The gift of a book can help ease the pain of a lockdown

Candice Carty-Williams
·1-min read

On Friday 16 October, the last day that we could mingle with other households, I met my friend Sophie. We went to the cinema to see The Thing, John Carpenter’s 1982 classic horror, and then we went to Foyles bookshop. Our plan was to buy Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, because we spend most of our time texting about the HBO adaptation, and to buy each other a book that we loved to keep us entertained during the second lockdown.

Nobody ever buys me books – they think I don’t need them – so you can imagine how overcome with emotion I was at this. Both because the winter means fewer park walks and more reading, and because I get so much joy from someone sharing something they like with me. I chose Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn for Sophie; it’s one of my favourite novels of all time, and it’s set in Montego Bay so I can inject some sunshine into her life. For me, she chose Time’s Arrow by Martin Amis, and did a fairly good job of explaining how it’s not about linear time while I nodded along politely and eventually said: “I’ll just read it and see how I get on.”

As we go into lockdown again, it’s nice to know I’ll be in someone else’s head, and someone else will be in mine. And in book form! The best way.