Updated: May 20
Hi lovely readers. How are you all doing? Like, seriously, how are you doing? It's been a crazy time, and I think it's fair if you're starting to feel a little stir-crazy here. Sometimes just holding yourself together is all you need to do today, and if that's where you are, then good on you.
I'm entering into month two of being at home with the kids, all day everyday, and there are times when it becomes a bit trying. Any introverts out there? I'm very introverted. And when all these shutdowns started up everyone was joking about how it was our time, introverts unite! Except being an introvert doesn't mean you necessarily want to hide in your house for weeks at a time (although it might), it more means that you need alone time to recharge. I'm exactly that way. I enjoy small groups of people and I like getting together with good friends. I love spending time with my family. But all this relies on the fact that I may also have some time to myself, because that's where I recenter and find balance, regain my energy. It's been a month since I've been constantly surrounded by people, and more often than not they are wrapped around my leg. I find this is stressful, especially as there is no end in sight (yet). Anyone else sharing this experience?
But, on the positive side, things are for the most part really good, and I'm truly so grateful that we are still healthy and safe, and we have a home to shelter in and food is available and this whole experience has been an exercise in gratitude. I hope that no matter what happens, I can maintain this sense of overwhelming thanks for the simple things in life.
I've put together a list of books recommendations during the quarantine. There are different types of books, because there are different ways of using literature to get through these difficult times. What kinds of reader are you right now? I am reading everything right now, but I will confirm I feel better after reading a cozy mystery or sweet rom com, over a violent revolutionary post-apocalyptic adventure. But to each their own!
For people who like to lean into the situation we're living through. The apocalypse is coming? Why not read some intense post-apocalypse books that will get you in the right survivalist mood?
Wilder Girls, by Rory Power: An isolated girls school is shut off from the rest of the world when a deadly infection spreads through the island where they live. Not for a weak stomach.
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel: It's about a deadly pandemic that sweeps through the world and kills ... almost everyone. The world is changed forever. The language is beautiful, but it is also terribly, desperately sad.
One of my favourite genres to just get lost in a good story. You can't worry about your own life when somebody else is in more dire straights then you!
The Rook, by Daniel O'Malley: This book is so. Much. Fun. It's kind of like ... mutants learning their powers in London. The X-Men, but also profoundly English. I've not met many people who've read this, but it deserves more press.
What better time to think really hard about the meaning of life, and the way we choose to live (and die)?
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande: This is the most amazing book. It's about death, and how we want to die, and how society should shift its view towards death (as in, it's not the thing that should be avoided at all costs). This might seem too intense for some, but Gawande's style is soothing and convincing. This book for me was a life-changer and changed my perspective towards life profoundly. I consider this a must-read for everyone, honestly.
Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari: A brilliant, insightful, uncomfortable book about humanity. I have many thoughts on this one, you can check out my review of it here.
Time for a Reread
Why not get lost in one of your favourite books or series from when you were younger? There are a reason children and young adult books are so well loved: they are about hope and overcoming great odds, something we could all use a reminder of right now.
Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling: The ultimate reread. Lose yourself in the magic of Hogwarts and remember the importance of bravery and friendship. You can't lose.
Delightful Romantic Comedies
Forget your troubles as you giggle with the ridiculous antics of two mismatched lovebirds falling for one another.
Bridget Jones' Diary, by Helen Fielding: A classic. This is my favourite book to read when I just need some feel-good vibes. Nobody makes me laugh more than Bridget, who is my favourite literary character, I think, ever.
The Flatshare, by Beth O'Leary: A romantic comedy that is sweet and insightful into modern day couples. I wrote a gushy review of this in my post about inclusivity in romances, see here. Other fun romcoms to enjoy are The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang, and The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne.
Hot Cocoa Cozy
This is a bit of a new genre for me, but I am all over the cozy mystery. Usually set in a quaint small town and characters with sweet jobs like baker (bonus points if recipes are included!) And they solve mysteries, and everything is as charming as a cup of hot cocoa in front of the fire. If you have any recommended books in this genre, I would love to hear them!
The Secret, Scone and Book Society, by Ellery Adams: Emphasis here is on cozy. Books and scones will heal you, with an emphasis on female friendships. I loved it, see my review here.