I turned off the news yesterday, forced my fingers (and my brain) to stop scrolling through my twitter feed, and picked up my book. It’s amazing how the gentle act of reading can feel so revolutionary. Because this is happiness in this unquiet real world…
That’s when I decided to positively read through this Lockdown period. I think a lot about the act of ‘positively reading’. To read with an aim in mind – such as reading books from as many different countries as possible or working through all the unread books on your shelves, non-fiction or through prize lists – is different from just picking up a book. I think it’s because it forces you (me) to try new books I might not have chosen before, to find new writers, to take a gamble in the short time I can allow myself to read. If I’m honest, I also like a challenge – and a reading one will always be the best one for me! Remember those library reading challenges they give children during holidays? Those were always my idea of pure pleasure.
So I won’t be going as far as giving myself a star chart (although although…) but I will be recording the books I read this month on social media, and maybe here. First up is the one above, Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi. Do feel free to read along with me, sharing your book choices in the comments or via the #lockdownreading hashtag. You’ll find other recommendations there, but also don’t forget to look up the project Viccy Adams and I collaborated on several years ago, #100women100books, when we asked 100 women, from toddlers to 90 year olds for their favourite book and why.
It was part of an Arts Council England project, with Compton Verney’s women’s library, and you can still download those 100 book choices from the website, and we’re working at looking at how we can rewild and extend the project so watch this space!
In the meantime, here are some other recommendations of what other friends on social media are reading right now… because who doesn’t love a good book recommendation. The notes are cut and pasted straight as they came from the comments, and there are some excellent choices here. My list of things to read is getting longer and longer. If you are tempted, I’ve added links to each book through the wonderful new initiative for independent booksellers, Bookshop.org.)
- I read Summerwater by Sarah Moss recently – the story itself wasn’t at all uplifting, but her writing is wonderful so it was in that way. x
- Writers and Lovers by Lily King x
- Loved Hannah Rothschild’s Trelawny House and think you will too xx
- The Forest of Wool and Steel by Natsu Miyashita
- Going to dip into ‘The Best of Me’ by David Sedaris for some wry humour.
- Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. So beautiful.
- I’ve read Circe which is beautifully written and intriguing xxx1
- The Offing. – Benjamin Myers . A lovely uplifting read
- I’m currently reading Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew. I’ve never read any Hoffman before (but I’ve seen the film of Practical Magic). I got the book sent to me from the Big Green Bookshop as I got a year’s subscription from them for my birthday during the last lockdown. I’m loving this book – it reminds me of All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
- Just read The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elizabeth Gifford, and thoroughly enjoyed it. A fascinating glimpse into a lost way of life and a cracking story too!
- Currently reading My Own Words, Ruth Bader Ginsburg – what an amazing woman
- I am reading Night Film by Marisha Pessl… it’s interesting so far and I am enjoying it. Got newspaper clippings and e-mails and things as part of the text…a wee bit different! C x
- Did you read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi? Brilliant ! And I’m now starting Marylynne Robinson’s new novel, Jack. I always love her stuff .
- I have just read The Book Of Dust by Philip Pullman which was perfect escapist reading with wonderful characters. Now deep into Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, beautifully written as you would expect.
- I’m reading Bowie by Dylan Jones it’s a great great way to collage a person into existence – and make sense of an artist through a kind of negative space! Love it x1
- Hi I’m reading A life on our planet by David Attenborough which is an incredibly moving account of the Earth over his lifetime, which offers a hopeful way forward after the harsh reality…
- Just read 5 books with large book club (24 members!) Actress (Enright) Shadowplay (Joe O’connor) Hamnet (O’Farrell) Strange Flowers (Donal Ryan) and A Ghost In The Throat ( Doireann ni Griofha). All brill.
- I’m reading ‘New Dark Age’ by James Bridle, but it’s pretty depressing. Might go on a Murakami binge afterwards, including Japanese food, to cheer myself up… 1
- Elif Shafak – 10 Minutes and 38 seconds in This Strange World. Am enjoying it.
- It’s not a new book but I recently finally read plainsong by Kent Haruf and loved it!