by Tiffany Wincek, Product Liaison

This year has been nothing if not turbulent. For months, our daily schedules, habits, and thoughts have turned upside down, which means our reading lives have changed, too. Below, Team OverDrive shares how their reading lives are different in 2020.

i'm not dying with you tonight“Previously, I could not get enough dystopian books. These books have not appealed to me during the pandemic. Now, I’m gravitating more toward own voices ebooks and audiobooks. A few of my favorite titles in recent weeks are My Sister the Serial Killer, I’m Not Dying with You Tonight, and The Downstairs Girl.”

-Victoria, Account Manager

stamped jason reynolds“I read all the time; all the time. It is my go-to coping mechanism and my only hobby. I open a book on my Kindle and escape. So, unsurprisingly, in this stressful environment I read even more in the last four months – 75 books so far this year. I keep up with J and YA so I can make good recommendations for school partners, and I listen to nonfiction audiobooks (Stamped – Racism, Antiracism and You is so good on audio with Jason Reynolds reading it himself), and I confess to spending the rest of my time in quarantine reading advanced reader copies of chick lit from NetGalley. I read Connie Schultz’s first novel, The Daughters of Erietown; I highly recommend it.”

-Sarah, Content Specialist

“My reading for 2020 has changed, but also hasn’t changed. I’ve read 18 books already (four ahead of schedule according to Goodreads), but I’ve found myself gravitating toward rereads instead of new reads. Something about rereading my favorite book, and knowing how it ends, brings a sense of comfort to the crazy unknown we’re all experiencing.”

-Andrea, Product Support Specialist

malcolm gladwell david & goliath“Prior to COVID-19, I enjoyed reading predominantly ebooks of different genres and topics. Over the last few months, I realized that I wasn’t making much time to read. Because I was spending so much time working on my computer, the screen time drained my eyes. After I transitioned to only using audiobooks, I felt much happier and made time each day to listen. I’ve also transitioned to audiobooks that are either inspiring, humorous, or informative. With so much happening in the world, these genres have helped me stay positive, educated, and mentally strong. Examples of these audiobooks are The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, and currently David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.”

-Kaleigh, Account Manager

“For the past several years, about 90% of my reading has been in audiobook format, which I love. I am a terrible multitasker, so I listen to audiobooks while I drive, clean, bake, sew—everything! However, since coronavirus started, I’ve been working from home, which has given me more time (no commuting or socializing!), so I have switched to mostly ebooks. While I still love audiobooks, I’ve felt the need to engage myself 100% in the books I’m reading as a form of escape, whereas audiobooks allow me to split my focus. So far in 2020 I’ve read 71 books, and 15 of the last 16 have been ebooks!”

-Hannah, Content Specialist

“With the onset of COVID, I’m cooped up in a one-bedroom apartment and technology has taken over my life. While I still try to read, I’ve spent more time sitting at my desk, playing online board games, Zooming with friends for social contact, or falling deep into the Netflix black hole! My body made it known that I needed to get outside and go for daily walks. Audiobooks made for the perfect motivation to get out! I’ve set the rule that I can only listen while going for a walk, so if I want to know what happens next…well, I’ve got to get my behind moving!”

-Bailey, Account Manager

get a life chloe brown “When the first wave of the pandemic hit, I was learning how to work from home daily instead of twice a month and I was preparing to move to a new apartment. My reading habits definitely took a hit. I went from reading several books a week to not reading at all. Every topic felt too heavy or too unimportant, even the most hopeful nonfiction books or the fluffiest and sweetest teen romances.

I began reading again – slowly – once I got settled into the new place and learned how to better balance my work and home life conditions. I eased back in with a few re-reads of old favorites and queued up some audiobooks for (masked!) outdoor walks around my new neighborhood. I still felt guilty for not listening to the news or to podcasts telling me how to live more/better/different, so it was sometimes hard to find a way back in, and I would turn to TV or video games as an outlet.

Three months later, I finally feel able to read on a somewhat regular schedule again. I have been devouring everything I can to educate myself on Black history and how to be a better ally and activist for the Black Lives Matter movement. And when the world seems like a cruel or scary place, I escape into some new favorites in self-help, romance (hello, Talia Hibbert!), and LGBTQIA+ YA.”

-Sydney, Training Manager

For more stories, be sure to check out part two here.

About the Author:

Tiffany Wincek, the Product Liaison for OverDrive Education, taught in New York public schools for 10 years prior to joining Team OverDrive. She holds degrees in English, education, and literacy and loves making authentic connections with and providing solutions for OverDrive partners. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, lifting heavy things, and listening to nothing but Nothing But Thieves.