The joy of lockdown reading

Helen van Soest
3 min readAug 16, 2020
Photo by Bethany Laird on Unsplash

Stage 4 lockdown

As a current Melbournian, I am in the midst of a Stage 4 lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. This means I cannot go out to exercise for more than an hour a day and must wear a mask while doing so. It also means I cannot leave home between the hours of 8pm and 5am. I also cannot go any further than 5km from my home.

There is likely another month of Stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne, while we all wait with hope for the number of cases to drop and for less people to die from the disease.

Like a lot of other Victorians, I am feeling very restless and eager to experience freedom again. In the meantime, I have had to find ways to survive this difficult, lonely time. Thankfully there are books!

My love of books

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

I have always loved books since I was very young. As a child, one of my favourite things to do was to hang out in the library, reading books and then borrowing more books and taking them home to read. I used to devour books — I could not get enough of them. My favourites were Nancy Drew mystery stories, Sweet Valley High novels and Choose Your Own Adventure books.

As a young adult, I started experimenting with the classics like “Anna Karenina”, “The Great Gatsby” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”. As an older adult, I began to enjoy non-fiction books on spirituality, self-help books and biographies.

Now I enjoy reading a variety of books. I will often read a number of books at around the same time — it might be one or two non-fiction books and a novel.

The benefits of lockdown reading

Before the lockdown in Melbourne, my life was busy. I was often out — either at work, socialising with my friends, going to the gym or shopping. This did not leave much time for reading. Often reading would be something I would do just before I fell asleep — I might only read a few pages of a book each night.

Despite my love of reading, somehow I always found excuses to neglect it. I told myself it was too loud on the tram or train to read or that I would read once I checked the news on my phone or rather than spend a relaxing afternoon reading, I would choose to meet a friend for coffee and then end up too tired to read anything.

During this lockdown, I have been reminded of the value in reading books regularly. Reading challenges the mind, allowing you to see other points of view and transform your way of thinking. It is also a calming activity, like meditation, when you get lost in a story and lose sense of time.

When this lockdown finally ends, I want to continue my habit of daily reading. The joy I get from my favourite hobby is too good to pass up.



Helen van Soest

I love reading articles, books and blogs and try to write when I can.