Reading habits during the pandemic

Reading habits during the pandemic

Books dealing with anxiety and adversity are the top reads by borrowers in Docklands, according to lists of e-resources released by the City of Melbourne.

At the top of the list of e-books borrowed from Library at the Dock in April was the self help best-seller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

And in fourth place was Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, a memoir about anxiety.

“There’s a little bit of an existential theme,” Cr Dr Jackie Watts, chair of the council’s knowledge portfolio, said.

“Introspection is good for times you’re in a reflective frame of mind,” she said. “The reality is that we’re facing a new normal. Part of what we do is reading, putting us in other people’s worlds.”

Also on the e-books list was the Australian thriller The Nowhere Child by Christian White, which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award in 2018, and the non-fiction comedy This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay.

The advantage of e-resources is that there are fewer limits on the numbers that can be borrowed at once.

Books have been harder to come by, with bookshops reporting an increase in online orders.

There has been an extraordinary surge of 59 per cent in audio loans from Library at the Dock, 76 per cent in e-book loans and 184 per cent in e-films, with The Dressmaker and Carol at the top of the list.

“There’s also been an interest in politics,” Cr Watts said. Becoming by Michelle Obama and A Bigger Picture by Malcolm Turnbull are at the top of the audio books list, along with the novel Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty.

Reading habits are of interest to the council- or who worked as a business librarian during her career and who still remembers going to the circular brick library in Whitehorse Rd in the 1960s.

“When I was a young reader in Box Hill, you were not allowed to borrow fiction without borrowing non-fiction. You could borrow two or four books, “ she said.

This rule shaped her reading life. She said she got into animals, mountains and Antarctica, as well as stories.

She now reads the New Yorker, which has been difficult to get during the lock-down, and in her pile of books at Anglesea where she has spent the lockdown, are a John Grisham, a book on Robert Russell the artist, and a history by William Dalrymple.

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