Soooo… we’re 0n lockdown. Which means we’ve got plenty more time to spend with our books. For bookworms, this of course means more reading YAY!
But, sadly, there’s only so much reading you can do before your eyes go a bit weird (or is that just me?) Anyhooo, here are 20 book-related things that you can do at home with your physical books.
(I’ve got another post coming about what to do with your ebooks…)
1. Reorder your book shelves
Pulling all your books off your shelves, reorganising them and putting them back is a satisfying and fun task that’ll pass a good couple of hours (maybe more if you’ve got a lot of books/shelves).
Order your books so that they are: colour-coordinated; alphabetised by author surname or author first name; grouped by genre; organised by size of the book; arranged by whether read or to be read; ordered by how much you loved them – five stars to one star; aligned by series name/order; by the first name of the main character… and so on!
The opportunities are honestly endless, and you can pick an idea that speaks to you. I like to organise my book shelves by the colour of the spines. That makes me very happy when I look at them!
2. Organise your to be read pile
Go through your book shelves and pull out all the books you haven’t yet read and plan to read one day. Then order these into the book that you’ll read next, and then the one after that and so on.
Of course, you don’t have to stick to this order, but it’s a great way to remind yourself of all the books you already own that are waiting to be read. And the top five books that you really want to read next.
I have a towering pile of books separate to my book shelves of TBR books. This tower got a bit out of hand and became two towers not so long ago. I’m going to go through this tower and sort into a reading order and, while staying at home, get cracking on it!
3. Write some reviews of books that you’ve loved
Why not share your love of a book with the world and help others to find it and love it too?
Ever fancied being a book critic but never quite had the time? Well, now you’ve got lots of time because everything’s cancelled, so write out some reviews.
And, if you feel like it, add these to Goodreads or Amazon. Or to any place you might’ve purchased the books online as often there’s places to rate and review books. My local library’s website has a place where you can review books.
Or, just keep the reviews for yourself. Why not.
4. Give your friends and family some tailored book recommendations
Ever read a book and thought so-and-so would LOVE this? Why not think about each of your closest friends and family, especially those that you can’t see for a while, and think of books that they might love.
Then message them, let them know that you’ve been thinking of them and that you think they might this specific book. It’s a great way to stay in touch and share your love of reading and of books.
And, if they read it promptly, then you can talk about it afterwards – a mini book club session over texts or video call to pass some time while at home.
5. Start a virtual book club
Get a group of friends together who you know love reading. Then ask everyone which book they’d like to read, put it to a vote and then read the book and discuss using Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp, House Party app.
You can either discuss in stages e.g. read up to Chapter 10, then Chapter 20 and then until the end etc, or when you’ve all finished.
Or, set up your own book club for one. Read a book, go online and find some book club questions. If you can’t find any specifically related to the book, then there are often generic questions you can find. Answer these thoughtfully and surprise yourself by how answering the questions really makes you think about what you just read, and sometimes see if in a different light.
6. Write a story set in the world of your favourite book with you as the main character
Got nothing to do for a couple of hours? Why not flex your imagination by writing a story set in the world of your favourite novel but with you as the main character.
Your world could be Harry Potter or a historical novel set in the Victorian era, of a sci-fi world or perhaps in the real world. No matter, imagine you are the main character – you can give yourself magical powers or any relevant attributes and go for it!
Either write on your laptop or phone, or pull out that beautiful notebook you got for Christmas that hasn’t been used yet, find a pen and scribble away!
7. Have a play around on Goodreads
One of my favourite pastimes, apart from reading, is reading about books and thinking which ones I’d like to read next.
If you’re not already on Goodreads, then download the app and get started. You can add books you’ve already read and add books you’d like to read. I love the function that gives you ideas for books you might like and also browse the thorough genre lists for ‘Classics’ or ‘Psychological thrillers’ etc.
If you’re already on Goodreads then now’s the time to go through your ‘To Read’ list and perhaps remove any books that took your fancy at the time of adding but that you aren’t so keen on reading now. Also look through the many Goodreads lists to see what books you might like to read. I love the feature that shows you other similar books to a specific book.
There’s plenty of ways to discover new books on Goodreads, read up on the sales descriptions and check out a few reviews and then add to your list.
This is also a chance to rate/review some books – see 3.
8. Spell out friend/family names with book titles
Purely for fun, spell out your friends and family members names using book titles, stack the books, take a pic and share with them. Ignore The and A in the title.
So, my sister Kath might be, from my book collection:
K (The) Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
A (The) Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman
T Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh
H Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J. K. Rowling
9. Find a book you read more than ten years ago to reread
Our tastes, perspectives and situations change and a book you read and loved ten years ago might still be a favourite if you re-read it now… or your thoughts on it might’ve changed. Equally, a book you read ten years ago and didn’t particularly like then, you might love now. So pick one and have a re-read.
