What We’ve Been Reading
The Harris Library team share the books they’ve been reading during self-isolation.
A good book (or even a bad one) can be a big help when it comes to taking care of your mental well-being. Especially nowadays when things are difficult for a lot of people. With mental health awareness week coming soon we wanted to take the time to share the books we’ve been reading that helped us unwind during this stressful period.
Lost In Translation: Life In A New Language by Eva Hoffman
This novel deals with nostalgia, memory, love, loss, identity, and both the minute and monumental moments of change one must negotiate in order to find their place in a world. It is a story artfully told and beautifully written. Covering the themes of loss and political and religious tensions, this book is also full of hope and joy and it feels resonant with our current experience. We are all having to learn to adapt, to negotiate a new path, and to see our world in new ways.
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
With ten books in the original series and one extra adult novel for all the grown-up fans, this series has been enough to keep me occupied for almost two weeks! Light-hearted and nostalgic, these books are just what I needed to keep my mind off current events. A perfect fluffy teen romance series for those looking for a noughties throwback or just a royally good, fun read!
Grandmothers by Sally Vickers
Grandmothers is a beautifully written book about three very different women and it explorers their relationships with the younger generation. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it, but, I have found, I do. It was a stimulating read and took me on a journey which is invaluable right now. It also just goes to show, that you should never judge a book by its cover.
Down Under by Bill Bryson
If like me, you have family in Australia or another country, you become aware of the great distance between us at these times. This book proved particularly helpful because it brought the spirit of Australia into my home. It is informative, entertaining, and very funny. Memories of our last visit to see family were reawakened by this book, and it really makes those far off places feel closer to home, and hence making family seem closer to us as well.
Reading Allowed by Chris Paling
An author who took a job in his local library and then wrote this book about his experiences. It’s a wonderful reflection on life in a library, recognisable for sure by any other library staff around the country who may well say “we could have written that”. I found this particularly helpful while self-isolating because it was like going back to work in some ways. So, it was the perfect distraction to keep me entertained and get a bit of normality back.
The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood
Written in 1963, it is described by Atwood as a proto-feminist novel that captured the zeitgeist of protest and change of the late 60’s when it was published. It features the story of Marian, a university graduate, who like many women at that time felt powerless and unheard. After a number of difficulties, Marian is forced to confront why she is unhappy and take action. This is a wry and witty novel, which contains themes regarding women’s lives, choices, and identity that are still a cause for debate today.
The Little Book of Hygge
This book illustrates and explores a very popular Danish philosophy which, is concerned with maximising happiness and well-being. What I liked was that the book unlike many doesn’t offer any one magic formula. Instead, it’s all about making simple changes that could improve your quality of life. The more you read the more you pick up and you can slowly start building a happier environment. It’s the perfect read for stressful times like this.
So, that’s what we’ve been reading how about you? Share the books you’ve found helpful, entertaining or inspiring during this stressful time with us on social media and remember if you’re struggling to find a good book we can help. The library might not be open but you can still borrow from a wide range of eBooks and eAudiobooks with the BorrowBox Digital Library. To find out more about how to access the Digital Library check out our guide.