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5 inspirational books to read during lockdown

High Life North’s top recommendations of inspirational reads for women, by women.

By Delilah Kealy-Roberts

A bit of escapism has always been important, but right now, while we’re confined to our houses, escaping into a good book spells pure relief.

During lockdown there are a million and one things we could be doing. Whether you’ve pledged to learn Spanish or try out a new focaccia recipe per day, we’ve all become slightly obsessed with setting ourselves (often unattainable) goals.

Why not go back to basics instead? Grab a book and enjoy the sun in your garden or the cosy folds of your duvet. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are High Life North’s top recommendations of inspirational reads for women, by women.

The myth-busting miracle

If you’ve ever felt like you’re existing in a world that wasn’t quite designed for you, Caroline Criado Perez is on hand to explain why. Invisible Women is a non-fiction book which aims to “expose data bias in a world made for men”, and it certainly offers a read full of revelations. From the gender pay gap to serious missing segments in medical development, women have time and time again been forgotten by the world of data. Naturally, this has led to a serious gender bias in pretty much every walk of life.

Caroline Criado Perez’s book works to unhinge the narrative that we’re far too used to, making us question our ‘normal’ and face inequality within society, armed with some killer facts and figures.

New northern poetry

Listed within New Writing North’s Regional Reading 2020 campaign, this poetry collection focusses on diverse subjects and tackles issues that are both local and global. While discussing her collection with New Writing North, Hafsah Aneela Bashir explained: “Much of my collection is obsessed with naming people who have been reduced to statistics and soundbites in the media. It’s a way for me to challenge complacency in our lived experience, to call out fear and hatred whether that is global or local.”

For a collection you can jump in and out of, which is sure to ignite or reignite your love of poetry, The Celox and the Clot is perfect. To support Hafsah Aneela Bashir and other new northern talent, visit New Writing North to explore the full 2020 line-up.

The quarantine companion

Recently listed as one of The Independent’s “Best Inspiring and Self-Help Books to Ease Your Mind During Coronavirus Lockdown, this book by Lucy Sheridan, brought to us by Gleam Titles, tackles the social media-related anxiety head-on. We’ve all fallen prone to it, even before the lockdown; scrolling aimlessly through Facebook or Instagram, wondering why they’re doing so well, why she’s achieving so much, or why he always seems to be having the time of his life. It’s all smoke and mirrors, but during lockdown, it feels harder than ever to avoid drawing comparisons or beating yourself up for not ‘thriving’ during this difficult time.  

The Comparison Cure focusses on challenging social media’s influence while offering practical advice about how to engage with your feed in a positive and healthy way. As social media is one of the few ways in which we can communicate at the minute, this read is more vital than ever and is sure to help you challenge your unhealthy habits.

The classic novel you finally have time to read

There’s no time like the present to pick up a classic novel, perhaps one that you’ve been meaning to dive into for years. After the National Theatre Live stream of Jane Eyre on 9 April, many of us have felt inspired to dust off our old copy and take it out for a spin.

Over the years, Jane has become one of literature’s most loved female protagonists, and we could all do with channelling a bit of her strength of character and fierce self-worth during these times of adversity.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – £2.25

The rising star

Brit Bennet first came to fame through her debut novel, The Mothers, which was published in 2016 and met by critical acclaim. Her second novel, The Vanishing Half, will be published in June and promises to cause just as much of a stir.

Following the story of twin sisters, Stella and Desiree, who run away from their southern American home in the 1960s, this story takes on themes of identity, race, and history. This novel is perfect if you want to become acquainted with some characters that you’re sure to feel a bond with and escape into a different time and place.  

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