What a time to get to grips with a good book. I’m presuming you’re a reader if you’ve chosen to see what my recommendations are. If not, get reading because I’ve thought long and hard about these five books and chosen each one specifically for thought provoking, lockdown reading. The world goes around, people do their thing daily and many thoughts of the lives others lead gets overlooked and forgotten. When we read a book, we devour another characters story. We live in another persons world. We see through the eyes of extraordinary people. I’ve been reading since I was young enough to remember and it’s taught me so much. Stories written that made me laugh through awful times and that have carried me through the most isolated moments of my life.
The Dating Detox by Gemma Burgess.
Firstly, this book made me laugh so much. It’s a bout a 20-something girl who lives in London and just goes from bad relationship to, you guessed it, bad relationship. I think after 6 failed, she pretty much gave up and decided to go man free. For three months she takes on a dating detox . Intentionally for those three months there will be no men, no sex, no dating, no taking phone numbers and no to anything dating related.
Her name is Sass (typically London I have to say) and she takes us on her journey of London life. Minus the dating but not minus the hardship of sustaining from flirting, kissing good looking guys on a Friday night and avoiding sex with a guy she makes a huge sexual connection with. It’s a tad cliche but this guy surprisingly doesn’t disappear and she’s making excuses whilst daydreaming vividly about him naked on top of her.
Secondly, I did this detox myself back in 2011 because I was fed up of meeting utter idiots. This book really inspired me in a laugh out loud way.
Perfect for those who want an easy read, light-hearted humour and may be going through a tough time with a break-up. It’s definitely pillow talk from one woman to another.
Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd
What a book to read and understand as many of our doctors and Pathologists battle through this Covid-19 crisis.
Dr Richard Shepard has performed over 23,000 autopsies and has worked on some of the highest profile cases from 9/11 to the Princess Diana inquiry. From serial killers to natural disasters and freak accidents. Wow. I was blown away as each page just transfixed on the words flowing from this humans mouth onto the page. Dr Shepherd opens up and actually tells us how he does what he does on a daily basis. What he see’s when he opens a human body to analyse a cause of death. It’s truly incredible because he has to deal with this in his normal life outside the walls of the autopsy room. How do you do that?
Many cases really touched my heart and I was flooded with awe and threatened with tears as I read saddening stories of how people lost their lives and by the means it was established. By a man in scrubs in a room with a surgical knife and fountain of knowledge. To be a pathologist is certainly a job for a certain type of person but to hear the stories behind the closed door, that’s scary, incredible and unsettling.
Perfect for those wanting a non-fiction, gritty yet honest read straight from the horses mouth. An eye-opener to what pathologists, forensic or not, have to face when an unknown death arises. This was recommended by a friend and I’m thankful I took her up and bought it. I thought it was apt for this list in the light of the many pathologists working this crisis.
The Truth About Julia by Anna Schaffner
I found this book tucked away in a second hand book cafe, in a little town called Gorey, Ireland. The owner had been given it to review by a journalist and had just finished it a few days prior. Best 3 Euros I ever spent. He told me if a thriller was what I wanted, I needed to try this because it was so different. That bookshop is now my favourite bookshop in the whole world…
This book tells a fictional story of a young, beautiful white girl who blows up a coffee shop in central London for no apparent reasoning before handing herself in to the police. The journalist sent to cover the case is also on her way to prison and it’s a really deep and almost disturbing story of how they both ended up in the same place. That place being jail. Julia publishes a manifesto but refuses to explain or justify her actions.
For me, I found it really hard-hitting. The young girl Julia (without any spoilers) has a journey of her own before she bombs the cafe, and it’s almost possible to maybe understand why she actioned what she did. It’s thought-provoking, spine tingling and sad. Sad in a way that we see so many innocent people die for the points made by terrorists. In this instance it’s just your girl next door who made that decision and what she did was an act of terrorism.
Perfect for getting totally engrossed and not wanting to get up for anything mid-read (Not even a wee break.) The author really reaches out to all of us in this book and I think it’s extremely clever how she plays out the sequence of events to open our eyes to our own terrors of the world.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
What a lovely book. It’s real, it’s written with the ease of somebody who has a story to tell and has a candle by her side as she did so.
So, Harold Fry is an old man who writes letters to an old friend called Queenie, who is extremely unwell. One day he goes to post his letter with his wife upstairs hoovering and just keeps walking. One postbox to the next. Never posting the letter. He isn’t prepared for a walk, let alone the journey he’s heading on. Harold goes day by day, promising he will hand deliver that letter and off he goes. Walking the length of the country with the struggle of being an older man, family thoughts that arise along the way and the kindness of strangers. It’s such a simple concept but extraordinarily moving.
Perfect as a light read with a cup of tea in your hand in your pyjamas. It brings us back to realising how much human contact really does matter and it embraces the warmest comforts in life. Being cared about, smiling and knowing not everything is easy but it’s worth it.
The Secret Barrister
As the title suggests this junior barrister is writing secretly and that’s good enough for me. This book has to be featured in my top five because we, right now, have had our freedom taken away from us essentially. Just like the many real life people you will read in this barristers accounts. The Secret Barrister covers everything. I mean from defending bad citizens to watching innocent people spend time behind bars for crimes they were never guilty of. From the corruption in the police to the set ups of the lawyers and judges. The British criminal justice system and the human cost.
My jaw dropped reading this book and I was transfixed just reading some of the cases brought against people. The lack of evidence, the withholding of evidence to the CPS and seeing a the intensity of “battles” in the courtroom and outcomes of so called balanced juries.
Perfect for those wanting to really get an insight into the criminal justice system and understand that not every media report you read is correct. That people lose their freedom just like we have because a higher power rules. The real criminals in life who walk away, and those that serve a rightful sentence for reasons a person should be withheld from society. This is for you.
So those are my top five books to read whilst in Lockdown 2020. It wasn’t easy, not at all. There are so many more I dabbled with putting in exchange for some featured above but really, these sing to me to be read right now at this moment in time. You may not choose all of them, that’s OK. Reading is hugely personal. I just hope you find a few you love as much as I do.
Let me know which books I recommended you’ll be ordering or downloading.
I’d love to know what you think.
Until next time