15 of the Best Books to Read in Lockdown

15 of the Best Books to Read in Lockdown

Since the country has been in quarantine many people have turned to books as a way to escape the boredom. This article contains a list of the best books of 2020 so far and the books to look out for later in the year. Whether you are looking to be uplifted, inspired, scared or you simply want a means of escape, there is a book here for every reader.

Letters on Motherhood

By Giovanna Fletcher

Preface: Letters on Motherhood is a collection of heartfelt and deeply poignant letters written by Giovanna to her three young sons Buzz, Buddy and Max, husband, Tom, and the family and friends who have inspired and supported her to become the mother that she is today.

In this beautiful book, she shares the funny and moving personal tales of her own family life, peppered throughout with her poignant family photos bringing her stories to life.

Never one to glamorise the idea of a perfect family, Giovanna writes about the priceless highs and the challenging lows as she talks about the deeper universal truths of parenting including:

· Coping with mum guilt

· Finding a work/family life balance

· Positive body image

· Rediscovering a sense of identity

· A parent's hopes, fears and expectations for their child's future

Honest, heartwarming and hilarious, Giovanna's musings on motherhood are both a joy and a comfort.

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Inge's War

By Svenja O’Donnell

Preface: Svenja O'Donnell’s beautiful, aloof grandmother Inge never spoke about the past. All her family knew was that she had grown up in a city that no longer exists on any map: Königsberg in East Prussia, a footnote in history, a place that almost no one has heard of today. But when Svenja impulsively visits this windswept Baltic city, something unlocks in Inge and, finally, she begins to tell her story.

It begins in the secret jazz bars of Hitler’s Berlin. It is a story of passionate first love, betrayal, terror, flight, starvation and violence. As Svenja teases out the threads of her grandmother’s life, retracing her steps all over Europe, she realises that there is suffering here on a scale that she had never dreamt of. And finally, she uncovers a desperately tragic secret that her grandmother has been keeping for sixty years.

Inge's War listens to the voices that are often missing from our historical narrative – those of women caught up on the wrong side of history. It is a book about memory and heritage that interrogates the legacy passed down by those who survive. It also poses the questions: who do we allow to tell their story? What do we mean by family? And what will we do in order to survive?

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The Familiar Dark

By Amy Engel

Preface: In other places, the murder of two little girls would have blanketed the entire town in horror. Here, it was just another bad day.'

Eve Taggert's life has been spent steadily climbing away from her roots. Her mother, a hard and cruel woman who dragged her up in a rundown trailer park, was not who she wanted to be to her own daughter, Junie.

But 12-year old Junie is now dead. Found next to the body of her best friend in the park of their small, broken town. Eve has nothing left but who she used to be.

Despite the corrupt police force that patrol her dirt-poor town deep in the Missouri Ozarks, Eve is going to find what happened to her daughter. Even if it means using her own mother's cruel brand of strength to unearth secrets that don't want to be discovered and face truths it might be better not to know.

Everyone is a suspect.

Everyone has something to hide.

And someone will answer for her daughter's murder.

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Book: The Familiar Dark
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What Have I Done

By Laura Dockrill

Preface: Laura couldn't wait to meet her new baby. But as she went into labour things began to go wrong and Laura started to struggle. A traumatic birth, anxiety about the baby, sleep deprivation, a slow recovery – all these things piled up until Laura (like any new mum) felt overwhelmed.

As many as 8 out of 10 new mums struggle in the weeks after birth. Laura had never experienced mental illness before and was reassured by family, friends and professionals that what she was feeling was ‘normal.’ But in Laura's case these feelings escalated scarily quickly into post-partum psychosis; a rare and debilitating illness. Within a matter of days Laura became paranoid, delusional and suicidal. And when her baby was just three weeks old, on Mother’s Day, Laura was institutionalised without her baby. Throughout this time she was haunted by a sense of: 'What have I done?'

It wasn’t until Laura began to put her story into words (on her phone whilst her son slept) that she began to find herself again and recovery seemed within reach; these are those words.

Despite this gruelling experience, Laura’s story is a hopeful one. Not only has she got better, she has come out the other side stronger and more assured. Now she is determined to break the stigma around post-natal mental health, shatter the romanticised expectations of perfect motherhood, and to empower parents: you are not alone.

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By Christina Dalcher


Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that’s swept the country is all about perfection.

Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don’t measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted.

Elena tells herself it’s not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her.

But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined…

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Book: Q
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Looking For Eliza

By Leaf Arbuthnot

Preface: Poet Ada is recently widowed and feeling lonely for the first time in her life. In order to reconnect with the local community in Oxford, she puts up adverts for a ‘Rent A Gran’ service – offering everything from cooking advice to babysitting to dating wisdom.

Eliza is a fish-out-of-water student at the university. She finds it difficult to form meaningful relationships after the estrangement of her mother and breakup with her girlfriend. She believes it is easier to be alone.

