Recently, a few people have joked that I’ll have plenty to do during this time because I have plenty of books I can read. Whilst I like that this is true, it also makes me sad that I’m dreaming of hours curled up with a book, when in reality I’m snatching minutes to read a few pages because really I should be continuing my university work.
That being said, I am allowing myself this time to indulge in the fantasy of all of the books I could possibly be reading, if it weren’t for that pesky dissertation.
I have chosen 7 books because I need to limit myself, or else I will indulge too much and the list will be too long. I think I have chosen a good selection here though, so hopefully one of them may appeal to you.
Everything I Know About Love – Dolly Alderton
‘A spot-on, wildly funny and sometimes heart-breaking book about growing up, growing older and navigating all kinds of love along the way.
When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has not only seen it all and tried it all but written about it too.
In her intimate memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod-Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out.
It’s a book about bad dates, good friends and – above all else – about recognising that you and you alone are enough.’
I’m starting with this one because I am actually reading it at the moment. I have been stuck in a reading slump and so when I came home from uni I wanted to find a book to help me out of it. I posted on my Instagram (@georgia.ellen22) asking which books from a stack I should read. This book got the most votes, so I decided to trust in my fellow bookworms and gave it a go. So far, I’m loving it, and my reading speed has increased again, so all going well thus far.
The book follows Dolly from her teens into her twenties as she learns about love, dating and friendships. The book is relatable, funny, honest, and well-written. I’m only about 100 pages in, but I know it will be one I’ll recommend to my friends.
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
‘Life in the March household is full of adventures and accidents as the four very different March sisters follow their varying paths to adulthood, always maintaining the special bond between them. Sensible Meg, impetuous Jo, shy Beth and artistic Amy each have to confront different challenges as they grow up together and attempt to learn how to be both happy and good.‘
I tried reading this novel years ago (admittedly because of Friends), but I would still really like to read it. I went to see the recent film in January and I loved it, so my desire to read the book has been renewed. Of course, now I know what happens in the story (Friends made sure to ruin that one years ago) but I don’t think that will stop me.
The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary
‘Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…
Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…‘
I bought a copy of this from a charity shop a few months ago and have been itching to dive in ever since. I have seen a lot of people online talking about this book and the buzz around it as a debut has made me curious. What also entices me about this novel is that it’ll be something a bit lighter and that is what I need in these uncertain times.
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
‘In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop … There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth … stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white.’
‘The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter is drawn into the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons and poison.
Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is a gripping story of desire, ruthless ambition and chilling suspense. The first and most influential novel of the Victorian sensationlist genre it combines Gothic horror with psychological realism.
Often cited as the book that launched Victorian sensationalist fiction, The Woman in White began as an anonymously written instalment in Charles Dickens’ weekly magazine All Year Round and quickly became one of the most talked-about stories of its day. Full of passion, intrigue, hauntings, gothic mystery and shocking scandal, it divided critics but captured the public imagination and today – more than 150 years after it first appeared in print – it continues to delight, shock and enthral in equal measure. As the critic Jon Michael Varese wrote of the book in the Guardian, ‘The apparitions that Collins conjures are the ghosts that ensured not just his success but his longevity. They are what have kept readers going back for more.’‘
I started reading this novel about a year ago as part of my 19th century novel module at uni. I really enjoyed what I read of it, and learning about it made me want to read it more. Unfortunately, I ran out of time to read it at uni and have never found a time to go back to it, but I want to.
The Last Letter From Your Lover – Jojo Moyes
‘When journalist Ellie looks through her newspaper’s archives for a story, she doesn’t think she’ll find anything of interest. Instead she discovers a letter from 1960, written by a man asking his lover to leave her husband – and Ellie is caught up in the intrigue of a past love affair. Despite, or perhaps because of her own romantic entanglements with a married man.
In 1960, Jennifer wakes up in hospital after a car accident. She can’t remember anything – her husband, her friends, who she used to be. And then, when she returns home, she uncovers a hidden letter, and begins to remember the lover she was willing to risk everything for.
Ellie and Jennifer’s stories of passion, adultery and loss are wound together in this richly emotive novel – interspersed with real ‘last letters’.’
I was given this novel as a Christmas present because I love Jojo Moyes and have read 5 of her novels now. Me Before You is one of my favourite books, and I recently read her latest novel, The Giver of Stars, and loved that too (it may be a new favourite). I’m excited to see what this novel brings and I’m sure I heard it’s being adapted for screen so hopefully I’ll have read it before then.
Becoming – Michelle Obama
‘In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her-from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.
With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it-in her own words and on her own terms.
Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations-and whose story inspires us to do the same.‘
This book has been sat on my shelf for over a year now and I really want to find time to read it. I recently read the opening for a uni module, and that almost felt like a tease when I have no real time to read for pleasure. A couple of friends have read the book and they both really enjoyed it, so I know that when I do pick it up, it’ll be a good one.
To The Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
‘Mr and Mrs Ramsay and their eight children have always holidayed at their summer house in Skye, surrounded by family friends. The novel’s opening section teems with the noise, complications, bruised emotions, joys and quiet tragedies of everyday family life that might go on forever. But time passes, bringing with it war and death, and the summer home stands empty until one day, many years later, the family return to make the long-postponed visit to the lighthouse.
One of the great literary achievements of the 20th century, To the Lighthouse, is at once an intensely autobiographical and universally moving masterpiece about changing relationships and attitudes amongst the early 20th-century middle class.’
It makes me feel like a stereotypical English student when I say this: I like Virginia Woolf. I haven’t read a lot of her work yet, but I have particularly enjoyed what I have read. Since starting uni I have read Mrs Dalloway, A Room of One’s Own, and a number of essays. All of this was read for uni, but I am keen to read more. I was given two of Woolf’s novels for Christmas and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.
I hope you all stay safe, and do consider picking up a book (they are wonderful for escapism).
All blurbs are from waterstones.com