Fun Fact: According to a recent survey, people have almost doubled their reading time since lockdown began. This is one bandwagon you definitely want to join! But are you stuck for reading choices? Don’t know where to start or what you even feel like reading? Here’s my list of books that may just help you out.
This is Going to Hurt
First up is a well-deserved nod to the NHS. I’ll tell you this: if you’ve ever experienced healthcare outside of the UK, had to stay in hospital or just go into clinics for treatment, you’d never complain about the NHS again. And it’s not just about money, it’s about people. The fact that there are genuinely caring, warm and amazing personalities here who are working their behinds off to sincerely help you in your time of need. That REALLY shows in this book.
Adam Kay was a doctor for years before throwing it in to become a comedy writer, which also explains why this read is absolutely hilarious. Attention grabbing from the get-go, it had me laughing, wincing at the beyond-ouch anecdotes (some stupidly self-induced) but left me mostly in disbelief at the working hours and life of a junior doctor. A Sunday Times bestseller, it definitely lived up to the hype. A word (or two) of warning – language can be very blunt and Kay was a specialist in obs and gynae. ‘Nuff said.
Becoming and The Autobiography of Malcolm X
I’m going to group these both together because they are similarly incredible reads. If there was ever living proof for the power of books and education, it’s found in Malcolm X and Michelle Obama. And to be frank, in the current climate, they are both essential reading! Both individuals managed to transform their humble backgrounds and obliterate their disadvantages through sheer determination and self-belief. Their journeys are inspiring, enlightening and influential and reinforce the idea that you can achieve big things no matter who you are or where you come from.
The Shadow of the Wind
“…few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return.”
Once upon a time, I stopped reading. Yep. It was straight after graduating and I had NO desire to dive into another book again. I don’t remember how long that lasted, but the spell broke with this super novel – It is exquisite!! Originally written in Spanish, the translation is BEAUTIFUL and you still get that mastery of language and storytelling. Considering this is a book about books, it’s hard to choose just one quote from the many about a reader’s experience, but this is an apt one for me as I return to this book again and again. it’s clever, absorbing, magical, descriptive, gripping and a must-read for all book lovers and anyone wanting to lose themselves in a great read.
How to Stop Time
Tom Hazard looks like an ordinary 41 year old, but he has a rare condition that causes him to age very slowly – he’s actually over 400! For a book about a fictional disease, the story just felt incredibly real! I absolutely loved it from start to finish (though the ending was a little rushed) for all the reasons a lot of people (so it appears on Instagram) don’t – namely the narrative method and the streams of consciousness. I thought the flashbacks to different eras in British history were really engaging rather than distracting/confusing, which can happen very easily, and also a great way to highlight the authors brilliant points on immigration.
It’s not at all a laborious read and actually quite easy to finish in two evenings! Beautifully written and very thought-provoking, I would definitely read this book again as a reminder to live in the present and make the most of every moment.
The Architect’s Apprentice
If historical fiction and flawless writing is your thing, you’ll love any one of Elif Shafak’s books, but this would be a good place to start. Using detailed, rich and evocative language, The Architect’s Apprentice is an enchanting tale of a young, Indian boy named Jahan arriving in Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire. With the aid of his wit and a rare elephant as a companion, Jahan manages to snag himself a position in the Sultan’s court. Let the adventure begin! With vibrant characters and stories within stories, this is one book that will keep you enthralled.