Uplifting books to get you reading again

Our writers' discuss some of their favourite, uplifting books to get you reading through the summer...

multiple writers
21st July 2020
The stress and uncertainty of lockdown saw a lot of us fall out of our reading routines. For some, picking up and enjoying a book seemed impossible. Here are some recommendations to get you out of your reading funk.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

What to read? Will I like it? Is it worth the time? It can often be difficult to satisfy a readers appetite, especially with the plethora of literature out in the world. But once you taste the poetic language and palatable style of Donna Tartt’s novel you can be sure your hunger will be appeased.

Everyone loves an outsider and everyone loves a scandal. Following the life of protagonist Richard Papen as he tries to find fit in New England’s elite Hampden college the novel is filled with an expose of the most fortunate members of American society. But the novel does not stop here. A dark twist awaits those who have the courage to read on. A definite page-turner with the ability to change how you perceive the world, and the people we are surrounded by, transporting you to a fictional world where it is easy to get caught up in. Perfect for those who have found finding the right book a lofty challenge. 

Iona Lowe

Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks

It’s 1997, and after making a drunken bet for £100, Tony Hawks (the author and comedian, not the skateboarder) sets off on his adventure around Ireland — accompanied by a refrigerator. He has one calendar month to make his way around Ireland with his new companion. 

The highlights of the journey include (but are not limited to): Hawks meeting the poorest king to ever exist, the fridge’s christening, the fridge’s first time surfing, and Hawks’ rise to local stardom as the “Fridge Man”. The Irish people continuously lend a hand or two to Hawks’ as he documents his travels on national Irish radio.

It’s a ridiculous book about a ridiculous journey — as well as the good-heartedness, and generosity, of the Irish people.

Rachel Makinson

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

I did not think I'd be missing university as much as I am, in fact, I don't think I fully understood the extent until I read The Idiot last month. Set at Harvard University during the mid-90s, Selin attempts to navigate her way through college life, caught up in the ever-familiar anxieties of making new friends, academic challenges and finding her place in the world.

However, these challenges and anxieties prove to be more exciting than daunting. Slowly, Selin discovers more about herself- strengthening her relationship with her Turkish roots- and the people around her, namely through her email correspondence with a classmate. This is a coming-of-age story soaked in self-awareness, hope and the acknowledgement that our youth is all about making mistakes.

Evie Lake

Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson

With the academic year at its conclusion I took the opportunity to indulge in some guilt-free fiction, and Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson turned out to be the perfect choice. 

The premise is a little wacky: protagonist Lillian receives an unexpected letter from a school friend called Madison, asking her to come care for her two stepchildren: twins who spontaneously combust when agitated. Lillian is given the summer to figure out her dynamic with the kids, reconnect with Madison and try to avoid bickering with Madison's ultra-successful yet slightly sinister politician husband (and father to the fire-twins).

It makes for a great summer read in the respect it’s entertaining, humorous and easy to follow, but at the same time, Wilson addresses unusual parental love and complicated relationships with appropriate sensitivity. If you’re after a read which is fun yet thought-provoking (and not too long!), then be sure to give Nothing To See Here a go.

Maud Webster

Featured Image: Pixabay

All embedded images: Waterstones.com

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