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Books give you somewhere to go when you must stay where you are - and you can be someone else when you get there.

Last night was #WorldBookNight - my contribution being to finish Billy Connolly’s Made in Scotland.  I started reading this hugely funny book while on a weekend break to Rome in late February - just as Covid-19 was emerging in the north of the country. We got home and I forgot about the book…

 Billy Connolly - Made inScotland


Although Sir Billy’s homage to Scotland is more about what you come from (“I come from something”) than where you come from - and more about the people in a place than the place -  it did get me thinking that, when we cannot physically travel, a great book is a really good substitute.

Calum's Road - the extraordinary story of a remarkable man's visionary project.

I know this is not a new thought, nor mine alone, nevertheless in many ways reading may be even better than actual travel. When reading you can go wherever you want, and take as much time as you like, whereas actual travel is limited by time and money.



 Scottish History - Without the Boring Bits

But it’s not just travel in the traditional sense - reading transports. Whether fact or fiction, books remove you from everyday life allowing you to lose yourself, even be someone else. This is just as true when reading a story to your children or sharing your thoughts on a book with others. Reading educates, it can help you understand the world, and it can show you it’s beauty.   

One Fox - A Counting Book Thriller

What about taking some company on your reading journey? Reading aloud to your children is also widely recognised as an important part of their development and another thing we may not spend enough time doing in our usually busy lives. 

Any book you read your child will act as a starting point for a bigger conversation, a journey of discovery …

Katie Morag and the Riddles by Mairi Hedderwick

After I put Billy down, I had wee look on the Reading Agency website and it revealed that we are reading more during lockdown - with 1 in 3 adults reading more, rising to almost one in two (45%) 18-24 year olds.

In what they call a ‘Notification Nation’, the Reading Agency makes the point that it is very east to just keep scrolling through social media and swallowing up all our spare time. With many of us having lots and lots of this now, it seems we are also turning elsewhere.

There is talk of never going back to normal after lockdown - that we will instead find a new normal. I am going to try and make sure I read a chapter a day, I didn’t realise what I had lost.

Friends The Family We Choose - gift book