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Can't Focus On Reading Right Now? Check Out These Literary Treats On Social Media


As an avid reader, I envisioned a government-issued, weeks-long stay-at-home order as the ultimate excuse to tackle my shelves of unread books, to finally catch up on some old classics, to read for hours or even days at a time.

None of that has happened.

As it turns out, one of the ironic side-effects of this coronavirus quarantine has been a troubling inability to focus and concentrate—and I don’t seem to be alone. Several members of the local #ReadICT group on Facebook have mentioned similar frustrations lately: “I’ve got all this time and nowhere to go,” they’re saying, “and I still can’t manage to make progress on this book.” Blame stress—or “Tiger King.”

Thankfully, this pandemic is not without literary treasures, and several are just a click away. I mentioned in my last segment that actor Josh Gad, of “Frozen” and “Book of Mormon” fame, is reading children’s books on Twitter. Recently, Dolly Parton debuted her weekly read-aloud video series called “Goodnight with Dolly,” in which she reads books from her Imagination Library to children and families. Those are streamed every Thursday at 6 p.m. Central on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

But if you do nothing else during this hunker-down order, check out Sir Patrick Stewart’s Instagram or Twitter account. The classically trained actor, who started his career as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, is reading one of Shakespeare’s sonnets aloud each night as his personal response to the COVID-19 pandemic: “Not marble nor the gilded monuments / Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme. . .” Ahhh, now that’s a soothing way to weather a quarantine.

Suzanne Perez is a longtime journalist covering education and general news for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. Suzanne reviews new books for KMUW and is the co-host with Beth Golay of the Books & Whatnot podcast. Follow her on Twitter @SuzPerezICT.