Because why spend lockdown wallowing under a blanket when you could be productive and finally get through that reading list?
- WITCH, Rebecca Tamás
One of my all-time favourite poetry collections. This is visceral, vulgar and resonant. I couldn’t recommend it more.
- Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
First of all, fantastic film. Second of all, the book is just as good. The subtlety is there and just as tortuous as the movie. Gritty and culty, an absolutely must.
- The Familiars, Stacey Halls
For all of you lockdown-ing in Lancaster, The Familiars is a perfect choice. A story about the Pendle Witch trials told from the perspective of a compelling young woman who is fighting her husband to stop the execution.
- Carry On, Rainbow Rowell
If you love YA fiction, magic and dry humour, then this is the poorly-concealed Draco/Harry fanfiction for you. This is one of my absolute favourite books (do I have a tattoo of one of the best scenes? Yes, yes I do) so you should all go read it, honestly.
- Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli
Not as great as the film but wow, these characters are cool kids. If you don’t fall in love with them, you’ll want to be them. Plus, I am a sucker for teenage gay love stories.
- The Colour Purple, Alice Walker
An epistolary novel about a young black woman living in the deep American South. The beginning is tragic and almost difficult to read but being able to see Celie’s development into her final self is so rewarding that I sobbed at the end.
- The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
This absolutely includes the rest of The Lord of the Rings series, too. Yes, the first one is mostly an over-descriptive walk through Middle Earth but as you read through the series, the writing gets more and more action-based (don’t fret). Besides, who doesn’t want to read Gimli and Legolas’ growing bro-ship.
- A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin
Everyone knows Game of Thrones. Except, read the book and you’ll get to live it all out with more sex, more gore, and more politics than you can wrap your head around. Even considering how chunky these books are, I flew right through these.
- Women who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD.
This is an essay about the wild woman: the divine feminine that lives inside each woman and keeps her free, creative and in tune with the wilderness. It is full of folktales and fairy stories to help you unlock your inner wild woman (and to appreciate a bit of ancient culture).
- You, Caroline Kepnes
We watched the Netflix series and now it’s time to read the book. It is equally creepy, equally funny, and equally as gripping.
- Tithe, Holly Black
If you remember watching The Spiderwick Chronicles as a kid, get ready to see the author’s work for young adults. This trilogy is urban meets faeries (and I totally don’t have a crush on the leading man, you do).
- The Power, Naomi Alderman
Stunning. Super powers, politics, religion and existential gender dilemmas. This book is flawless. It reads like a historical novel except you have to do all the digging work – it’s fantastic.
- Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist
One of the weirder novels on this list. Unlike the 2010 film (Let Me In, starring Chloë Grace Moretz), the original novel includes some really dark themes (yes, even darker than child vampires). Written in a Stephen King-esque narration, this book is everything brilliant about crime thrillers combined with monsters and Sweden.
- Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi
Okay, hands up, this was for my course. However, Persepolis is one of the most stunning books I’ve ever read. It’s an autobiographical graphic novel about Marjane’s life during the Islamic Revolution; the kind of book you sit down and read all in one sitting. Absolutely compelling.
- Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
I’m almost reluctant to add this to the list because some of the dialect is unreadable and it was sheer willpower that kept me reading but it does deal with some amazing topics (and there isn’t enough Scottish literature out there).
Go forth, my lovelies. Go forth and spend your maintenance loan on books. Fend off the lockdown blues.