This June, we are asking you what you're reading, we're supporting Black Lives Matter in the British Army, we're looking forward to our second webinar, and we're evaluating the merits of science fiction to a military education.
"You are travelling essentially. Reading is a state of freedom - the freedom of the mind, the freedom of the imagination, and there is no better cure to feeling nailed to the spot than reading"
The Hay Festival, the UK's biggest literary event, experienced unexpected success last month after being forced online by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite cancelling the caterers, the tents, and even the visitors, this year's festival doubled in size as people all over the world, all similarly 'nailed to the spot' by their respective lockdowns, tuned in to hear from the literary world's finest.
Ever since lockdown began, we have been reading more than ever. No, I don't just mean the constant stream of BBC headlines. A survey by Nielsen's Books revealed that here in the UK we have almost doubled the amount of time we spend reading since lockdown measures were imposed in March. Whether in print, digital, or audio form, books have become, for many of us, a sanctuary from the frightening uncertainty of real life, a respite from isolation boredom, and a way of connecting the community. Yet, as restrictions ease even further this week, will we drop our books at the first hint of 'beer garden', or is this a habit that we'll hold on to? The mental health benefits of reading are such that we sincerely hope this trend is here to stay.
As researchers, I think it is fair to say that we have a heightened appreciation of books. Without them, where would we be? Who would we be? With libraries shut for the fourth month, we have been finding innovative ways to access and share books and other resources online. We want to extend a huge thanks to all of you who have engaged on Twitter and contributed to our resources page so far. The DRN is, and always will be, a collaborative effort, and its really exciting to see our community grow to over ten different countries - through sharing resources and ideas online, we've essentially been travelling all along.
Until next month... grab a book, put your feet up, and happy reading!
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