JEAN WATT explores the performance of reading and social aspirations to appear ‘well-read’.  I am one book behind schedule on my 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge. The app smugly informs me of this fact as I decide to give up half-way through a book I had stopped enjoying. I feel panicked. To get back on schedule I have to quickly read two books to ensure that I don’t fall even further behind. I eye up my bookshelf, trying to select something that’s not too long. My only consideration is the speed at which I can finish it. I ask myself if I have stopped choosing books for my own enjoyment. If reading isn’t for me anymore, then who is it for? I downloaded Goodreads a few years ago. The app allows you to create reading lists, record books you’ve read, want to read and are reading. I’m a big reader when…Continue Reading

On Performative Reading

SHANTI GIOVANNETTI-SINGH explores the transformative power of literature in times of quarantine.  On Monday 23rd March, Boris Johnson announced a UK lockdown in the attempt to tackle the spread of Covid-19. This frightening and profoundly unprecedented period is encapsulated by one clear, albeit surprisingly challenging, command: stay home. For the first time, in centuries perhaps, we have been ordered, by law, to remain inside the increasingly claustrophobic confines of our own homes. This bizarre experience, in which we must shun the outdoors and refrain from social gatherings, is so very alien and fearful to the majority of the population. From anxiety, to frustration, to boredom, this period of quarantine has evoked a range of emotions and responses. Whilst of course, the circumstance of this forced isolation is singular- it is the result of a deadly pandemic which is ravaging communities and putting millions of individuals at risk- my personal experience…Continue Reading

Literature for lockdown