OXFORD academics have set up a book club to help literature lovers in need of an escape but short on time.

Starting this week, the project, run by Dr Alexandra Paddock, Professor Kirsten Shepherd-Barr and Dr Erica Lombard, is releasing literary extracts from books selected by Oxford University academics every week until early October.

The extracts, which can be read in 10 minutes, come from a wide selection of genres, including novels, essay collections, poetry and short stories.

Each is accompanied by a short introduction in text, video or audio format suggesting themes or contexts to think about, as well as suggestions for further reading around the book and a free link to the full text.

ALSO READ: Patients return to GPs – but majority now seen remotely

Dr Alexandra Paddock said: “We noticed during lockdown that so many people turned to literature for escape, connection and excitement, but at the same time that the pressures of lockdown were making long, intense stretches of reading harder for many of us.

"That is why we set up 10-minute book club, although we strongly believe its content will be relevant and useful long after the current restrictions have been removed."

She added it has been designed as a 'DIY collection' of readings to be enjoyed alone or to spark discussion with family, friends and colleagues.

A mixture of classic, well-known literature and under-appreciated gems have been chosen, mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The first book to be released is The Souls of Black Folk by the 19th century sociologist, Pan-Africanist, novelist and critic W.E.B. Du Bois. Visit english.web.ox.ac.uk/ten-minute-book-club.