Top 10: Books to Read During Self-IsolationBy Angelica Malin
Looking for some Corona-lit inspiration? Here’s 10 of our all-time favourite books to get you through self-isolation, from calming non-fiction to escapist novels. Every week, we’ll be running new guides on books we recommend during this period and we’ll try to keep it varied, so there’s something to suit every reader. Here’s our pick of 10 books to read in self-isolation this week:
Best Books to Read in Self-Isolation: Self-Help
Never have we needed self-help books more. This is an anxiety-inducing time for so many, with good reason. Here’s 5 of my favourite self-help books, which I turn to time and time again in moments of anxiety and panic:
The Anxiety Solution is a simple and inspiring guide to reducing anxiety from former sufferer and qualified clinical hypnotherapist, and host of The Calmer You podcast, Chloe Brotheridge. Chloe will help you understand why we feel anxious and will equip you with techniques to help manage the symptoms and start living a happier, more confident life – perfect for the current climate. Based on the latest scientific research and her unique programme which has already helped hundreds of clients, The Anxiety Solution will show you how to regain control of your life. Buy here.
Shahroo Izadi has a revolutionary message: treating yourself kindly is the only way to make changes that last. She is living proof that her method works – after years of yo-yo dieting she shed over 8 stone (and has kept it off ever since). Professional training coupled with personal experience led her to develop The Kindness Method, where traditional strict regimes are turned upside down to leave you feeling empowered, positive and ready to embrace change. We need kindness – towards ourselves and others – now more than ever before. Buy here.
In this book, New York Times bestselling author Gabrielle Bernstein teaches readers how to transform their fear into faith in order to live a divinely guided life. Each story and lesson in the book guides readers to release the blocks to what they most long for: happiness, security and clear direction. The lessons help readers relinquish the need to control so they can relax into a sense of certainty and freedom. Readers will learn to stop chasing life and truly live. Making the shift from fear to faith will give readers a sense of power in a world that all too often makes them feel utterly powerless. When the tragedies of the world seem overwhelming, this book will help guide them back to their true power. Buy here.
Having a secret single freak-out? You need this book. Over half of Brits aged 25-44 are now single. It’s become the norm to remain solo until much later in life, given the average marriage ages of 35 (women) and 38 (men). Many of us are choosing never to marry at all. But society, films, song lyrics and our parents are adamant that a happy ending has to be couple-shaped. Catherine Gray took a whole year off dating to find single satisfaction. She lifted the lid on the reasons behind the global single revolution, explored the bizarre ways cultures single-shame, detached from ‘all the good ones are gone!’ panic and debunked the myth that married people are much happier. Buy here.
At work, we’re taught to lead the conversation. On social media, we shape our personal narratives. At parties, we talk over one another. So do our politicians. We’re not listening. And no one is listening to us. Now more than ever, we need to listen to those around us. New York Times contributor Kate Murphy draws on countless conversations she has had with everyone from priests to CIA interrogators, focus group moderators to bartenders, her great-great aunt to her friend’s toddler, to show how only by listening well can we truly connect with others. Listening has the potential to transform our relationships and our working lives, improve our self-knowledge, and increase our creativity and happiness. While it may take some effort, it’s a skill that can be learnt and perfected. Buy here.
Best Books to Read in Self-Isolation: Fiction
Novels are a great way to escape, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed by world events. Here’s 5 novels we’re loving at the moment, ranging from romantic fiction tales to gripping Man Booker Prize winners:
We’re loving the latest read by Marian Keyes. It’s based around a glamorous family, the Caseys. Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it. Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much. Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets. In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up? Buy here.
We loved this enchanting new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author, Santa Montefiore.
Arethusa Clayton has always been formidable, used to getting her own way. On her death, she leaves unexpected instructions. Instead of being buried in America, on the wealthy East Coast where she and her late husband raised their two children, Arethusa has decreed that her ashes be scattered in a remote corner of Ireland, on the hills overlooking the sea.
All Arethusa ever told Faye was that she grew up in a poor farming family and left Ireland, alone, to start a new life in America as did so many in those times of hardship and famine. But who were her family in Ireland and where are they now? What was the real reason that she turned away from them? And who is the mysterious benefactor of a significant share of Arethusa’s estate?
Arethusa is gone. There is no one left to tell her story. Faye feels bereft, as if her mother’s whole family has died with her. Leaving her own husband and children behind, she travels to the picturesque village of Ballinakelly, determined to fulfil her mother’s last wish and to find out the reason for Arethusa’s insistence on being laid to rest in this faraway land. Buy here.
The book everyone is talking about.
With The Mirror and the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage. Buy here.
When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege. Buy here
This is Britain as you’ve never read it. This is Britain as it has never been told.
From Newcastle to Cornwall, from the birth of the twentieth century to the teens of the twenty-first, Girl, Woman, Other follows a cast of twelve characters on their personal journeys through this country and the last hundred years. They’re each looking for something – a shared past, an unexpected future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, a missed mother, a lost father, even just a touch of hope. Buy here
And one for luck…
Need a captivating read? Try the latest novel by Rebecca Reid.
When Poppy meets Drew, she’s at rock bottom: broke, jobless and with nowhere to live. So when he proposes after a whirlwind romance, she says yes – even though he has suggested they don’t tell each other anything about their lives before they met.
It’s unconventional, but it suits Poppy’s needs perfectly. Because Poppy has a secret – and she isn’t so sure Drew would still want to marry her if he knew the truth.
But, of course, this is a two-way deal – and Drew has secrets of his own. But surely they can’t be worse than what Poppy’s hiding . . .
What is more dangerous, a secret or a lie? Poppy is about to find out.