The Guardian has a piece on why book shops should be considered essential during this second lockdown.
In a letter to government ministers today, the BA’s managing director Meryl Halls described bookshops as “lanterns of civilisation and, for many, beacons of hope”. Keeping them closed while allowing other retailers who sell books to remain open was “potentially ruinous commercially and is also morally problematic”, she wrote.Emphasis my own
I genuinely believe that books can save lives.
As the article correctly notes, books aren’t food or medicine – they aren’t essential in that way. That they can provide mental health benefits had been recognised long before the Covid pandemic (brain pickings has an excellent post from 2018 on a very specific life transformed by a book during the Holocaust) if not necessarily acted upon. Certainly this year will provide data to be studied for years to come in relation to reading during isolation.
Throughout lockdown, books have allowed us to find outlets not only from isolation, but from the 24 hour world of social networks…which are emerging as potentially more harmful than we have started to suspect. (Here’s a handy reading list to help, if you are finding yourself mindlessly scrolling late at night!))
So…yeah…in case anyone was in any doubt – I’m all in favour of recognising the essential function that book shops place. After all, the original tag line for LBC was: