Lockdown Reading List

POSTED ON: 27/03/2020

The lovely Meg from Waterstones has compiled her top recommendations for books to see you through having extra time at home. So sit down, have a cuppa and get reading. 

(p.s Waterstones is shut in town but you can order your books online

Elly Griffiths, The Crossing Places

Crime & Mystery

A child's bones are discovered on the windswept Norfolk marshes. Believing them to be ancient, the police call in Dr Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist. But this is no prehistoric grave. A cold missing person case has now become a murder investigation.

Robert Radcliffe, Airborne

Historical Adventure

17 September 1944: The Allies have launched the largest airborne offensive in history, delivering 36,000 troops by parachute and glider to the Dutch-German Border. In what will become known as the Battle of Arnhem, half of them will fall as casualties of war. Among their number is Theo Trickey, a young paratrooper so dreadfully injured he is not expected to survive.

Christie Watson, The language of Kindness: A Nurses Story

Memoir (Waterstones Non-fiction book of the month January 2019)

Following a 20-year career that included stints at Great Ormond Street Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, author and former nurse Christie Watson shares a personal, timely and indispensably important story that gives voice to those whose job it is to care for us at our most vulnerable and at our last.

Hannah Rothschild, The Improbability of Love

Romantic Fiction

Sparklingly witty and impeccably plotted, Rothschild’s romantic crime caper crackles with energy and delirious escapism. Set amidst the rarefied residences and shady hang-outs of the London art world, The Improbability of Love blends a vivid cast of larger-than-life characters and a gossamer light love story into a uniquely satisfying literary experience.


Michael Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Modern Fiction

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other.He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else's life.

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Harmless Like You

Modern Fiction

Written in startlingly beautiful prose, Harmless Like You is set across New York, Berlin and Connecticut, following the stories of Yuki Oyama, a Japanese girl fighting to make it as an artist, and Yuki's son Jay who, as an adult in the present day, is forced to confront his mother who abandoned him when he was only two years old.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half a Yellow Sun

Modern Fiction

Set against the brutal backdrop of the Nigerian Civil War, Adichie’s soaring epic entwines three deftly drawn characters in a web of faded colonialism, racial antagonism and vexed romance. Conjuring a richly evocative image of a complex, violent West Africa, Half of a Yellow Sun is a magnificently accomplished and emotionally engaging novel.

Yann Martel, The life of pi

Philosophical fiction

This book is about as thought provoking as they come, it creates an incredible environment where the reader is left to question its credibility for themselves. Yet it is done so in a way that makes this highly unusual situation very believable.


Amy Liptrot, The Outrun

Nature Non-Fiction

At the age of thirty, Amy Liptrot finds herself washed up back home on Orkney. Standing unstable on the island, she tries to come to terms with the addiction that has swallowed the last decade of her life. As she spends her mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, her days tracking Orkney's wildlife, and her nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy discovers how the wild can restore life and renew hope.

Stuart Turton, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Science Fiction, Crime & thriller

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden - one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party - can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

Stacy Hall, The Familiars

Historical Fiction

Strikingly evoking the heartland of seventeenth-century industrial Lancashire, Stacey Halls’ accomplished debut is a haunting novel of two women struggling to fight against the expectation and superstition of their age. Told with an infectious passion for the period, Halls’ blend of compelling plot and vividly drawn landscape crafts an unforgettable story of bewitching power.

Diane Setterfield, Once Upon a River

Historic Crime Fiction

Beguiling and multi-faceted, the latest novel from the author of The Thirteenth Tale brings together a winning cast of characters around the meandering Thames, each drawn into a mystery that reopens old wounds and lays to rest unburied ghosts. There’s much to enjoy in Setterfield’s ability to spin a deeply satisfying and richly told story and Once Upon a River contains just the right balance of the sweet and the bitter, along with a clever and satisfying playfulness with the traditions of storytelling itself. It’s a novel that reminds you why we all tell stories and why they continue to matter.

Kate Worsley, She Rises

Historical Fiction

Louise Fletcher, a young dairy maid on an eighteenth-century Essex farm, has long been warned of the lure of the sea - after all, it stole away her father and brother. But when she is offered work as a maid in the naval port of Harwich, she leaps at the chance to see more of the world. Fifteen-year-old Luke has been press ganged and sent to sea on board the warship Essex.


Andrew Taylor, The American Boy

Historical Fiction, Crime & Mystery

England 1819. Thomas Shield, a master at a school just outside London, is tutor to a young American boy and the child's sensitive best friend, Charles Frant. Helplessly drawn to Frant's beautiful, unhappy mother, Shield becomes entwined in their family's affairs.

JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit


Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey `there and back again'. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon...

Akala, The Dark Lady

Young Adult

Having found success and acclaim with searing adult non-fiction and children’s picture books, the multi-talented rapper, poet and author Akala turns his hand to YA with the first in a magical realist series set in Shakespearean London. Written with the kind of lyrical dexterity and power that one would expect from Akala, The Dark Lady references the Bard’s sonnets as well as crafting an uncompromising picture of street life in Renaissance England.

Catherine & Elizabeth Corr, The Throne of Swans

Fantasy, Young Adult

When her father dies just before her birthday, seventeen-year-old Aderyn inherits the role of Protector of Atratys, a dominion in a kingdom where nobles are able to transform at will into the bird that represents their family bloodline. Aderyn's ancestral bird is a swan. But she has not transformed for years, not since witnessing the death of her mother - ripped apart by hawks that have supposedly been extinct since the long-ago War of the Raptors.


Brigid Kemmerer, A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Fantasy, Young Adult

Fall in love, break the curse. Break the curse, save the kingdom. Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, is cursed. Forced to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he can only be freed by love. But at the end of each autumn he is transformed into a beast hell-bent on destruction, and after so many failed attempts, his kingdom and its people are barely holding on.

Stephanie Garber, Legendary


After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn't yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend's true name.


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