We are all going to be seeing a lot more of the insides of our own homes over the coming weeks. Whether you are in total self-isolation or just social distancing, we will all have more time to kill. While killing time, most of us will spend too long thinking and worrying about coronavirus – whether it’s concern for a relative, fears over your job or worries about the impact on the NHS. I think we can all agree that it’s going to be a tough time.
So how are we going to get through self-isolation, with all that extra time and all those extra worries? Personally, I would recommend reading! Whether you are an avid reader or you haven’t read a book in years, it is a great way to take your mind off things.
There are of course lots of different genres out there and everyone has their favourites. But I’ve assembled a list of 10 feelgood books to help you through self-isolation. These novels should appeal to nearly everyone, including teenagers from the age of about 13. They are all relatively easy reads and have a leading character we can love and root for – whether a teenage boy or an elderly lady.
A word of warning – good fiction has to have light and shade, so these books do have their dark moments. But ultimately they are feelgood reads which should put a smile on your face.
(With each of the suggestions I’ve included links to my longer reviews of the books.)
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine has to top any list of feelgood reads. Eleanor is an incredible character – both highly intelligent and incredibly naive. She lives a very controlled life, but gradually finds out what it means to have friends who care.
The Lido is another fabulous book about friendship – this time it’s the friendship between an 86-year-old woman and a very lonely woman 60 years her junior. Together, they fight to save the swimming pool which is at the heart of their community.
The Flat Share is a sweet story of two people who live together, but don’t meet. As neither of them can afford the full rent, one of them is in the flat while the other is at work.
Something to Live For is the story of lonely 40-something council employee, Andrew. Andrew has a lot in common with Eleanor Oliphant, as he is a bit of an outsider in the workplace. He has been living a lie to help him fit in with society, but his lie is about to be revealed.
Three Things About Elsie is the story of Florence and her best friend, Elsie. The two old ladies set out to investigate a mystery from the past. There are three things about Elsie, but Florence can never remember the third…
The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder is narrated by 13 year old Jasper. Jasper doesn’t see the world like we do – he can’t recognise faces, even his own, and experiences sounds as colour. Bee Larkham brings new colour into Jasper’s world, but then she is murdered and Jasper sets out to solve the case.
A Man Called Ove is the story of a very grumpy man in his 50s who is constantly wound up by other people’s uselessness. Then he meets his new neighbour and an unlikely friendship is born. A moving and funny read about a very likeable character.
The Trouble With Goats and Sheep is set in the 1970s and is the story of two 10 year old girls who set out to track down a missing neighbour. A humorous and atmospheric book set in simpler times.
Me Before You of all the books on this list, Me Before You is the most likely to make you cry. But it is well worth a read. It is the story of 27-year-old Lou, who gets a job caring for Will, a profoundly disabled man. I would also highly recommend the sequels – After You and Still Me.
The Rosie Project is the story of Don, a socially awkward man who lives a very controlled life and decides to find himself a wife using science. But Rosie walks into his life, ticking none of the boxes, and turns Don’s carefully ordered world upside down. Personally, I wasn’t keen on the sequel The Rosie Effect, so didn’t bother reading the third book in the series, The Rosie Result.
So that’s my recommendations of feelgood books to get us through self-isolation. Do you agree with my choices? Are there any others you would recommend?