Your definitive Lockdown 2.0 reading list

by Maddie

I don’t think it’s a surprise to many people now that perhaps the ONE thing that got me through lockdown the first time was books. No exaggeration here, books are life. I believe I did a wee post back in lockdown 1 with a bumper reading list – and what might also (not) surprise you is that I’ve finished ’em all – and now I have another load of books I ordered a while back, that conveniently are sat on my shelf ready for lockdown 2.0. So, here’s your definitive lockdown 2.0 reading list! I’ve had a few people contacting me recently asking for another bumper book blog post – so I’m delivering for y’all. Let’s go!

How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right? by Pandora Sykes

Let’s start with what I’m reading right now, shall we? I’ve JUST started reading Sykes’ debut memoir, which is dubbed ‘essays on modern life’, and I’m LOVING it. I’ve been kinda obsessed with Pandora ever since dipping in and out of hers and Dolly Alderton’s podcast, The High Low, and I’ve always hugely admired her journalism. Her writing is eloquent, it’s highly researched and it just gets to the core of what it’s like to be a woman right now. She always seems to get the heart of the matter, and I don’t suppose this book will be any different. From millennial burnout, to cancel culture, Pandora’s got you covered to make you feel less alone and more understood.

Out Of Office (Ditch the 9-5 and Be Your Own Boss) by Fiona Thomas

This is the book I’ve just finished. A no-nonsense, she’s-not-going-to-gloss-over-the-challenges freelancing BIBLE by fellow adopted Brummie and Instagram pal, Fiona Thomas. A freelance writer, journalist and general wordsmith, this is Fiona’s SECOND book and it really is the handbook for anyone even remotely thinking about freelancing. It’s so refreshing to find any kind of business support that’s truly honest, from the difficulties when money dries up, to how freelancing can be hugely beneficial for (and also take a toll on) your mental health. From setting rates to paying tax, Fiona delves into every single aspect of taking the plunge into the icy depths of freelance waters. Have a read of her bewk, and you’ll be sitting-on-a-Maldivian-beach-safely-away-from-shark-infested-waters kinda peachy. For anyone thinking of a career change in lockdown (as I myself had in the last one!!) this book might just help you make the decision.

Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola

This Sunday Times Bestseller, Waterstones Book of the Year nominee is praised as being just a bloody beautiful read. Bolu is a journalist, and this book was edited by a fellow University of Birmingham graduate who used to run the student radio when I was a wee first year, so I just knew I had to purchase this one. Reimagining the love stories world over, we’re transported into rich cultures, diverse experiences and beautiful tales of love with Babalola’s novel. I’ve been told it’s vivid, rich, joyful and magical – and I can’t wait to give this one a read. Such an important one.

The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon

Okay, so I’ve got to admit I have TWO Emma Gannon books in this list. And I’ve also got to admit that for a long time, I was an Emma Gannon-skeptic. Probably because I’m one of the annoying ass people that sometimes don’t like to read a certain book or engage with a certain medium if it’s overly popular (ew) I just didn’t understand the hype around Gannon’s writing. But then I read Sabotage (more to come on this) and I fell in love with her. There’s a reason why Emma Gannon is so damn popular. She has such a way of expressing the human emotions we are so inarticulate in giving a voice to ourselves, and she breaks down problems we all face with such ease, and always offers multiple solutions. If you’re intrigued by Fiona Thomas’ book, then you’ll love The Multi-Hyphen Method. I’m still to read it – but I cannot wait.

Sabotage by Emma Gannon

See, I told you there were two. I cannot express HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS BOOK. Initially an extended essay Gannon wrote that went viral, she was supported by the Pound Project to create this pocket-sized, small but perfectly formed handbook into dealing with the self-sabotage many of us encounter on a daily basis. Pretty much every single sentence in this book resonated with me, and I devoured it in a single sitting one evening when I was feeling pretty self-sabotage-y and it did the trick. It made me question myself and it made me get back on track. Thank you Emma Gannon, you are a legend and I’m sorry I ever doubted you.

Me by Elton John

We’re hitting music memoirs now. Elton John’s acclaimed autobiography, released in line with the hugely successful Rocketman film (which is one of my favourite films EVER and Taron Egerton is a GOD) it’s basically good old Elton with no holds barred. I am obsessed with Elton John, his OG outfits, his obsession with designer shopping, his beautiful relationship with his husband and family he took many years to accept the love of, and his honesty with his struggles throughout his life. And, mainly, his music. Me and Sam are Elton obsessed, and some of our favourite songs (basically soundtracks to our relationship) are his. I wanted to see him live in concert on his Farewell tour this month, but seeing as miss rona has ruined everything yet again, at least we have this read. I’m sure it’s controversial and outrageous in true Elton style – and I can’t wait to read it.

