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past continuous with NEVER

past continuous with NEVER

I was reading a story and I saw this sentence:

"I had never been bowling before"

My doubts are two:

1. I've learnt that the collocation with the word "bowling" is "TO GO bowling", so I would have said: I had never gone bowling before", is the meaning the same?

2. Why have they used a continuous tense with the adverb "never", for example is there any difference between "I had never read that book" and "I had never been reading that book"