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After a year of sloth, I’ve rediscovered the joy of immersing myself in a book | Emma Brockes

It took my six-year-olds to shame me out of my pandemic rut, and now I’m back in love with the printed word Since the beginning of the pandemic, a low-key but persistent source of irritation has been how impossible it is to focus. “I can’t do anything,” is a line I’ve exchanged with friends countless times, by which we mean anything more energetic than scrolling. For the past 12 months, at the end of most days, the scene has been exactly the same; I’m out cold on the sofa, dazed from hours of binge-watching, as a prelude to dragging myself to bed. It’s a dull, depressing and nutrient-free way to pass the time. It’s also a hard habit to break. For many of us, the biggest casualty has been reading. Books – in particular, in my case, fiction – have seemed to require unearthly levels of engagement. For months at a time, no book has appealed, and every title picked up has been put down. Across my apartment, along with the unwashed cups and stray socks, is an archipelago of books started and abandoned. As the pandemic wore on, the New York public library system stopped charging fines for late returns, removing the single incentive I had to finish anything. Emma Brockes is a Guardian columnist Continue reading...

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