Books saved my mental health, says online reviewer

Books saved my mental health, says online reviewer

A Waterstones employee turned professional book reviewer says the pandemic has helped him to find his “purpose”.

Daniel Bassett, 34, was furloughed from the chain in March 2020 and again during the latest lockdown.

He initially struggled with his mental health and so decided to focus on his dream of sharing his thoughts about his favourite books on social media.

He said: “In the face of adversity, books have kept me going.”

People have “rediscovered the pleasure of reading” in lockdown, publisher Bloomsbury has said, after reporting its best half-year profits since 2008.

The firm, best known for publishing the Harry Potter books, said profits jumped 60% to £4m from February to August.

Mr Bassett, from Lawrence Weston in Bristol, said: “Surprisingly, bookselling is at the highest it’s ever been at the moment and it’s working for me.

“When the pandemic hit in March, I couldn’t believe it, I thought my boss was joking when he told me I couldn’t come into work.

“It’s still scary now, I haven’t seen my family for two years and my closest friend is going through cancer treatment so I of course worry for them.

“There’s so much to be worried about and book blogging takes my mind off it.

“I let that all get to me – I don’t know where I would be now if I still let it affect me.”

Mr Bassett likes to include a photograph of a colourful display with each review he posts and borrows items from his housemates for the shots.

He said he can spend hours getting the perfect shot.

“I feel like I’ve found my purpose because of the pandemic and now love to spend hours sorting out book displays that I put on Instagram for my reviews,” he added.

He added: “I don’t think books get the glamour they should, because they are the most fantastic tool to escape into.

“Find the joy where you can.”

When lockdown restrictions ease, Mr Bassett will go back to his job at the Cribbs Causeway branch and will continue his book reviewing venture online in his spare time.

His dream is to one day make it his full-time occupation.

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