Lockdown Reading

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Read

The novel tells the story of a rock band falling apart just as they reach the peak of their career. The book is written from multiple perspectives in interview format, giving you multiple perspectives of what unfolded in the past. Taylor Jenkins Reid can write devastating, heartbreaking prose about relationships and opportunities missed, looking forward to reading more of her books.Available here 

The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes
I am a fan of Moyes’s novels especially when she is writing about women’s overlooked history. This one does not disappoint! The story is about friendship, the power of books and female spirit inspired by the real life WPA Horseback Librarians programme created in the 1930s Depression . Alice arrives in East Kentucky thinking her marriage has saved her from a life of boredom in England only to find herself in another prison until she meets Margery O’Hare.  They and a small group undertake the delivery of reading material across the area making friends and enemies as they go. Available here 

Gone by Michael Grant
First in an unforgettable series. The characters may be children and young people but this is a very dark and sometimes genuinely scary story of survival. Magic powers, intense relationships, no adults. Available here

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin 
Perfect – This is the third time I have read this book and is the only book I have ever read more than twice and will probably read it again at some point in the future. It is the ultimate feel good book, I needed lift during COVID 19 and this book gave me it. It is the first in the series and although all the books are brilliant, this to me is the best. Characters are introduced that will continue through all the books but it is during this book that first come alive. Available here 

The Way Of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry
Set in Edinburgh, in 1847, where a number of young women have been found dead in gruesome circumstances, medical student Will Raven, apprentice to the renowned obstetrician Dr Simpson, and housemaid Sarah Fisher team up to uncover the truth, risking their lives in the process.
It’s brilliantly atmospheric, the contrast between the poverty, squalor and desperation of the inhabitants of the Old Town and the genteel comfort of those in the New Town is stark. It’s pacy, witty, and keeps you guessing until the end. Borrow it. Available here 

Red Riding Nineteen Seventy Four by David Peace

The first part of David Peace’s incredible Red Riding Quartet, if your idea of fun is 70s noir set to the backdrop of the Yorkshire ripper murders, this is the one.  Everyone is corrupt and you know there isn’t a soul here that isn’t in some way or another doomed. Available here

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Beautifully written and atmospheric, the story drew me in and gripped me to the very finish. Set in Iceland in 1829 and based on true events, the reader follows Agnes as she awaits her death sentence. An absolute sucker punch of a novel. Available here 

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mantel

Set 19 years after a flu pandemic, the reader follows a band of musicians and actors who make up the Travelling Symphony. The author weaves undercurrents of past devastation and current threat with optimism and hope. A novel that is timely and unexpectedly comforting. Available here 

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Korede spends her life clearing up her younger sister Ayoola’s messes - even when the mess in question is the body of an unfortunately dispatched boyfriend. This is the third time it’s happened which technically makes Ayoola a serial killer, although she just can’t see what all the fuss is about.
I loved this book. It’s short, sharp and darkly witty, making observations on the role of social media in our lives and asking questions about guilt and responsibility versus familial obligations. Is blood thicker than water? What would you do for love? All these questions and more. Available here 

Axel Scheffler has illustrated a digital book for primary school age children, free for anyone to read on screen or print out, about the coronavirus and the measures taken to control it. Published by Nosy Crow, and written by staff within the company, the book has had expert input: Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine acted as a consultant, and the company also had advice from two head teachers and a child psychologist.

The book answers key questions in simple language appropriate for 5 to 9 year olds:

• What is the coronavirus?
• How do you catch the coronavirus?
• What happens if you catch the coronavirus?
• Why are people worried about catching the coronavirus?
• Is there a cure for the coronavirus?
• Why are some places we normally go to closed?
• What can I do to help?
• What’s going to happen next?

You can download a copy of the book here 

stay at home

Stay at Home! Poems and Prose for Children in Lockdown is a a free, illustrated anthology of poems and stories for children aged 8-12, comprising specially written lockdown-themed contributions by 40 writers based in Scotland. You can access a copy of the book here 

The Big Book Weekend was a three-day virtual book festival held on 8th-10th May that brought together the best of the cancelled British literary festivals, with a range of events 'presented' by the relevant festival, featuring the authors and other artists that would have appeared.

Bernadine Evaristo in discussion with Mairi Kidd 

The Aye Write event was winner of the 2019 Booker Prize, Bernardine Evaristo, discussing Girl, Woman,Other with Creative Scotland's Mairi Kidd. From Newcastle to Cornwall, from the birth of the twentieth century to the teens of the twenty-first, her extraordinary novel follows a cast of twelve characters as they each search for what they're missing - a shared past, an unexpected future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, an absent mother, a lost father... even just a touch of hope



You can borrow Girl, Woman, Other here and we have also gathered together a selection of the titles that would have featured at this year's Aye Write Festival programme - you can borrow them here