I plan to do this with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I took an English Literature and Language course at university, and I had to read a ton of classic British literature novels, including the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf. Sometimes, one fat novel per week.
Jane Austen was an author that I read during this time. I skimmed Pride and Prejudice quickly so I could write an essay/exam about it and really can’t remember anything about it now (other than there’s a Mr Darcy in it). When I think about it, I just think ‘meh’. So, I plan to reread at my leisure and enjoy it without having to rush or worry about underlying themes and grammatical style etc.
10. Find a book to read in a completely new genre
Is there a genre that you’ve never read before? Why not do a bit of investigating, on Goodreads, on Amazon, or on the internet for a book that you might like to read in a genre you’ve never read before.
Why? Just because. New things and challenges keeps life interesting and might just surprise you.
A couple of months ago I decided to read a romance novel. I have never before read the romance genre and I thought I’d give it a go. I picked Nora Roberts’ The Witness and really enjoyed it! Totally not what I was expecting. Not too slushy and lots of suspense.
11. Book Jenga
Yep, this is a thing! Stack your books, grab a member of your household, or play on your own, and push out the books and place on top until the stack wobbles and falls.
Search online for ‘book jenga’ to see how to stack your books.
12. Book dominoes
Yup. This is also a thing! Line up your books like dominoes around your home, in lines, multiple lines or circles – get creative! And then set the first one off and watch them all fall.
Search online for ideas.
13. Spring clean your book shelves
Get all your books out of your book shelves, give the shelves and the books a thorough dust.
Then admire the pile on your floor, pick up a few books and see if you can recall reading them and remember anything about the plot or one of the characters and then put back on the shelf.
Bonus if you discover a long lost book that's been hiding at the back of your shelves for forever.
Perhaps reorganise while you’re at it – see point 1.
14. First line game
Randomly pick ten (or more if you want more of a challenge!) books off your shelves. Write out the first sentence of Chapter 1 of each on a piece of paper, each starting on a new line. Put the books back on the shelf.
Cut or carefully rip between each line so that you have ten pieces of paper. Shuffle the pieces of paper. Then try and match the first line with the right book.
Enjoy on your own or get a bunch of bookworm friends involved for a fun virtual quiz.
15. Book-smell connoisseur
Pick three books off your shelves that have different histories e.g. one old, one new, one from the charity shop, one given to you, one you bought yourself, one from the library etc.
Then fan the pages and sniff each book’s smell. Do they smell any different? Challenge yourself to talk about the book smell as a wine connoisseur talks about the smell of different wines. E.g. this book has a full-bodied, sat-on-the-shelf-for-a-long-time-gathering-dust smell. This book is crisp and clean with a hint of never-been-opened. This fruity little number has a well-handled wiff of library about it.
Can you smell vanilla, raspberries or herbs? Let your imagination run wild, because… self-isolation.
16. First word sentences
Pick ten books at random off your shelf. Write the first word of Chapter three on a piece of paper. Try to make a sentence using those ten words.
17. Conversation with a main character
Pick a favourite character from a book. Imagine the conversation you might have with them if you were video calling. What would you ask? What would they say? How would they be coping with the pandemic and staying at home? What would they be doing to amuse themselves?
This might feel a bit strange at first, but hey, we’re currently living in strange times, so why not?!
18. Get crafty and make a new bookmark
Why not personalise your bookmarks by making one of your own. There are lots of materials you can use – you don’t need to have lots of craft items. You could also repurpose some of your existing bookmarks, for example if one has a great tassel or ribbon.
Go online for some ideas. I personally like the cute origami bookmark corners.
19. Invent character voices
Most of us read silently in our heads, but it’s actually a lot of fun to read aloud and give crazy, fun, weird voices to characters.
Pick a book off your shelf, open randomly at a page with lots of dialogue and read out loud the dialogue making sure to give the characters distinctive voices.
And for extra fun, why not record your reading on your phone and pretend to be an audiobook narrator... might just be your calling.
20. Relive your favourite endings again
Pick a few of your favourite books, perhaps some that you’ve not read in a while, and reread the last chapter (and epilogue if there is one). I tend to rush through final chapters to find out what happens at the end, and when I realise I’m doing it, I tell myself to slow down!
With some spare time on your hands, read through the endings and relive them again with no rush to know what happens. Savour every detail.
There you have it! 20 book-related things to do at home. Enjoy. Stay home and stay safe xx
>>VIOLYA, the second novel in my grimdark epic fantasy trilogy In the Heart of the Mountains, is out now. Available from Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play Books, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Read more about my books here.<<
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