It’s been a hot minute since I have posted anything here. I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired recently but lockdown certainly didn’t help. But, nothing like a little break from blogging to get me itching to write again.
I know a lot of people feel the need to tap into the news, reading it at every hour and keeping up with every new update but that does not do for my mental health. I’m also in a privileged enough position to not have to think about the pandemic all of the time. Regardless, my preferred fiction has always been a form of escapism from the real world. So here are some of my favourite worlds to escape to – tailored to be on the fun rather than dark, heavy world-ending drama side of things.
The Princess Bride – William Goldman
‘This is my favourite book in the world, though I have never read it’
You know when you are after a fun adventurous romp? This is the book. If you’ve read it, you already know how brilliant it is, if you haven’t then you are in for a treat. It has everything you want from a book – fencing. Fighting. True Love. Revenge. A few giants. And it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Nevermoor – Jessica Townsend
‘Fasten your seat belt, Morrigan Crow. And whatever you do, don’t close your eyes.’
‘What happens if I close my eyes?’
‘You miss the fun.’
Now, I haven’t quite made it past the first book in this series, but I would still recommend this one (and given that this is a middle grade series, I can’t imagine it getting too heavy for the current climate). Lots of people have compared it to Harry Potter and it definitely has the same spirit and magical wonder. I wouldn’t compare it to strictly as it stands up in its own right as a quirky, fun book with fantastic world-building.
You can read my full review for it here.
The Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling
But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
Well, I had to mention it, didn’t I? Having recently(ish) reread it (and yes, still planning to write about it…eventually) there was definitely a certain sense of comfort returning to Hogwarts and my childhood. It gets dark from about book 4 onwards so you could definitely read the first 3.
The Sisters Grimm series – Michael Buckley
“That woman is hiding something!” she said.
“You think everyone’s hiding something.”
“And you would hug the devil if he gave you cookies.”
One of my favourite middle-grade series, this is set in a town where fairytale characters are real and our protagonists, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are fairytale detectives solving mysteries related to the characters. It’s a nine-book series and it does have some darker elements to it but there is plenty of humour in it too. From Snow White teaching martial arts to the Shakesperean Puck’s constant pranks.
Here’s my full review of the series.
A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemoney Snicket
“At times the world may seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may in fact be the first steps of a journey.”
Yes, the title contradicts the whole ‘escapism into light-heartedness and joy’ theme of this post but this series plays with its darker elements. The writing is wonderful, the characters range from quirky to absolutely bonkers. Yes, bad thing after bad thing happens in this series but you never feel bogged down by it and there are plenty of moments of hope and wonder throughout.
Cat Royal Series – Julia Golding
“Reader, you are set to embark on an adventure about one hidden treasure, two bare-knuckle boxers, three enemies and four hundred and eighty-three rioters. It is told by an ignorant and prejudiced author – me.”
Finally, another younger series and not quite a fantasy – but set in 18th Century London, it might as well be another world. The Cat Royal books follow the adventures of one orphan, Cat Royal, who lives in the Royal Theatre, Drury Lane and gets up to all sorts of adventures – including experiencing the French Revolution. The tales are twisty and mysterious and don’t shy away from addressing issues such as slavery (one of Cat’s friends at the theatre is a freed slave) but work in a world
And before I sign off I just wanted to note that I’ve been reading stuff I already have at home. Because we are all staying indoors, I would recommend two ways of getting any new books. The first is the Libby app – this lets you borrow ebooks as long as you have a valid library card which is a good alternative to not being able to go to the library.
Also in this time, it is more important than ever to support indie bookshops! I recently ordered a book from Hive and have to give a shout out to them for dispatching and delivering my book within 3 days of ordering (despite warning that it could take 5+ working days!). They’re limiting orders to one book at the moment but offer free delivery and a percentage of your money goes to supporting local high street bookshops.
What are you reading right now? What are your comfort reads?