Uplifting reads

Student Communications Ambassador Georgia Stride shares her top four uplifting books to read during lockdown.

It's official! The nation has rediscovered its love of books. In fact, 31% of the UK population are reading more than they were before lockdown, and as a self-confessed bookworm, this is poetry to my ears.

As an English student, a lengthy reading list excites me greatly, but even word nerds (a term I use with pride) appreciate being able to read a book without annotating and close-reading it. Even more important in these unprecedented times (is a lockdown blog post even a lockdown blog post without these two words?) is reading something uplifting, something that will bring you joy.

Whether you're taking a break from studying or switching off before bed, I've got a few recommendations from my lockdown bookshelf to help you out – bookworm or not!

Jog On by Bella Mackie

Book jacket for Jog On by Bella Mackie

This was the first book I picked up that wasn't on my reading list during lockdown, and don't worry, it's not all about jogging! The novel starts with a woman in her twenties (Bella), lying on the floor, wondering about how her life managed to take such a downward spiral after her recent divorce (yes it gets cheerier, bear with me) and then for some bizarre reason that she can't fathom, she goes for a run. When I say run, she jogs up and down an alleyway near her house in old plimsolls and baggy jogging bottoms where no-one can see her.

What follows is an inspiring and sometimes heartbreaking journey to rebuild her life. Mackie offers a few running tips along the way but the main message here is if you're at your lowest, give something a go that you've never considered – it may just be your thing and it could make your lockdown less rubbish.

It's All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

Book jacket for It's absolutely fine by Ruby Elliot

This is a book that's been with me for a few years now, and one that I keep returning to. My Dad bought it for me when I was struggling through my A-levels, and it's one of the best presents I've ever received. This might be one for you if you're not that into reading or only have a little spare time (third years, I'm thinking of you) as Elliot's book is made up of amusing line drawings complemented by captions instead of teeny tiny text.

Elliot isn't afraid to talk about how down we can feel sometimes and I think we can all relate to at least one of these drawings, particularly now that we're in lockdown. Now, there's more time for us to dwell on what's not going well and to beat ourselves up, when really, just getting by day to day at the moment is something to be celebrated. The reason I return to this gem is that Elliot reminds me that we all feel a little bit 'meh' sometimes, and that's alright.

Period by Emma Barnett

Book jacket for Period by Emma Barnett

Men and women need to read this book. Despite the pink cover and despite all the different words for a period on the front, Barnett destigmatises the discussion of 'that time of the month' in an empowering and informative manner. Barnett uses personal experiences coupled with research to provide her readers with the knowledge that everyone should have around that mystical monthly process.

Neither preachy nor graphic, Barnett simply tells periods like they are. This is a book for everyone, not just women (I promise! Even Richard Madeley read it). I've enjoyed re-educating and educating myself on this seldom-discussed topic.

That Glimpse Of Truth edited by David Miller

Book jacket for That Glimpse of Truth, edited by David Miller

This anthology was gifted to me by a good friend of mine (friends always know what books you'll enjoy, don't they?) and I have by no means finished it yet! This thousand-page collection is not only good for swatting flies but is comprised of what Miller believes to be some of the best short stories around – and I'm inclined to agree.

From Aesop's fable about the hare and the tortoise to a tale by Roald Dahl, there's a story for everyone. As they're short stories, you can dip in and out as you please. One for snuggling down in bed with a herbal tea!

And finally... 

Pebbles the cat holding a ball of yarn

Once the University becomes physical again, be sure to make use of The Quiet Space located in Main House. It was one of my favourite places to curl up with a good book before we became virtual and there's also a new Wellbeing Collection available for all students and staff to use.

Right, I'm off to find my reading companion...

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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