Books to read through Lockdown

I turned off the news yesterday, forced my fingers (and my brain) to stop scrolling through my twitter feed, and picked up my book. It’s amazing how the gentle act of reading can feel so revolutionary. Because this is happiness in this unquiet real world…

That’s when I decided to positively read through this Lockdown period. I think a lot about the act of ‘positively reading’. To read with an aim in mind – such as reading books from as many different countries as possible or working through all the unread books on your shelves, non-fiction or through prize lists – is different from just picking up a book. I think it’s because it forces you (me) to try new books I might not have chosen before, to find new writers, to take a gamble in the short time I can allow myself to read. If I’m honest, I also like a challenge – and a reading one will always be the best one for me! Remember those library reading challenges they give children during holidays? Those were always my idea of pure pleasure.

So I won’t be going as far as giving myself a star chart (although although…) but I will be recording the books I read this month on social media, and maybe here. First up is the one above, Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi. Do feel free to read along with me, sharing your book choices in the comments or via the #lockdownreading hashtag. You’ll find other recommendations there, but also don’t forget to look up the project Viccy Adams and I collaborated on several years ago, #100women100books, when we asked 100 women, from toddlers to 90 year olds for their favourite book and why.

It was part of an Arts Council England project, with Compton Verney’s women’s library, and you can still download those 100 book choices from the website, and we’re working at looking at how we can rewild and extend the project so watch this space!

In the meantime, here are some other recommendations of what other friends on social media are reading right now… because who doesn’t love a good book recommendation. The notes are cut and pasted straight as they came from the comments, and there are some excellent choices here. My list of things to read is getting longer and longer. If you are tempted, I’ve added links to each book through the wonderful new initiative for independent booksellers,

Published by

Sarah Salway

Author of three novels, a collection of short stories and two poetry collections. Find out more at

One thought on “Books to read through Lockdown”

  1. Dear Sarah,

    Thank you so much for posting a list of books you’ve enjoyed – or are enjoying, especially now as we enter another period of lock down.

    You probably don’t remember me, Vicky Price. You came to the Birkbeck Garden History course many years ago in London and I was a fellow student, then living in Twickenham. Now mainly in North Yorkshire, near Richmond where I do lots of gardening and help organise events for the Yorkshire Gardens Trust. Lovely to find your name on Linkedin, and your blog.


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