These days – when it comes to planning out my day, there’s not much commute time integrated at all. I’m spending extra time in my comfiest clothes, and I think my longest commute is from my bed to my nespresso machine. My point is – with the extra time that I now have in my day, I wanted to fill it with a hobby that I enjoy; as of late, that hobby has been either checking books off of my reading list or taking on 1000+ piece puzzles. My quarantine reading list is a long one – and so far, there have been six books that I’ve really enjoyed. They range from sensual and scandalous to a bit of edge that could keep anyone on their toes.
One thing I’m looking forward to is updating this post as I get through my quarantine reading list, god knows it’s going to take awhile.
The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier
It’s interesting, don’t you think, that we often think about what our lives may be like if we were to be someone else? Well, for John, a well-respected Englishman, this is actually the case. One night he meets someone that could only be described as his Doppelgänger – waking the next morning to literally find himself in the other man’s shoes, as the other man has assumed John’s identity.
A story of escapism, self-discovery and understanding what your identity really means to you, Daphne Du Maurier brings to life a set of two characters quite different from the typical that you may find in her other works. Nonetheless, she is able to captivate you from page one to the very end.
By chance, John and Jean — one English, the other French — meet in a provincial railway station. Their resemblance to each other is uncanny, and they spend the next few hours talking and drinking – until at last John falls into a drunken stupor. It’s to be his last carefree moment, for when he wakes, Jean has stolen his identity and disappeared. So the Englishman steps into the Frenchman’s shoes, and faces a variety of perplexing roles – as owner of a chateau, director of a failing business, head of a fractious family, and master of nothing.
Gripping and complex, The Scapegoat is a masterful exploration of doubling and identity, and of the dark side of the self.
InstaStyle by Tessa Barton
These days, I think that self-improvement is more than ever, something great to strive for – especially when it comes to bettering your skills that are relevant to your career. Personally, my career thus far has been more on the unconventional side. However, it has been quite wrapped up in the social media sphere. With a large part of what I do revolving around being online and managing online content, I thought that InstaStyle would be an incredibly interesting (and quite relevant) read. Tessa Barton, also known as @Tezza on Instagram, does a phenomenal job of breaking down the basics as well as touching on her inspiration and how you can find your own. If you’re interested in social media, particularly Instagram, this is a book to add to your list immediately.
“InstaStyle is your visual guide for transforming your feed and showcasing your life, while remaining true to your brand. From the moment you create your handle to get started, this book provides content inspiration, advice on curating shots, and editing instructions to keep your grid captivating and professional.
Whether you prefer vintage and moody, or soft and blush pink, specific guidelines explain how to create an immediately recognizable photo aesthetic with presets and editing. You’ll learn precisely how to drive people to your feed and win a follow so that you ultimately grow your business, and earn money by becoming #sponsored.”
Classic Tales of Detection and Adventure by Edgar Allen Poe
Edgar Allen Poe is a writer that ‘discovered’, well created, one of my favourite genres of literature – true crime, detective stories and mystery. Granted, some of his stories get a bit of a bad rep, because Poe is a very graphic and detailed writer. Something I can liken to Stephen King in terms of books or short stories that may raise the hairs on the back of your neck, give you goosebumps and trigger the instinct to look over your shoulder whenever you leave a dark room. However, the culprits give his writing a lighter note that give his writing an unexpected twist, something that still intrigues readers to this day.
“Containing one of the best known and best loved detective novels of all time – The Murders in the Rue Morgue – this entertaining collection of Poe’s work shows why he was considered a master of mystery. Also included in the book is The Mystery of Marie Roget, which was a sequel to the thrilling Murders in the Rue Morgue, as well as three other tales of detection and adventure, including “Thou Art the Man!”, “The Purloined Letter” and “The Unparelleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall”. Such was the influence of these works that the Mystery Writers of America named their awards after Poe and called them the Edgars.”
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
There aren’t many novels that have me in tears multiple times throughout. The Tattooist of Auschwitz was one that was not only able to do this, but remain completely entrancing and gripping throughout it’s narrative. Based on a true story, it explores the meaning of love and perseverance during one of the most cruel and inhumane experiences that is part of history. Well worth an addition to any quarantine reading list.
“This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.”
Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier
If you hadn’t already noticed – I’m a Daphne Du Maurier fan. Her style of writing is one that is thrilling, compelling and somehow manages to hook you in to become emotionally invested in each of her characters. Frenchman’s Creek is no different. I see a little bit of myself in the main character, Donna, a woman that aches for freedom and a life that impassions her – a life that she loves. She finds this in a pirate, a former member of the French noble court, and becomes tasked with saving the love of her life whilst risking the very thing she treasures most. Her life itself. If you’re one that loves reading intense stories that have many facets and turns that you wouldn’t expect, you’d like this one.
“Bored and restless in London’s Restoration Court, Lady Dona escapes into the British countryside with her restlessness and thirst for adventure as her only guides. Eventually Dona lands in remote Navron, looking for peace of mind in its solitary woods and hidden creeks. She finds the passion her spirit craves in the love of a daring French pirate who is being hunted by all of Cornwall. Together, they embark upon a quest rife with danger and glory, one which bestows upon Dona the ultimate choice: sacrifice her lover to certain death or risk her own life to save him.”
Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier
There aren’t many books that I’ve felt I couldn’t put down. I’m more of the person that gets hooked into TV series (or let’s be honest, it’s Netflix now), or a really good movie. Jamaica Inn, however, is one of those books that sets its hooks in so quickly, it’ll have you turning the page with impassioned speed. Daphne Du Maurier mixes mystery, intrigue and unconventional romance in an exciting way. It’s different from any Du Maurier book I’ve read yet – and whilst each are captivating, I think this one is certainly in the running to be my favourite. Quarantine reading list or not, it’s one I’ll certainly be reading again.
“The coachman tried to warn young Mary Yellan away from the ruined, forbidding place on the rainswept Cornish coast. But Mary chose instead to honor her mother’s dying request that she join her frightened Aunt Patience and foreboding Uncle Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn. From her first glimpse on that raw November eve, she could sense the inn’s dark power.
Mary never imagined that she would become hopelessly ensnared in the vile, villainous schemes being hatched within its crumbling walls—or that she would fall in love with a handsome, enigmatic stranger. But what secrets is he hiding from her—and can she really trust him?”
I want to know – are you becoming a bookworm now that we’re all pretty much indoors for the foreseeable future? I certainly am, and I am definitely looking forward to making an even further dent in my quarantine reading list until we’re able to have a sense of normalcy again. If you’ve got any good reads or favourite books that you’ve read lately, I’d love to hear about them! Leave me a comment below for what you think I should add to my reading list!
Until next, xoxo.