The vast amount of time that we have to spend getting lost in books is the silver lining of the lockdown. I am staying with my boyfriend throughout all of this and although he is the best company I could ask for, I am severely missing my bookshelf!
So far, I have spent the lockdown typing away, chained to the dining room table, however, we managed to pick some books up from my house on the way home from the supermarket the other day! What was supposed to be one or two, ended up being almost a whole shelf. Us bibliophiles just have no self-control when it comes to books!
Here are the books that I chose to accompany me through the lockdown…
A Poem for Every Day of the Year
By Allie Esiri
What would long days indoors be without some poetry? I had dozens of poetry books to choose from but since I received my first copy of these books, I fell in love with them.
Allie Esiri has THE BEST taste in poetry. These books include selections of poems from hundreds of different authors; many you will have heard of and some who you will meet for the first time. I love her choices and it is only more perfect that she released an entire book dedicated to our old William Shakespeare.
With so many of his words quoted regularly, some of his poetry has slipped into the background. Esiri reminds us of how truly epic Shakespeare’s legacy was.
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
– William Shakespeare
F. Scott Fitzgerald
I am incapable of lasting more than a few days without the comfort of being able to flick through some F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby is one of my favourite books ever written and sometimes I need a little of Gatsby’s hope to get me through the day. I can always rely on Fitzgerald to remind me of the power of our imagination. He was, after all, the author who created the illusion of a decade, which never truly existed; only to be visited with our imagination, to attend parties with the elite, to wear the most elegant clothes and to drink the finest booze.
Hemingway was amongst some of my first literary loves. He is always there to ground me. I relate to his words and am intrigued by his mind. Although his writing may be sombre at times, it is written with real and raw emotion, by someone who feels everything intensely.
Steering away from my “comfort blanket books” are my newer choices. These have been on my TBR list since the beginning of 2020 and I am still stuck on my second book of the year! A combination of finding the story difficult to get into and spending all of my waking hours writing (the latter I adore!).
By Karen Thompson
I am so excited to read The Dreamers and have heard wonderful things about this book. Based in Southern California, The Dreamers is about a mystery illness spreading through a town (sounds a little familiar…), where the victims fall into a deep sleep from which they are not awakening. The story puts a magical spin on reality and boy, do we need a bit of magic at the moment.
“Imagine a world where sleep could trap you, for days, for weeks, for months…
Karen Thompson Walker’s second novel tells the mesmerising story of a town transformed by a mystery illness that locks people in perpetual sleep and triggers extraordinary, life-altering dreams.
One night in an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a first-year student stumbles into her room and falls asleep. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third, panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster.
Written in luminous prose, The Dreamers is a breathtaking and beautiful novel, startling and provocative, about the possibilities contained within a human life if only we are awakened to them.”
The Warlow Experiment
The Warlow Experiment had me intrigued from the moment I picked it up. The storyline sounds incredible and I love to read books which are set in places I have visited myself. Set in Wales, the Warlow Experiment is about an experiment of isolation… sounds familiar again, eh?
I am beyond excited to read this and since purchasing, it has gone on to become BBC History Magazine’s Best Historical Fiction of 2019. I am thinking of scrapping my CR for the time being (I WILL return!) to read The Warlow Experiment instead!
“What kind of person keeps a man underground for seven years?
And who would agree to be part of such an experiment?
Herbert Powyss lives on a small estate in the Welsh Marches, with enough time and income to pursue a gentleman’s fashionable cultivation of exotic plants and trees. But he longs to make his mark in the field of science – something consequential enough to present to the Royal Society in London.
He hits on a radical experiment in isolation: for seven years a subject will inhabit three rooms in the cellar of the manor house, fitted out with books, paintings and even a chamber organ. Meals will arrive thrice daily via a dumbwaiter. The solitude will be totally unrelieved by any social contact; the subject will keep a diary of his daily thoughts and actions. The pay? Fifty pounds per annum, for life.
Only one man is desperate enough to apply for the job: John Warlow, a semi-literate labourer with a wife and six children to provide for. The experiment, a classic Enlightenment exercise gone more than a little mad, will have unforeseen consequences for all included. In this seductive tale of self-delusion and obsession, Alix Nathan has created an utterly transporting historical novel which is both elegant and unforgettably sinister.”
Okay, I am sold – CR: The Warlow Experiment
From the author of the beautiful novel, The Familiars comes her newest book, The Foundling. Stacey Halls has gone on to become a Sunday Times Bestseller since writing The Familiars and if that masterpiece was anything to go by, The Foundling is sure to be equally as enchanting.
“Two women, bound by a child, and a secret that will change everything . . .
London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst, that Clara has died in care, she is astonished when she is told she has already claimed her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why.
Less than a mile from Bess’s lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.
From the bestselling author of The Familiars comes this captivating story of mothers and daughters, class and power, and love against the greatest of odds . . .”
The Night Circus & The Starless Sea
By Erin Morgenstern
Two more books which have been on my TBR list since at least the beginning of this year! Although I am not going to lie, just having them sitting on the bookshelf makes me happy enough; the covers are absolutely beautiful!
The Night Circus is the predecessor of The Starless Sea and both books have received high praise on #Bookstagram and Goodreads and are always appearing on booklists across the internet. Read more about Erin Morgenstern’s bestsellers here.
The Art of Thinking Clearly
By Rolf Dobelli
Amongst all of the poetry and fiction, I felt as if I ought to include a little non-fiction. The Art of Thinking Clearly was bought for me by a rather smug friend of mine and as a result, took to the back of my bookshelf and was sat there gathering dust for three years. However, after seeing great reviews, I feel like I ought to give it a little more of a chance than a measly flick through.
The Superior Persons Book of Words
The Superior Persons Book of Words collection is BRILLIANT. I imagine that Peter Bowler is a fellow INTJ because the hilariously sarcastic definitions of words are just my sense of humour.
Just after I found these books in a charity shop, I went for a tipple in one of my local pubs. A regular picked up one of them, started skimming through it and before long he was bidding on my books! They are THAT good.
What is on your lockdown reading list?