Love Reading? You Can Literally Finish These 17 Page-Turners In a Day

Given the unprecedented global pandemic we currently find ourselves in, it’s little wonder that people are choosing to seek solace in the pages of a book. Having been cited as a great source of comfort, and a remedy to feelings of loneliness and isolation, while reading may be a solitary activity, it’s one in which we rarely feel alone. 

And with the extra hours we have on our hands thanks to the current mandatory social distancing, there’s never been a better time to indulge in some alone time with a book; whatever your literary taste. Whether you’re into much-loved classics or contemporary non-fiction or are looking for the latest captivating debut, here are the seventeen books everyone’s talking about right now.

1. Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Beloved by the likes of both Oprah Winfrey and Elizabeth Gilbert, Glennon Doyle is a writer, speaker and activist whose debut memoir. Love Warrior, was a New York Times bestseller. Her eagerly awaited follow-on, Untamed, is part-memoir, part manifesto, and a sunning exploration of joy, peace, compassion and vulnerability. Essentially reading for anyone looking for an empowering and uplifting book.

2. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

If you’re looking for an unputdownable, gut-wrenching read, American Dirt is for you. A book that has been shrouded by controversy since its January publication, its plot is pacy, its prose rich, and its cast of characters utterly unforgettable.

3. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Dark, captivating and atmospheric, My Dark Vanessa has been hailed by critics as a modern-day Lolita for the #metoo era. The debut novel from American writer Kate Elizabeth Russel, My Dark Vanessa is a controversial read about a student-teacher relationship, and the subsequent repercussions for both parties. Hailed by Stephen King as ‘A package of dynamite’ this captivating debut is designed to be read in a single sitting.

4. Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

A debut that has captured the hearts of Australians since its 2018 release, Boy Swallows Universe has not only broken the record for the fastest-selling Australian debut, it too has won a wealth of literary awards – and then some. A heart-felt story about Brisbane-born brothers Eli and August, Australian author Trent Dalton takes his readers on a journey of adventure, despair, and, ultimately, hope.

5. First We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson

Hailed as a new story about anxiety, it’s no wonder that many are turning to Sarah Wilson’s First We Make the Beast Beautiful in these newly uncertain times. A beautiful, hopeful, heartbreaking memoir about mental health, its triggers and its treatments, First We Make the Beast Beautiful is a reassuring and revolutionary read perfect for anyone who’s feeling alone.

6. Work from Wherever by Lisa Messenger

Whether an aspiring digital nomad, a budding businessperson or someone who has only recently found themselves working from home for the first time, Lisa Messenger’s Work from Wherever is a must-read. Filled with tips, tricks and anecdotes from both her own experience and remote workplaces from around the world, Work from Wherever is a comprehensive guide that will inspire you to think beyond the boundaries of the traditional office confinements.

7. The Plague by Albert Camus

One of literature’s most controversial classic, it’s no surprise that many are re-reading French author Albert Camus’s aptly titled The Plague. The story of a virus that spreads uncontrollably from animals to humans in French Algeria, this novel is an uncomfortable read about fear, and courage.

8. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A long, complex, and epic work of literature; now is as good a time as any to read Columbian writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s finest work of fiction. A compelling tale about the Buendia family, that explores the conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love, 100 Years of Solitude is the ultimate magical realism read.

9. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Inspired by the son of literature’s most famous playwright, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell is the untold story of Shakespeare’s twins, that is a beautiful account of grief, loss and longing. A devastating tale that has remained in the shadows for half a millennium, Hamnet is the unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten.

10. Jacinda Arden: A New Kind of Leader by Madeleine Chapman

A look at the leader we all want for ourselves, Jacinda Arden: A New Kind of Leader is an inspirational book about the world's youngest female head of government, and only the second elected world leader to give birth while in office. A millennial woman in leadership who has inspired and generated a legion of loyal followers, this book will teach its readers about compassion, courage, and—ultimately—hope.

11. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Longlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction, Queenie is the debut novel by Candice Carty-Williams and is a must-read for fans of Sally Rooney and Dolly Alderton. Comic, candid, funny and wise, Queenie is an enthralling read that looks at what it means to be a woman in the twenty-first century.

12. The Sunday Girl by Pip Drysdale

Australian author Pip Drysdale’s debut book, The Sunday Girl, is a chilling book perfect for readers who loved the thrilling nature of Girl on a Train and Before I Go to Sleep. With a cast of flawed characters and a gripping plot to boot, The Sunday Girl is a new tale of domestic suspense for the Netflix generation.

13. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love by Cheryl Strayed

A collection of Cheryl Strayed’s Dear Sugar agony aunt columns, Tiny Beautiful Things is a beautiful book that will offer readers a much-needed sliver of solace amid the current global pandemic. Offering advice on everything from love to loss to heartbreak and trauma, Tiny Beautiful Things is rich with hope, compassion and kindness.

14. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

An original and brilliantly imaginative book on living life beyond the bounds of fear, Big Magic is the perfect read for anyone who has lost their creative mojo. Witty and wise, Big Magic is written in Gilbert’s signature straight-talking and honest approach, and offers readers life lessons in how to unleash their own creativity.

15. A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson

If you’re looking to transport yourself to the shores of Greece, A Theatre for Dreamers is for you. Heady, evocative, and armchair escapism at its finest, this spellbinding tale brilliantly captures the halcyon days of an artistic community on a Greek island in the 1960s.

16. You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr

The debut novel from host of the UK’s Shoreditch Literary Salon, You Will Be Safe Here is a poignant tale set in South Africa that is inspired by real events. Rich with poetic prose, while it’s undoubtedly a haunting and heartbreaking tome, it too is beautiful and ultimately redemptive.

17. Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday

An appropriate book to read during self-isolation, Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key draws on Stoic wisdom to explore the benefits of silence, solitude and stillness. Powerful and poignant, Silence is the Key will teach readers to savour their newfound alone time.

Lucy Pearson is a Bondi-based freelance writer, book blogger at The Literary Edit and host of The Bondi Literary Salon.

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