The five good (and five bad) lock down novels

So, we’ve had a year, on and off, of lock down and it’s mostly been bloody awful (except the lack of traffic driving to and from work which has been amazing). Working where I do, the whole Covid thing has proved very, very upsetting at times. The changes that staff have had to make in order to keep up with these guidelines, and those guidelines, and more bloody guidelines, have often impacted on our day-to-day tasks and routines in a highly negative way. It’s all been a bit shit.

Happily, I’ve spent a lot of time on days off, reading. Just, reading. If I’m not reading, I’m listening to a book being read while I’m ironing/doing housework/sewing etc. Reading is life! With that in mind, I’ve compiled a short list of my favourite and least favourite reads of the past year (in no particular order).

Books I enjoyed

  1. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – Lots of hype with this one. Not something I’d ordinarily read but it was a book group choice and I didn’t want to miss out. Thought-provoking and, in the main, very nicely written. At one point, it felt a bit ‘preachy’ but that was probably at least part of the original concept (in a nice way). A positive sentiment and one that I may read again in the future.
  2. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – I’d heard how ‘uncomfortable’ this book made a lot of people feel and I was convinced I wouldn’t feel like that (I don’t know why). Needless to say, it DID make me feel uncomfortable. How could a book about the affair between a 40-something teacher and his underage student, not? That aside, and it was the main focus of the book so one either gets over the concept or gives up, it was written ‘interestingly.’
  3. Platform Seven by Louise Doughty – My favourite book of the year! Loved the story, loved the writing. Found the first few pages slightly difficult to get into but then it became a breeze and hooked me. At one point, I found it incredibly upsetting but it was written so well that I forgave the author for being so mean and making me think about my own mortality. A real page turner and one that I will read again some time.
  4. The Breakdown by B.A Paris – This is probably only just in my top 5. There were some good suspense-filled moments and I liked the story. I wasn’t that keen on Cass, or, maybe I liked her but some of her foibles were a little close to my own? A bit too anxious, a bit too worried. But over all, even though I guessed the direction of this one, a nice read.
  5. Behind closed Doors by B.A Paris – Really liked this. Creepy and unpleasant but in a good way. Again, quite guessable but really enjoyable to listen to and it was definitely more about the journey than the destination. I was gripped by this and will probably read again in the future.

Books I did not enjoy

  1. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – Really didn’t get on with this crazy episode of bonkersness. I didn’t mind the first third but after that it descended into something it shouldn’t have done: odd ‘twists’ that didn’t make sense, unpleasant characters and it really was quite boring. Probably the second worst book of my lock down!
  2. The Sister-in-Law by Sue Watson – I really wanted to like this. I loved the description and settled down to start it when I knew I had time to be engrossed. So disappointing! I didn’t like any of the characters, even though I REALLY wanted to like Clare. I’m still puzzled by the old woman at the side of the road. I would read another Sue Watson, though.
  3. Verity by Colleen Hoover – I still have no idea what this was all about. An unbelievable mish-mash of relationships and weirdness. To its credit, I may re-read it at some point.
  4. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – I read all the hype and felt bought into this before I started it. What a let down! I didn’t like the way it was written (highly subjective, I know) as I felt it was boring when it shouldn’t have been. Very little of it rang true and I was happy to get to the end and start something else!
  5. Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk – Hated this. I actually gave up on it after starting it several times. Mr Robinson read it on holiday to the Caribbean one year and he was gripped. He doesn’t read many novels so I was impressed that it kept him engaged. I had high hopes for it but it had no redeeming features: long, boring descriptions, repulsive moments that didn’t seem necessary and I didn’t like the cover, either!

Does anyone have any particular favourites of their own?


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