If you are feeling a little stuck under lockdown then remember that ‘a reader lives a thousand lives’. Whether you want to go swashbuckling on treasure islands, to stash your heart away in the Russian court, or to travel to all the ends of the earth, reading is always a riotous pastime. For those who feel like they haven’t always had the time to turn the pages of a door wedge thick book, perhaps these long lockdown hours present the perfect opportunity. Here are the best books to pick up and try to tackle before the end of lockdown…
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
The first in Mantel’s mesmerizing trilogy that covers the rise and fall of Cromwell in the Tudor court of Henry 8th. A Man Booker prize winner and with enough backstabbing and political manoeuvring to rival even the best Game of Thrones episode, Wolf Hall is a thrilling exploration of the dangers of ambition. Not only is it a jaw-dropping tale that vividly recreates the time period it is covering, but the depth of Mantel’s research shines through meaning that along with reading an exceptional novel, you get to take a history course too.
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
Feel free to push War and Peace to one side and instead kickstart your love affair with Russian literature by delving into the tragic pages of Anna Karenina. If your cynical side doesn’t feel in the mood for a great romance, fear not – Anna Karenina is desperately devastating. Running alongside the politics of forbidden love and freedom comes an exploration of class, betrayal, and the unravelling of the fairytale that the heart conquers all. This is better than any soap opera you could imagine.
Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Tired of perusing endless photos on dating apps? Turn to the beauty and mastery of Garcia Marquez and his Love in the Time of Cholera. Following the tale of two youthful lovers who squander their lives on others but stash their hearts for each other for decades, this gorgeously penned book may masquerade as a romance but it doesn’t fail to address the bitterness that unrequited passion can bring. Pettiness, jealously, and the destructive nature of obsession are all covered in these pages set against a sweltering South American backdrop.
The Secret History – Donna Tart
A modern classic, Donna Tart isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in her explorations of class, privilege and the darker side of youth. In The Secret History a group of rich kids torment and sacrifice their own under the guise of ancient academic philosophy. Led by a charismatic classics professor, this riveting page-turner is every inch the inspired Greek tragedy. If you love books that cover the elitism in education, privilege and power and how that’s used in social circles, and the angsty apathy of youth, this one will keep you up all night.
The Gastronomical Me – MK Fisher
If you are looking for something that flexes all your joy muscles and inspires you to get in the kitchen then MK Fishers The Gastronomical Me is a beautiful blend of travel, food, and fabulous memoir. Beware, the writing is so sensually splendid and arouses all the senses that you are sure to find yourself reaching for another glass of wine, rolling up your sleeves in the kitchen and being thoroughly indulgent for the rest of lockdown. MK Fisher writes of her relationship with food and places throughout the phases of her life, and the result is a rare reminder and almost a route map as to where you can find the richest yet simplest pleasures in life.
Which books are making your reading list right now? Share in the comments.