A good book can transport you to exotic locations and introduce you to exciting new friends – something that hasn’t been physically possible for most of 2020.
Getting lost in a story has always been the perfect antidote to boredom and stress – and this year’s lockdowns have given us more reasons than ever to pick up that novel we’ve always meant to read but have never managed to find the time.
Scrolling through tweets or Facebook comments might provide a quick fix, but booming book sales suggest a longer read is becoming the preferred way to pass the long hours spent at home.
So which books should be on your list? Whether you’re drawn to a classic novel, a crime thriller, a gentle romance or a family favourite, here are our top suggestions for the next chapter in your lockdown life.
Ok, so you’ve got lots of extra time – but are you really going to use it to finally tackle War and Peace? If you are, we’re officially impressed. But if you want Russian literature that isn’t quite so daunting, we’d recommend that other Leo Tolstoy masterpiece, Anna Karenina, a tale of high society scandal and tragedy.
Considered by many to be a modern classic, Donna Tartt’s beautifully written The Secret History follows a group of smart, eccentric students at an elite New England university who are concealing a dark secret.
A little light relief
Books that make you laugh are the best antidote to the unrelenting tide of worrying news.
Pick up What Ho!: The Best of Wodehouse, and step into the idyllic world of Jeeves and Wooster, where everything is simply splendid. PG Wodehouse is judged by many to be the finest comic writer of all time – and, let’s face it, we could all do with something to put a smile on our faces.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾, by Sue Townsend, chronicles the worries of a teenager who desperately wants to be seen as an intellectual. It’s one of those rare books that has the power to make everyone laugh, whether they’re a teenager or an adult.
A fine romance
If we’re keeping it classic, then Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is probably the most loved romance of all time.
If you prefer something modern, turn to JoJo Moyes, who won the hearts of millions with the heart-breaking and funny romance Me Before You, the first in a trilogy of books also made into a film starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke.
For a brilliant combination of history and crime fiction, pick up CJ Sansom’s best-selling Shardlake series. Chronicling the gripping adventures of hunchbacked lawyer detective Matthew Shardlake, there are seven books to keep you going through the long hours of lockdown.
For those who are discovering the 2020 version of Rebecca for the first time on Netflix, it’s worth going back to where it all began and picking up the novel by Daphne du Maurier. Her romantic thriller was first published in 1938, has never gone out of print, and was turned into a film classic by Alfred Hitchcock.