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Opinion | 7 Life-Affirming Habits That Readers Picked Up During the Pandemic

“For the first time in my life I saw glow worms. We walked in darkness as the leaves colored and then fell, we walked through dark snowstorms and bitter cold and under the brilliant stars of Orion.”

Opinion Conversation
What will work and life look like after the pandemic?

Many others rediscovered a love of reading.

Brad Robertson from Portland, Ore., wrote, “I reinvigorated my lifelong habit of reading during Covid. Since March 2020, instead of getting on email at the beginning of the day, I spend at least 30 minutes reading. Sometimes more. Even as work is returning to a more robust schedule, I’ve kept this up almost every day for the last two years. Without feeling like it’s been a huge effort, that totals up to about 160 books and counting.”

Heather Wishik from Vermont wrote that because she is immunocompromised, she must continue to isolate even though she is fully vaccinated. She and her spouse have adopted the practice of reading aloud. “I do the research to select a book I think we will like, and she reads to me — a chapter or two or three depending on how long they are,” she wrote.

“Being read to was a joy for each of us as children, and now as older adults we are recapturing that magic while discovering authors we have not known before or books never read by authors we like. We have read fiction and nonfiction, comic and serious. Our current book is ‘Watergate: A New History,’ by Garrett M. Graff, and the most recent fiction we read was ‘Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter,’ by Mario Vargas Llosa.”

Some of my favorite responses were about practices that have brought deeper connection among families, friends and neighbors. Debbie Kaminer of New York wrote that she and her family invented a contest called “the boring game.” (She says it’s a lot more entertaining than it sounds!)

“Each person gets 60 seconds of uninterrupted time to tell any boring story they want,” she said. “We go around a circle and everyone in our family of five gets a turn. We then all vote for the story we find most boring. Winner gets bragging rights. The game is such a hit that now that my kids are (finally) back at college after schools shut down for the pandemic, they FaceTime us so they can play.”

May Wong of Bethlehem, Pa., wrote that she and her two daughters started a ritual called “drive to nowhere”: “We just got in the car and drove. We didn’t have a destination. We would take turns talking. Any topic was allowed in the privacy of our minivan. We truly bonded during these drives: mother-daughter bonding as well as sister-sister bonding between them.

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