If we had read an account of any of 2020's world events in a novel we would have been satisfied knowing it was exactly that: fiction. Contemporary events have always affected readership and with restrictions as they are, reading - and fiction especially - is proving to be a vital form of entertainment and escapism.
"You'll have those who want to read to take their minds off things and those who want to read not to take their minds off things, per se, but to take them to a place that is outside of where they already are," says David Torrans, owner of No Alibis Bookshop of customers who visit the Belfast shop.
"And then there'll be people who want to read because they want to inform themselves more of where they are at the moment.
"And that has continued, you could argue, almost in extremis, given the very turbulent and difficult times that we're living in."
The independent bookshop is known for specialising in crime but in its 23 years, No Alibis has doubled in size with David introducing other genres and types of literature. Crime, though remaining popular, now accounts for approximately 25 per cent of what's on offer, as well as history, literature, poetry and a prominent children's section.
The No Alibis team has seen a significant increase in readership in relation to political books, on Black Lives Matter and texts relating to a political, social or cultural context - as well people wanting to read more authors of a BAME environment.
"We've always sold authors like Zora Neale Hurston and James Baldwin to name a few. But it's the first time in 23 years of having this bookshop that we tried to reorder these books because of the demand and all of these books have gone into reprint," says David.
"We would have always been able to, at some point, have picked up a James Baldwin or a Tony Morrison title or a Zora Neale Hurston title from the publishers but I can remember one morning coming in and trying to order some James Baldwin [copies] because we'd sold out and every single book was in reprint.
"That's a reflection of demand because of social and political circumstances. It's also enthralling and positive because it means people are wanting to engage."
He says this may be the first time social and political issues have dictated to publishers what they need to sell and be involved in.
And whether you choose to read fiction over non-fiction, the resonance, emotion and importance of the topic remains the same.
"You can pick up a book like, Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race or you can pick up a book like The Nickel Boys or The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and you're reading about the same sense of injustice, the same sense of racism, but you're reading it from a different perspective," says David.
An appetite for engagement and awareness has never been more heightened.
"I've just finished reading Dave Eggers' The Circle," he says. "It's a dystopian, terrifyingly, horrific look at what happens if the idea of connectivity, social media, the internet environment, really takes over to an extent where we all need to know the truth, what we think is the truth.
"We just need to find a way of engaging and staying in touch and educating ourselves and being aware.
"I think for so many people, books are, even in this digital and social media age and television and everything else, still a way that we can do it at our own pace," says David.
Pandemic fiction has proved popular since we first uttered the phrase Covid-19 - and before.
"Emily St John Mandel wrote a book called Station Eleven about six years ago, about a pandemic that wiped out 95% of the world," explains David.
"It happened in an innocuous and very similar way to what we're facing at the moment. Okay, it's fiction, it's dramatised, it's exaggerated. But the whole sort of walking towards our doom element of it all was there in the book.
"It was the first book I read after this all kicked off.
"As I was reading it, I was in an equal amount fascinated and terrified and wondering, 'What am I doing reading this? Am I b****y mad?'
"But strangely enough, it's been one of our bestsellers and other books of a similar nature, Camus' The Plague, Gabriel García Marquez' Love in the Time of Cholera, all these books have been sort of resonant.
"It's not to say that we've been selling hundreds of copies and but people have been regularly asking after them."
Reading could be seen as a way of coping during our strange times and David agrees.
"I'm reading this as fiction, it's getting me through it, I wonder how it's going to end and invariably not well.
"I want to at least engage in some way that isn't what I'm reading or hearing on the news every day.
"By the same token, we've sold loads of copies of books that are so removed from the idea of a pandemic that you just chuckle and you think, 'Go for it.'
"Things like Michelle Gallen's Big Girl, Small Town which is a very serious book even though it is often marketed as Derry Girls meets Milkman.
"There are moments of comic genius in it, there are moments of dialogue that make you laugh out loud, but it's a very serious book.
"Another book that actually it's been amazingly popular has been Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Not just because the TV series but I think also because it's just the political message that it conveys.
"And also books on running and sport has been very popular. This is just our own perspective. I suppose it's a form of release and mindfulness as well, it's getting away."