Top 6 lockdown reads by women

Over the never-ending and gruelling lockdown period, I set myself the task to read as many books by women as humanly possible. From vintage classics to total trash, I tried to stretch into as many genres as I could handle. Here are the books I found the most enjoyable, and least exhausting.

1. I See You by Claire Mackintosh

Genre: Detective Thriller Drama

I was recommended this novel because I was writing a piece of creative writing about stalking for my course. I usually find modern day detective novels a drag — give me Raymond Chandler over Peter James because the 30s detective stories win my literature love any day. But Claire Mackintosh completely changed my opinion with this intense story of stalking on the London underground. As a former detective, Mackintosh doesn’t miss a beat on tension and knows what she is talking about when it comes to portraying a police unit. This book left me reeling for weeks after reading it, constantly checking over my shoulder when walking through a busy street.

Read if: You want to have your mind boggled and be faced with twists you were never expecting.

2. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

Genre: Autobiographical romantic comedy with touches of devastating sadness

What with studying a module in Non-Fiction people, I decided to dive into autobiographical fiction writing. I was recommended Alderton by a friend who also recommended me Normal People, so I dived straight in. This is a book that teaches you a lot about yourself, about others and about how others see you. It is about love, but not purely in the romantic sense. There is love in friendship, love in family and, without sounding too much like Love Actually, love all around.

Read if: Are stuck in a slog and want to go on an emotional rollercoaster.

3. Normal People and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Genre: Romantic, slightly sombre coming of age story

Having already written a review for InQuire on the phenomenal writer Sally Rooney, I will save repeating myself and just say that these two books were my saviours

of lockdown. On days it felt like there wouldn’t be a light at the end of this lockdown tunnel, these books were a godsend of romantic beauty. I cannot recommend them enough and anyone who knows me will say I do already.

Read if: You want to cry happy and sad tears.

4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Genre: Empowering female Drama

What with everyone hyping over the success of the film, I have been keen to read the book and felt like this would be as good an opportunity as any. Having loved the 1995 film version of Little Women, the book did not leave me disappointed. It was bitterly sad in the right places but also completely comedic in others. It goes without saying that Alcott writes each of these not so little women amazingly; the novel has truly earned its place as a classic.

Read if: you want to feel great about yourself and great about womankind.

5. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

Genre: Short stories filled that are comedic and terrifying

If you’ve ever read any Lydia Davis, you’ll know she’s quite undefinable. I wanted a book that I could read before bed and would only take me ten minutes so I could still get a good night’s sleep. Davis did the opposite; although her stories were short, they kept me up all night pondering over their meanings. The author has the unique talent of being able to say so much in just a sentence, each story packed with intrigue and detail.

6. Flat Share by Beth O’Leary

Genre: A unique blend of weirdness and sweetness

A weird tale of two friends who share a flat but do not meet. I was sceptical when I first started reading, wondering how a story this fake could feel believable. But O’Leary’s quirky characterisation of the two lead characters make the reader believe that these two individuals are the types of people who would share a bed without ever sleeping together.

What I’m reading next…

- Feminists Don’t Wear Pink by Scarlett Curtis

- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

- Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

- The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

- Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

- The Likely Resolution of Oliver Cook by Jane Riley.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Libreshot.

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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