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

The absolute babe and journalist that is Dolly Alderton (who wrote the memoir Everything I Know About Love that myself, everyone else and their dog was raving about) is back – with her first. Ever. Novel. I CANNOT wait to read this, purely because I’m absolutely intrigued to see how the queen of millennial journalism and non-fiction has managed to pull a novel together. But, if you want to know what the story is about, it follows Nina Dean, a millennial who’s life is being turned upside down. Focusing on relationships of all kinds, and the heartbreaking nature of Dementia, I’ve heard that this novel makes you laugh and cry in equal measure. So I, naturally, can’t wait for a sob fest.

Coming Undone by Terri White

As a wannabe journalist, I am obsessed with any journalism-related memoirs. Gimme a journo with a sob story to tell, and I’m all ears. However, I’ve heard so so so many great things about Terri White’s debut memoir. The current Editor-in-Chief of Empire Magazine, she’s had a rollercoaster life that hit rock bottom at the precise moment when everything looked perfect. For any aspiring journalists, or those who need some gut-wrenching reality in their lives, this one is for you.

Quiet (The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking) by Susan Cain

This book is a bestseller world over. You’ve probably heard of it. If you haven’t, and you’re an introvert, ORDER THIS NOW. I was lucky enough to be able to pick this up from my local charity shop a while ago (we STAN a charity book shop) and it’s been waiting patiently on my shelf (like the good introvert it is) for me to pick it up and read it. As someone who’s definitely got many introverted tendencies, I’ve experienced a good few times in my life where my introverted qualities have held me back, and I’m really excited to finally see a book that celebrates it. The introverts have been silenced for too long – it’s time they got a voice.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

My beautiful best friend Hannah gave me this book after she finished reading it when I went to visit her in lovely Liverpool back over summer, when we felt like the world was potentially rid of coronavirus (oh, how naive we were). This novel sounds very dream-like and mystical, as protagonist Andrew has spent half of his life collecting lost objects, trying to ‘atone for a promise broken many year before’. Anything that says ‘many years before’ hooks me, so clearly we all need to read this novel to find out WHAT ANDREW DID.

VOX by Christina Dalcher

Okay, so this is another that everyone and their dog has devoured, and rightfully so. This Sunday Times Bestseller is very reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale (one of my favourite reads of high school) and so I can’t wait to read this one. The government is controlling the female voice and experience, freezing bank accounts, taking away passports and, terrifyingly, women’s rights. A very dystopian tale that points to many inequalities that STILL about our society, I think this is set to be an important read.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

You may have watched the Amazon Prime hit TV show by now, but if you haven’t read the book, you need to read it, ASAP. Following Elena Richardson in Shaker Heights, this novel will have you sobbing. Now a hit TV series, after the novel was discovered by none other than Reese Witherspoon, it is really worth a read – before you hit your laptop.

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary

This is another novel that EVERYONE has read and EVERYONE loves – and my lovely friend Hannah gave it to me! I’d been meaning to read this for ages, but just hadn’t got round to buying it, and I’m so grateful it’s sat on my shelf waiting for me now. A very, very relatable novel and an easy, chick-lit read, I think it’ll have a lot of us gals getting that ‘omg saaaame’ feeling.

In Paris With You by Clementine Beauvais (translated by Sam Taylor)

Okay, not going to lie, I bought this book purely for the cover and because I ADORE PARIS. It’s my favourite place on earth (aside from Bristol) as I’m sure lots of you know by now, and I really do have no clue what this book is fully about, but I know it’s been translated and was a Parisian hit, so I’m sure I’ll adore it. It was a wee gem I found in my local charity shop – and I can’t wait to read.

Jog On by Bella Mackie

I’m going to end on yet another bewk everyone and their doggo has read. Doggos love to run, so makes sense. Bella Mackie is a wonderful journalist and is married to Greg James (jel? Who? Me? Nooooo…) and it’s been another I was intrigued about purchasing, but one which I was unsure on, because I’m just not someone who likes to run. But this book is about so much more than that. It’s a memoir about how running helped Bella come to terms with her trauma and get her mental health back on track (pun intended) and I think it’s going to be a tender, funny, emotional read that makes you think. And I can’t wait to take this off my shelf and have a good ol’ read.

So, there we have it. That’s my BUMPER book recommendation post for you. Should be just a few to keep us going through lockdown 2.0, right?

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