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I've always love to read, so it's not surprising that I've gone through a lot of books during the COVID-19 lockdown. I generally tend to gravitate towards longer, multi-generational novels (think The Thornbirds) or adult fantasy, but with so much time on my hands, I found myself trying out different styles and genres.
From tearjerkers by Jodi Picoult to self-help books that have been very eye-opening, I've gone through some good ones.
Take a look at seven of the best books I've read during lockdown that I highly recommend.
This book is so beautiful. It made me laugh out loud, ugly cry, and generally feel all of the feels. The story follows the life of Eleanor Oliphant, a quirky misfit whose life seems fairly normal - except she chugs two litres of vodka every weekend to stave off the loneliness that haunts her. From weekly phone calls from her abusive mother to a wild crush she develops on a local rock star, we get to see how Eleanor eventually starts to heal - and how just a little kindness can change a person's life.
If you're looking for an uplifting read, I highly recommend you give this sweet book a try.
Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol by Holly Whitaker
I picked this book up after seeing Chrissy Teigen mention it on her Instagram as a tool that helped her get sober. Whether or not you have a problem with alcohol, this book is an amazing (and incredibly eye-opening) read. The book highlights the pressures that women are faced with when it comes to alcohol consumption and how we've been programmed to think that a drink will soothe our anxieties, like "mommy's time to relax" or "you deserve this, you had a hard day." The author explains how this turns into toxic patterns due to alcohol being an addictive substance, and just how deeply it can affect your life.
SHOP IT: Indigo, $23
This was a disturbing read, but also incredibly compelling. It reminded me a lot of Lolita and even references the Nabakov classic a few times. The story follows the life of Vanessa, a teenager who believes she is engaging in a "romantic" relationship with her much older teacher who pursues her. It explores the trauma she sustained from the relationship as a girl, how it impacted her life as an adult, and how she eventually begins the process of healing.
A warning - this book contains graphic details about the sexual assault of a minor.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $14 (originally $23)
I picked this book up because being single during a pandemic sucks. It doesn't take the edge off of the loneliness, but it is full of helpful messages on boundaries, relationships and generally just prioritizing yourself and your happiness, which can be hard when everything seems so bad. I like that this book is snackable - it's not long chapters of text, but rather paragraphs focusing on specific topics interspersed with Nigerian Igbo proverbs. Loving yourself - really loving yourself unconditionally - is a radical thing, and while I may not be all the way there, I found this book helpful on my journey.
SHOP IT: Indigo, $24 (originally $25)
I've followed Nikita Gill on Instagram for a while and always loved her content, so I decided to pick up one of her books of poetry. Whew. It's always wild to me how just a handful of words can evoke such a strong emotional response, and Gill is a master of it. The poems explore inner strength, rebellion, love, sorrow, and the ways we respond to and express our emotions around those topics. This is the perfect kind of book to snuggle up with on a rainy day with a cup of tea.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $19
I've been a fan of Leigh Bardugo for years, and with her Shadow and Bone trilogy's recent debut on Netflix, I wanted to go back and read the books. Unfortunately, due to the massive popularity of the show, I am currently number 304 in line for it at my library. I decided to check out an e-book from her I'd never read, and I'm so glad I did. It's a series of short stories that remind me of fairy tales, but with a subverted twist. In these stories, the prince is more likely to be the schemer while the wild beast in the woods is the one looking out for the villagers. I love a good fantasy tale, and this book is everything I love about the genre.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $14
I remember in high school everyone raving about how great this book was. I never got around to it in my teen years, but I recently got a copy of it during a book swap with my cousin. This book is a lot, but in the best way. There's cancer, an emancipation court case, wild family dynamics, and a 13-year-old trying to do the best thing for her very ill sister. It's overly dramatic, has over-the-top writing, and a plot twist that truly bamboozled me - highly recommend for an easy Sunday read!
SHOP IT: Amazon, $17