime? Samuel Craddock on Hulu? Charlie-316 on HBO? (I could go on, and that's just with people from this blog!).

Come on, Hollywood. Enough with reality TV. Let's tell some worthy stories.

Oh, wait, this post was supposed to be about reading in the year of Covid. Sorry. I got distracted. Even mildly outraged.

Reading in the last year? Yeah, for me... pretty much the same.

How about you?

If you want to try something a little different, my short story collection, Sugar Got Low, has an eclectic mix of stories in it. 

Like what? 

Well...  a tale of a pair of grifters... a prequel story to the well-regarded Ania series... several trips back to River City, and one to La Sombra, Texas... a Walter Mitty homage set in San Francisco... a deadly day in Roman Britain... the heartbreaking story of a junkie, and the suspenseful one of a murderer in a black car... and at the end of it all, the dark but inspiring title story of perseverance that was only made possible because of a misunderstood lyric.


Kevin R. Tipple said...

My reading did not really change either though I have a new category to avoid. Like books on cancer, or short stories that use cancer as the primary driver, I avoid all the Covid anthologies. I have zero interest in reading that stuff.

Unknown said...

Have loved reading MORE since this all started - and absolutely LOVED Sugar Got Low - and a lot of other collections and stories from authors like Frank Zafiro. I love crime fiction - the pictures a great story paints in the mind are a wonderful vacation. I have gotten my adventure and excitement through reading... one of the best ways I know.

Susan C Shea said...

I watched all over again Prime Suspect's 7 seasons. Now, there is great writing, acting, and crime fiction broadcasting.

Frank Zafiro said...

@Kevin, totally understand those choices. Although, I do think some of the Covid anthos have only been in support of the pandemic, not writing about it in the stories. I could be wrong.

@Unknown, I'm glad you've been reading more, and thanks for digging SGL!

@Susan, I'll have to give it a try! One I discovered and was sadly only one season was Netflix's Seven Seconds...

James W. Ziskin said...

Great post, Frank.

Thanks for the shoutout!


Kevin R. Tipple said...

Most of the anthos I have seen used Covid in the stories which is why I stayed away from them.

Frank Zafiro said...

@KEVIN, ugh. I completely agree, then.

@JIM, you bet!