Wednesday 9 September 2020

8 Great Books I Read in Lockdown

The one good thing that has come out of lockdown (for me at least) has been having the time to read books for fun, rather than only because I have to for my uni course. I’ve been able to branch out and find something new, read books that had been on my to-be-read list for a while (some for YEARS), as well as catching up on library books which were due back (although thank god they didn’t charge until mid-August for late returns). If you’ve read my Monthly Wrap Ups this year, it’s likely that you will have seen these books mentioned, although I may not have gone into that much detail, so this is my opportunity to talk about them more. These are the ones I’ve enjoyed the most, or got the most from. They’re not in any particular order, because doing so would take AGES and even then I probably couldn’t think of an order I’d be happy with. I hope you read at least one of these books and love them as much as I do. 

Feminism, Interrupted by Lola Olufemi

I honestly wish I could put a copy of this book into the hands of every person in the world. If you want a good introduction to intersectional feminism, this book is by far the best I’ve read. It’s a great starting point, introducing you to a variety of key issues, from reproductive justice to the prison abolition to the links between feminism and food. These issues are explained clearly and concisely, without simplifying any of the issues or being patronizing. Olufemi points her readers to the other places to learn more about these issues, both in the main text itself, but also in a great resource section at the back of the book.

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

I heard great things about this book, and was not disappointed when I finally got around to reading it. I loved the wide variety of women’s stories we hear in this book. I already knew a little bit about some of the characters in this book, but I particularly loved reading the stories about the women I’d not heard of before. Some of my favourites were Creusa, Penthesilea, and Briseis and Chryseis. 

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I read this book earlier on in the summer, when I still had a few uni essays to write, and this book was a great way of keeping me grounded and forgetting work when I needed to. I completely got sucked into the world of these characters, and the way they tortured each other psychologically. I got through it super quickly, and simply couldn’t put it down. This novel is structured with a series of interviews with people in the fictional band ‘Six’ and those around them, looking back retrospectively many years after the band have split up. It’s personal, complicated, bitter and heartfelt. If you love the drama behind the scenes of bands like Fleetwood Mac and ABBA (and so many more), you’ll love reading about Daisy Jones & Six. 


Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

This book made my heart ache – but in a good way. It covers so many issues in such a good way. It covers the year in the life of protagonist Queenie, which begins with a breakup and a secret miscarriage (this isn’t a spoiler alert as it’s literally on the first few pages), and follows how she copes with these issues and how they spark the decline in her mental health. All the characters are complex, and felt real. It felt like a reassuring hug, a friend pulling up the blinds when you otherwise might have stayed in bed in the dark the whole day. I would urge everyone to read it. 


Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth

I ordered my copy of this book when I was halfway through the film adaptation (which I LOVED by the way!). When doing my usual research of films, TV series, etc. that I’m watching (I have a desperate need to know more, and sometimes that does put me in the habit of stumbling across spoilers accidentally), and was astounded to find that the film was based on a true story. I had to know more. I’ve not finished this yet, but I’m slowly working my way through and it is certainly fascinating.

Dark Days by James Baldwin

One of Penguin’s Mini Modern Classics, this is a collection of three essays by the incredible James Baldwin. They focus on racial and class inequalities in America, looking both at overarching societal struggles and personal experiences of Baldwin. Ever since reading Giovanni’s Room, I have absolutely loved James Baldwin’s writing style, and I am going to try and read more of his work (although that may have to wait until after I’ve graduated).  

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

I heard Mohsin Hamid speak at my university nearly 2 years ago about his book Exit West, and since then I’ve been meaning to read his most famous book, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and when I finally did, I really enjoyed it. The writing style is gripping, and so easy to read. I think I got through it in a couple of days. I loved the character development, and the way it portrays the rise in Islamophobia in America post-9/11. I don’t quite have the words to express it, but I absolutely loved this book and the impacts it had. 


Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I absolutely adore the TV series adaptation of this (I’ve seen it at least four times now), and I got the book not long after my first viewing. Having both read the book and seen the adaptation, I genuinely think the TV series is one of the best book to screen adaptations tht exists, not only in the actual content of the novel, but most importantly in its essence. These characters are brilliant, the narration is hilarious and its honestly so clever. I laughed so much at this book, and I would highly recommend it if you want something light-hearted but still complex.

If you liked this post you might like: Why Saving Libraries is Not Just an Option, It's a Necessity

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