We love a spring reading list. It’s a time of hope, new beginnings and it’s a time for making plans. These things will resonate with most of us more than ever this year.
With the roadmap out of lockdown firmly in mind, we need an eclectic reading list that caters for our biggest emotions. A bundle of books that are reflective, immersive and compelling are in order.
What should I read in 2021?
There are plenty of lockdown reading lists out there, and with good reason. Finding ways to spend our time and distract ourselves from the confusing world outside was top of the list in recent months.
So, a note on this reading list before we dig in. Now change is in the air, it's more important than ever to spend some time each day in grounding activities. We might be prone to racing ahead with plans, and let's face it; we deserve to get excited about that! That means that we need a killer reading list. Books that we are compelled to read because we still need that centring and that me-time that only a book can deliver. So, get ready to be inspired!
1. Summerwater by Sarah Moss
Moody and compelling, there’s nothing about Summerwater that will settle the soul, but it will make you feel extremely thankful for your cosy spot at home.
Set in the Scottish Highlands, the book takes us through a rain-drenched window in an isolated backwater. With no mobile reception, the makeshift band of cabin dwellers watch each other through the curtains.
Unsettling in the extreme, this isn’t a book full of fast action and jump scares, but it gives you one mighty payoff, and it’s so immersive, we guarantee you’ll be hooked from the start.
2. The Push by Ashley Audrain
With an unreliable narrator and a deeply emotive subject, The Push explores the dark side of motherhood, postnatal mental health and the bond between mother and child.
Perhaps most disturbing are the themes around being believed as a mother. We walk a mile in Blythe Connor’s shoes in this novel. She believes there is something wrong with her firstborn, Violet, yet no one, including her husband, listens.
Spiralling through the layers of complexity, we as readers find ourselves in a disorientating tale and a quest to find out what is happening to Blythe and her baby.
3. Happy Planning by Charlotte Plain
First step, follow Charlotte Plain’s Instagram account @princess.planning. Second step, get a copy of this book and start looking forward to a brighter, and well-planned 2021.
I know, sometimes you need to stop all the planning and thinking and get lost in a good book. Other times, you need a good book about planning to get your thoughts in order. Charlotte Plain helps you do just that, with her practical tips to help you get organised and stay positive.
4. Soulbbatical By Shelley Paxton
Does anyone feel like being liberated from the confines of their lives and modes of thinking? I know I could do with some pointers right now. Soulbbatical by Shelley Paxton was top of my reading list for that reason.
Throughout the book, Paxton reveals why she stepped away from her 26-year long career to reframe her life. Less about “finding herself” in the wildly vague sense, and much more about getting to grips with the realities thrown at us, this is a read that will change your perspective for the better.
It’s about being imperfect, making mistakes, and accepting them. It’s funny, tragic, and real. And it’s worth a read for all those things and more.
5. The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary
If you’re wondering where the laughs are in this selection, look no further than Beth O’Leary’s latest novel, The Road Trip .
Imagine this, breaking up with your partner, then both travelling to a wedding at the other end of the country in the same car. And all because you crashed into his in the first step of the journey.
This imagined scenario is played out by characters Addie and her ex, Dylan. As a result, they have to share a car for what may be the longest, and funniest journey to a wedding imaginable. Joined with Addie’s sister and Dylan’s friend, this is a car crash of a situation, but it’s a masterpiece of a light read.
6. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
This is a cheeky one because this novel was published in 2017. So, why is it on the spring 2021 reading list? Well, if any Netflix viewers are here, you may have noticed the TV series based on the novel on there, by the same name. Acclaimed by geniuses like Stephen King, this is a modern classic that should be on the reading list of any lover of psychological fiction.
Packed with twists and turns, this story takes you to the most unexpected places. Be prepared to spend the entire read scrambling to work out what’s happening as you dip into Louise, David and Adele’s lives.
Louise is a single mother, and David and Adele are a married couple. But as their lives intertwine, we discover that not all is as it seems. Read it, watch the show on Netflix, and get ready for shocks and thrills galore.
7. Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo
A companion piece to Ijeoma Oluo’s first book We Need To Talk About Race, Mediocre is a fascinating deep dive into American culture and racism. These discussions couldn’t be more timely, and they are not reserved to American culture alone wither.
Read it to understand how the white male has dominated societies like ours for so many decades, and what the experience is like for anyone who doesn’t fit that mould. Where her first novel explores the hidden histories, gender and race, this book goes one step further.
Provocative and exceptionally researched and written, this is an eye-opener and an important conversation for anyone interested in modern society and the backlash against white imperialism.