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The Lonely Fajita

By Abigail Mann

Preface: Milly Johnson Breaking up is hard to do... Or the best thing that could happen to you! It's Elissa's birthday, but her boyfriend hasn't really noticed - and she's accidentally scheduled herself a cervical smear instead of celebration drinks. Great. Then there's her borderline-psychotic boss, the fact she's not making but losing money at work, and her sinking feeling she's about to be dumped. But Elissa will soon find out that being single doesn't have to be lonely... And with a little help from her friends, even a girl with minus GBP1,000 in her account can have a lot of fun.

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Rules for Perfect Murders

By Peter Swanson

Preface: A series of unsolved murders with one thing in common: each of the deaths bears an eerie resemblance to the crimes depicted in classic mystery novels.

The deaths lead FBI Agent Gwen Mulvey to mystery bookshop Old Devils. Owner Malcolm Kershaw had once posted online an article titled 'My Eight Favourite Murders,' and there seems to be a deadly link between the deaths and his list - which includes Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders, Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train and Donna Tartt's The Secret History.

Can the killer be stopped before all eight of these perfect murders have been re-enacted?

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By Christopher De Vinck

Preface: A deeply touching novel about two young women whose differences, which once united them, will tear them apart forever, during Hitler's Nazi occupation of Belgium and France. Based on true events.

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Book: Ashes
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And the Stars Were Burning Brightly

By Danielle Jawando

Preface: When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al, has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart.

Al was special.

Al was talented.

Al had so many dreams ... so why did he do it?

Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan decides to retrace Al’s footsteps. As he does, he meets Megan, Al's former classmate, who is as determined as Nathan to keep Al's memory alive.

Together they start seeking answers, but will either of them be able to handle the truth about Al’s death when they eventually discover what happened?

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We Are All the Same in the Dark

By julia heaberlin

Preface: It's been a decade since the town's sweetheart Trumanell Branson disappeared, leaving only a bloody handprint behind.

Since her disappearance, Tru's brother, Wyatt, has lived as an outcast, desperate to know what happened to his sister.

So when Wyatt finds a lost girl, he believes she is a sign.

But for new cop, Odette Tucker, this girl's appearance reopens old wounds.

Determined to solve both cases, Odette fights to save a lost girl in the present and in doing so digs up a shocking truth about that fateful night in the past . . .

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The Sin Eater

By Megan Campisi

Preface: A Sin Eater’s duty is a necessary evil: she hears the final private confessions of the dying, eats their sins as a funeral rite, and guarantees their souls access to heaven.

It is always women who eat sins – a punishment, for it was Eve who first ate the Forbidden Fruit. Stained by the sins they are obliged to consume, the Sin Eater is shunned and silenced, doomed to live in exile at the edge of town.

Recently orphaned May Owens is just fourteen when she’s arrested for stealing a loaf of bread and sentenced to become a Sin Eater.

It’s a devastating sentence, but May’s new invisibility opens new doors. And when first one, then two, of the Queen’s courtiers suddenly grow ill, May hears their deathbed confessions – and begins to investigate a terrible rumour that is only whispered of amid palace corridors.

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Nothing Can Hurt You Now

By Nicola Maye Goldberg

Preface: On a cold day in 1997, student Sara Morgan was killed in the woods surrounding her liberal arts college in upstate New York. Her boyfriend, Blake Campbell, confessed, only to be acquitted following a plea of temporary insanity.

In the wake of this senseless act of violence, the case comes to haunt a strange and surprising network of community members, from the young woman who discovers Sara’s body to the junior reporter who senses its connection to convicted local serial killer John Logan. As the years pass, others search for retribution or explanation: including Sara’s half-sister who, stifled by her family’s bereft silence about Blake, poses as a babysitter and seeks out her own form of justice, while the teenager Sara used to babysit starts writing to Logan in prison.

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Survivor Song

By Paul Tremblay

Preface: When it happens, it happens quickly.

New England is locked down, a strict curfew the only way to stem the wildfire spread of a rabies-like virus. The hospitals cannot cope with the infected, as the pathogen’s ferociously quick incubation period overwhelms the state. The veneer of civilisation is breaking down as people live in fear of everyone around them. Staying inside is the only way to keep safe. But paediatrician Ramola Sherman can’t stay safe, when her friend Natalie calls – her husband is dead, she’s eight months pregnant, and she’s been bitten. She is thrust into a desperate race to bring Natalie and her unborn child to a hospital, to try and save both their lives.

Their once familiar home has becoming a violent and strange place, twisted in to a barely recognisable landscape. What should have been a simple, joyous journey becomes a brutal trial.

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Anxious People

By Fredrik Backman

Preface: In a small town in Sweden it appears to be an ordinary day. But look more closely, and you'll see a mysterious masked figure approaching a bank...

Two hours later, chaos has descended. A bungled attempted robbery has developed into a hostage situation - and the offender is refusing to communicate their demands to the police.

Inside the building, fear quickly turns to irritation for the seven strangers trapped inside. If this is to be their last day on earth, shouldn't it be a bit more dramatic?

But as the minutes tick by, they begin to suspect that the criminal mastermind holding them hostage might be more in need of rescuing than they are...

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