Our resident bibliotherapist and author of “The Novel Cure”, Ella Berthoud, has prescribed us a lock down reading list. Designed to help you cope with quarantine, whatever mood it’s throwing at you, this broad range of books should appeal to people of all reading persuasions.

Over to Ella…

For putting it all into perspective:
Pulitzer Prize winning “The Overstory” by Richard Powers is a read that will take you into the very rings of the trees in the giant Redwoods of California, and show you different ways of looking at them, all woven through a story of activism, love and gaming. It’s a complex book but elevating and inspirational, and makes our human woes seem like a small matter in the great scale of time and natural history.

For making you laugh:
“Bad Monkey” by Carl Hiaasen – the Californian writer is guaranteed to make you laugh as he writes his dark perspective on life in the Florida Keys. Carl mercilessly rips the pomposity out of landowners, politicians, and tourist magnates, and creates a satisfying crime riddle to be solved, taking you along with him for a high-speed ride.

For a book-shaped comfort blanket:
“Comet in Moominland” by Tove Janson. The first Moomin book written by the Finnish genius that was Tove Janson, inhabiter of tiny islands and creator of irresistible woodland folk. This book is perfectly appropriate for this almost-apocalyptic moment in our lives. The enchanted folk of Moomin Valley have seen signs that a comet is coming, and they are fearful and anxious. As they wait for disaster, they turn to philosophy and helpful potions that might save them, until the denouement. Read this and be reassured that all will be well in the end!

For shaking cabin fever:
“A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towes. The unlucky Count Alexander is incarcerated in a luxurious hotel in Moscow for 30 years, sound a tiny bit familiar? The Count is such excellent company that you will wish you were stuck with him for another 30 years, and you might even  wonder why you felt so claustrophobic in the first place.

For escapism, drama and excitement:
“Papillion” by Henri Charriere. This rollicking read takes you through a series of escapes, lucky chances and high drama chases. All told in the charismatic voice of the Butterfly, Charriere’s depiction of himself, this book is based on the story of his own life. Once you pick it up, you’ll find it impossible to put down..

For shaking that claustrophobic feeling:
“The Martian” by Andy Weir. Mark Watney is stuck on Mars, his crew have all left him for dead, and he has barely enough oxygen and water to keep him alive for a day. How can he survive, the only man on Mars, for the next four years? Watney’s resilience, humour and powers of survival are an inspiration to anyone who is struggling with the privations, socially and physically, of our terrestrial lockdown.

For historical escapism:
Pick up Maggie O Farrell’s fantastic new novel, “Hamnet”. This reveals the life of Shakespeare’s son, and how his death affected the entire family, and indeed, the writings of Shakespeare. A magical, enchanting book, it gives the reader a whole new outlook on the life of the Bard, and will have you looking forward eagerly to your next visit to the Globe, either virtual or once lockdown is over.

Enjoy your reading 📚 📚 📚