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Reading in Scotland: What was Scotland reading?

During the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, Scottish Book Trust set out to discover what impact the lockdown was having on readers in Scotland.

Last updated: 21 February 2022

We recruited a panel of people living in Scotland to complete regular surveys about their experiences of reading between March and August 2020. The full report, Reading in Scotland: Reading over lockdown(this link will open in a new window) is available to read now.

Each week we asked our panel to tell us what they had read that week. Over the eight weekly surveys we received 1241 responses to this question, with many containing two, three, four or more answers.

When we first starting working on Reading in Scotland, we imagined that we might be able to track the mood of the panel by looking for common threads and themes – a definite shift from crime to classics, or non-fiction to poetry perhaps. We were very quickly disabused of this notion – of the 1241 responses only a handful of books were mentioned by more than one panellist. These were mostly either high-profile new releases (or others in the same series), or books linked to current events.

They included:

Whilst these titles were included in perhaps 10% of responses, the other 90% were almost entirely unique. They included:

While we were not able to track the mood of Scotland through it's reading materials, we were heartened to be reminded that there is not just one type of reader, just as there is not one type of book. Whether you read for relaxation, reassurance or to learn and be challenged, there is a book (or poem, article, short story, newspaper or magazine…) out there for just for you.

Want to share what you're reading? Add your current favourite to our Book Week Scotland reading map!