Pandemic pro-tips from an avid reader

May 13, 2020

Looking back Sarah Fisk says she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t reading a stack of books! Last year she managed to read 166 books, all of them from the library. Her goal this year was 180 when she was interviewed by the Ottawa Citizen earlier in February but Covid-19 might have changed her plans somewhat. Since she began keeping track of her reading habits on the Goodreads website in April 2014, she’s logged 1,138 titles, or one book every 1.87 days.

Sarah resides in Ottawa now but she has fond memories of growing up in Nanaimo and participating in the Summer Reading Club at the old Wellington Branch. “Didn’t you guys used to do weekly draws for smaller prizes for kids who read a book that week? I mean, I was 8-12 when I was there, my memory is fuzzy!” Fisk shares that she would devour all kinds of stories, easily reading sixty or more books each summer! “I remember always having to request extra fill out sheets!” she laughs.

Right now she is definitely missing her library and looking forward to all being back to normal. When asked if having more time off work currently meant an increase in her book consumption, she said that in actual fact her reading time has completely decreased. “I have 7 physical books left (11 waiting to go back when they reopen) and 7 on my Kobo.”

Until then she does have some advice to share with all of us. Although she found it hard at first adjusting to her Kobo, she recommends finding a way to download eBooks. “Someone bought me a Kobo and I cried when it came.” She shared that she’s definitely missing that feeling of satisfaction that traditional books bring “Kobo isn’t the same but it works, suck it up, and get one. I just got the Glass Hotel I’m so excited!”

She admits that being in isolation has found her spending more time scrolling on social media and questioning “why am I so addicted to TikTok? This isn’t right!” She advises that there’s no point putting pressure on yourself with your reading “Take it slow. It’s okay if you can’t focus on something right now. It’s normal. Do 20 minutes and try again later or tomorrow.”

Sarah Fisk’s three all-time favourite books:

1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
“That’s my ultimate favourite. I re-read it every year. It’s a classic that’s full of inside jokes.”

2. The Blue Castle, by Lucy Maud Montgomery
“Everybody knows her for Anne of Green Gables, which I’ve always found very childish. The Blue Castle is a sweet and innocent love story that’s more grown-up than Anne of Green Gables. It’s about a woman who gets misdiagnosed with a fatal disease and is only given six months to live. It’s set in Muskoka, and she describes it beautifully.”

3. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
“It’s a very short book, under 100 pages. I’ve re-read that one a million times. It’s such a great commentary on what happens to bad government. It’s so succinct and so funny.”

“It’s like I get to enter another world,” says Fisk. “I get immersed, and the actual real-world doesn’t exist. The only thing that exists is what I’m reading.”- Ottawa Citizen