This year the summer reading stack developed a dystopian counterpart: the lockdown reading stack. Just like the summer stacks, lists proliferated all over social media. They were balanced between serious and escapist, and were ultimately idealistic, but often suffered from the hard realities of things like the desire to sleep and, say, the anxiety that comes from living through a pandemic.
We had lofty goals at Guardian Australia, too. Not all of us reached them.
News, news, news
I’m three-quarters of the way through Malcolm Turnbull’s tome which is a rollicking read if you like political stuff. Other than that it’s just been news, news, news. But the very best thing I read wasn’t a book but a long read in the Atlantic by Anne Applebaum – a quite extraordinary piece about the “collaboration” of the Republican right with the Donald Trump experiment. Scary, revealing, but also totally makes sense of what is happening “over there”. – David Munk, Guardian Australia deputy editor
War and … struggle
This ought to give you some sense of the goals I had for myself during lockdown and my abject failure to meet them: I read 130 of the 1,270 pages in my copy of War and Peace. That’s it. I did not even make it to a battle scene.
I finished a book at the very start of lockdown – James Bradley’s excellent Ghost Species – but in hindsight it was the last-ditch effort of someone staggering to the finish line at the end of a hard race. I did not read a whole book start to finish until restrictions started easing two weeks ago. Thank you to David Carr’s The Night of the Gun for being compelling enough to drag me back into the world of literature. – Stephanie Convery, deputy culture editor
Does TikTok count?
I was planning to read Little Women (so I could in good conscience watch the movie), check out Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee, and finally get round to reading the three Quarterly Essays propping up my home office monitor. Instead I watched approximately 200 hours of TikToks and sat through multiple hour-long videos about drama in the YouTube beauty guru community.
Besides news articles and work-related reports the closest I got to reading was listening to some of Malcolm Turnbull’s audiobook and devouring a 5,000-word e-pamphlet I downloaded about the ENFJ Myers Briggs personality type. (I share this personality with Oprah Winfrey and Pope John Paul II. Apparently.) – Matilda Boseley, breaking news reporter