Being a reader in isolation

Books hold us together and we can find joy in connecting through the stories we share.


Admittedly, this is not the article I planned on writing this month. In fact, I wasn’t sure I would be able to write at all in April due to the fact that I was supposed to be finishing a teaching practicum and graduating from university. Then a few weeks ago, with little notice, my classes were shut down and I was sent home. I had effectively graduated six weeks early.

With no goodbyes to classmates or professors, no speeches, stages or hat throwing, I found myself like many of you: at home. Staying at home is not what I am used to and at times I have struggled with this transition to social distancing. 

Books are like old friends

Thanks to some good advice, when I am feeling a little too isolated, I’ll turn back to my favorite YA novels. There’s a quote by author Naomi Regan that says “books [are] like old friends, with their worn covers and well-thumbed pages.” I have found a lot of comforts reconnecting with my “old friends.”

Some of my favorite YA characters also know what it is like to feel isolated. I think of Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and how, when he was feeling lonely, he would play the Beatles’ song ‘Something’ and “go to [his] bedroom window and stare at [his] reflection in the glass and the trees behind it and just listen to the song for hours.” I think of Ari in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and his rule that it is “better to be bored by yourself than to be bored with someone else” and that “staring at the blank walls” can become a hobby. I’ve never related more to when Simon Spiers says “sometimes I feel like my bed is a lifeboat”.

When I feel lonely or afraid or uncertain about the future, I can revisit Harry searching for Platform 9 3/4, or Katniss on a train to the Capitol or Percy during his first nights in Cabin 11 and remind myself that these situations tend to have a way of working out alright in the end.

Staying connected

In search of some comfort and normalcy, I have been following many of Bookstacked’s tips for “How to stay bookish while staying at home”. I am taking advantage of online libraries and resources to check out some e-books, audiobooks, and podcasts and I have been meeting with my writing group online. I am especially looking forward to attending online sessions of YALLSTAYHOME and Everywhere Book Fest in the coming weeks!

One mantra I have seen repeated often during the spread of this global pandemic is that “we are all in this together”. This certainly applies to the book community and the YA community. Books hold us together and we can find joy in connecting through the stories we share. We hope that you stay connected here with us.

Spencer is a high school English teacher in Montréal, Canada. He loves graphic novels and books about road trips.

Bookstacked Comment Policy

We welcome respectful comments. Our only rule is to be kind. Rude, hateful and generally mean-spirited comments will be removed.