Social media is filled with ‘inspirational quotes’ about how you should be achieving so much – but don’t forget, this is hard. This is a time we didn’t expect, where we are living in a collective fear and hiding from an enemy we can’t even see. It’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to want some escapism.
For the teens
Sonny and Me, by Ross Sayers, is a charming novel for young adults (though older ones will love it too!), which follows Sonny and Daughter as they team up to solve the mystery of why their favourite teacher has disappeared. There is adventure, comedy, and a little bit of crime thrown in there too to keep even the most fidgety of isolated teens content inside with their nose in a book.
For the grown ups
The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow follows the story of Mary Bennet – the supposed plainest of the Bennet sisters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It is not only a stunning homage, but also a brilliant piece of original writing where Hadlow brings one of literatures most forgotten characters to life. Many have tried, and failed, to do what Hadlow has done, and she deserves to top any best seller list. It is a thoroughly engaging read, one for which the phrase ‘page turner’ was invented.
For those with a short concentration span
Hings, by Chris McQueer, is a collection of short stories that are so warm, cantankerous, funny, and heartfelt, that you will be left wanting more (which is good because HWFG by the same author is out now!). McQueer started his writing career by building an audience on social media, and he has kept his sharpness, his ability to create a world in a sentence, within the pages of this soon to be classic book.
For the amateur historian
The Five, By Hallie Rubenhold, is rightly one of the most celebrated books of this century. It tells the stories of Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine, and Mary-Jane, who were all brutally murdered in late-Victorian London. The lives of these women have been as unknown as the identity of the person who killed them, until now. It’s a deep dive into a time which seems so close that we could touch it, but so far from our minds that we can’t imagine the darkness of the nights that these women saw.
For those isolating alone
The Lonely City, by Olivia Laing, is a stunning collection of experiences, which will keep any self-isolator who is on their own in good company for the duration. You’ll step into the New York night with Laing to meet some of the characters who inhabit the city as they explore that it means to be alone. This book leaves you feeling refreshed, energised, and a bit more able to face the time ahead within your four walls.
For the football fan
Feed the Beast, by Jon Parkin, is an autobiography charting Parkin’s time as a player in the English football leagues. Why Jon, you may ask? Well, he is maybe the last footballer of his kind. He straddles divide between the elite athlete of today, and the man of a century ago who was brought up from the pit to put on a Barnsley shirt on a Saturday afternoon. He’s a working-class hero and in a time where there are so few left, he should be celebrated. His book is funny, touching, and it will get you through the long nights.