All dressed up in your pyjamas with nowhere to go but the couch? Never fear! I’ve got you covered with 6 book recommendations to keep you company in any isolation mood.
When you feel like a laugh… The Pisces by Melissa Broder
This is potentially the funniest book I have ever read. Big call, I know. But trust me. If you need a good laugh right now, and some pretty intense sex scenes between a human and a mythical creature (again, trust me), then this one is definitely for you. It’s everything I never knew I needed and we finally get the answer to the question; what happens when you go through a really bad break up, move cities and meet a strange and mysterious man who is not everything he seems to be? Even if you’re not a Pisces like me, this one will have you belly-laughing all the way through.
I gave it 4.5/5 star (signs).
When you feel like you need a good cry… We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet
This book left me absolutely heartbroken, it was one of the worst book hangovers I’ve ever had. The melancholy feeling was worth it though for such a good read, and who doesn’t need a good cry every now and then? Set during World War II in a small village in the south of England and sprawling right up to 2010, this epic, beautifully written tale explores what it means to be a parent, even when that child is not necessarily yours. The contrast between war (which is mostly just a backdrop to the story) and everyday life is gorgeously captured and Liardet manages to create a feeling of nostalgia that, honestly, as I write this review, makes me want to read it again. Get out those tissues and happy crying!
This one got 5/5 stars.
Other books to make you cry include: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.
When you feel like being spooked… Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I love a good classic novel but I put off reading this one for years. As an Austen/Brontë sisters super fan, I was just never drawn to Frankenstein’s Gothic style. I did, however, decide to pick it up one rainy day back in 2017 and thank goodness I did because it is truly a great novel and one that has been horribly misrepresented by the countless Hollywood adaptations. Ignore everything you’ve seen and please, give it a chance. You won’t regret it. Mary Shelley’s writing is beautiful, tragic and oh so deliciously enjoyable. It’s also just a little bit spooky too.
I gave Frankenstein (and his monster) 4.5/5 stars.
More classic books if you’re in need of a scare: Dracula by Bram Stoker and The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux.
When you feel like some trashy escapism… Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
The tagline, ‘true love isn’t always diplomatic’, pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this book. It’s trashy and literary (I use that term loosely) escapism at its best. Red, White and Royal Blue describes the (very) unlikely love story between the First Son of the United States and the Prince of Wales. Yep, you read that right. It’s a romantic comedy starring a prince and a president’s son from across the pond. I was somewhat apprehensive to recommend this one since I read almost the entire thing on a flight home from Japan earlier this year, meaning I was very tired and in dire need of something simple. But that was maybe the best thing about it in that it served its purpose; I was distracted for a solid 6 hours of that 9 hour flight home.
I gave this one 3/5 stars (of the American flag).
Other trashy recommendations include: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (the whole series) and The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary.
When you feel like being immersed in someone else’s life… In at the Deep End by Kate Davies
What began as a funny, light story about a woman (Julia) realising she doesn’t like sex with men because she is, in fact, a lesbian, turned into a gripping story about a woman discovering her queer sexuality. On her journey of self discovery, Julia quickly finds herself in relationships unlike any she’s experienced before and it takes her a lot of learning and reflecting to find her way in this new and exciting world of lesbian life. The writing style is fun and engaging. Davies writes in such a way that the story moves in a fast-paced manner but also allows for interesting character developments. This is what made In at the Deep End so readable and relatable, even from a non-LGBTQ+ perspective.
This one got 4.5/5 stars.
More immersive reads: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and Christodora by Tim Murphy.
When you feel like being wowed by the human experience… Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
A friend introduced me to the writing of Jon Krakauer a few years ago and since then I’ve read three of his books. That’s unheard of for someone who spends 95% of her reading life on fiction books, largely ignoring the non-fiction section of any library or bookstore. Into Thin Air is the epic true story of one of the deadliest seasons on Mount Everest back in 1996 and still rings so true today, with the news that every year, more and more people are flocking to Everest in an attempt to summit the alluring yet deadly mountain. Never in my wildest dreams did I think a book about climbing a mountain would be so gripping but once I picked it up I could barely put it down. Krakauer seamlessly and realistically describes what it’s like to summit Everest, especially since he was at the top of the mountain on that fateful day.
Into Thin Air is my favourite non-fiction read and that’s why I gave it 5/5 stars.
There’s more where this one came from: Three Women by Lisa Taddeo and Becoming by Michelle Obama.
No matter what mood you find yourself inhabiting during isolation, there’s always a book to get you through! I’d love to know what you think or discuss any other recommendations you might have. Leave a comment below and let’s chat books!