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On Reading and Writing during the Pandemic

By Joyce Bou Charaa

PROMPT—During Covid-19 ...

Since the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, we have been trying to escape the news, the economic crisis issues, or anything related to this virus that hit the world, and caused the deaths of many people. Therefore, each of us had a way of escaping from this sad reality, and mine was through reading books and writing papers.

At a very young age, I started reading the famous stories of Sherlock Holmes. These mystery adventures attracted me to read more books and go deeply into the world of literature. And, from that time up till now, I have read so many stories, poems, and novels that turned me into an intellectual person, with an ambitious and creative personality.

For me, reading was an act of curiosity to explore different cultures and languages, where my choice was to study English literature as a foreign language, in which I wanted to explore its aspects, and understand more about the invention of such incredible stories that are known today as "the classics."

Recently, in the pandemic, reading was like an open window that brings light into a dark room. It was my escape from the tragic news of our daily life. I didn’t want to know about the numbers of COVID cases in my town anymore. I just wanted to run away into some Victorian or Romantic settings, like the incredible natural landscapes of the British countryside, the ones we usually see in an English classical movie, which I always wished to visit someday ... though I did, in my imagination!

Besides the enjoyment of reading, my writing process happened to begin in a ‘glimpse of an eye’: It came about when I was just checking Twitter and saw a tweet from an editor asking for an undergraduate English student to write for her magazine. So, without any hesitation, I picked up the notebook and began writing a book recommendation article on Agatha Christie’s five best novels. And, it was my longtime goal to have my first article written about my favorite author, the Queen of mystery.

Then, after I got in touch with the editor, the article was published for the first time, and I was more than happy with the step I had always hoped for to come true.

And since that time, I began to write more and more articles for online magazines and blogs. These articles were basically book reviews, which I worked on myself, and I had really enjoyed.

Eventually, I spent the rainy days of the lock-down reading and writing. That was my escape from the pandemic, and my way of turning reality into a more beautiful place with fictional characters, and unbelievable story lines that makes us wonder about life, dreams, and existence.

After all, I would say that the pandemic ‘‘era’’ was the one that made me realize the importance of working on my own dreams, not just wishing for it to happen. Also, I would say that everything anyone wishes to happen will be at the right time; hence patience is the key for success.


Joyce Bou Charaa is a Lebanese undergraduate English student and a book reviewer whose articles are published in The Mark Literary Review and at Newpages. She has studied two years of Journalism and has an intimate knowledge in the Arabic, English and French languages. Joyce writes from Beirut, Lebanon.


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