Books to curl up with at home

Whether you want to wrap yourself up in a fluffy love story or challenge yourself with a classic novel you’ve always meant to read, here’s a selection of books to cosy up on the sofa with.

17/03/2020

While we’re all preparing to spend a lot more time on the sofa in the coming weeks and months, books will always offer us the chance to escape into another world, explore a different culture or immerse ourselves in a beautiful love affair. Whether you want to be transported to another time, finally read the classics you’ve always meant to or dive into a nail-biting thriller (no nail-biting though!), here’s our edit of the best books to curl up with now that we’ve all got a little more time on our hands. 

Colouring in to lose yourself in

Art of Mindfulness

by Emma Farrarons

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While away the hours at home with this creative art therapy book to soothe anxiety and stress. Full of beautiful colouring pages, drawings to imitate, patterns to create and lots of guided sketching, The Art of Mindfulness is full of mindful activities to help you achieve a sense of calm. 

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The Little Book of Calm Colouring

by David Sinden

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Soothe stresses away and lose yourself in some creative colouring with this beautifully hand-illustrated colouring book full of stunning anti-stress designs and inspiring quotatons.

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Uplifting escapism

One Summer in Crete

by Nadia Marks

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We may all be stuck on the sofa for the time-being, but there’s no reason why you can’t travel with the aid of your next favourite read – and Nadia Marks’ One Summer in Crete is here to provide you with some escapist joy. Set on the beautiful island of Crete, and using the author’s Greek heritage as inspiration, follow Calli as she embarks on a sun-drenched story of love, betrayal and revenge – a story that will change her life forever.

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Laura Cassidy's Walk of Fame

by Alan McMonagle

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Laura Cassidy has always been sure that she’s on her way to Hollywood. After all, her film-obsessed father used to tell her that stardom was her destiny. Achieving her dream hasn’t been easy, but finally things are looking up. A new theatre is opening, and the female lead in the first production has Laura’s name all over it. There are just a few obstacles to overcome first . . .

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Mum & Dad

by Joanna Trollope

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Full of wit and warmth, Joanna Trollope’s Mum & Dad explores the issues at the heart of the modern family. Twenty-five years ago, Monica and Gus left England to follow their dream of running a vineyard in Spain. Then Gus suffers a stroke and their perfect life is thrown into upheaval. Their three grown-up children in London need to step in to lend a hand, but Sebastian, Katie and Jake have complicated lives of their own . . . 

 

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Dear Mrs Bird

by AJ Pearce

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London, 1941. Emmy dreams of being a fearless Lady War Correspondent but instead finds herself working for the formidable agony aunt Henrietta Bird. Mrs Bird refuses to read any letters containing any form of Unpleasantness, and so those from the lovelorn, grief-stricken and morally conflicted go unanswered. Emmy can’t ignore these poor women desperate for help, and she begins to respond to their letters. What harm could possibly be done?

 

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The Girl Who Reads on the Métro

by Christine Féret-Fleury

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This enchanting story of a young woman finding her purpose in life is guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face. Juliette takes the métro every day to her boring office job, and her only escape is in books. One day, she meets the mysterious Soliman, who believes that books have the power to change the course of a life. He offers Juliette a job, to match books to the people who need them most. Leaving her old life behind, Juliette is about to discover the true power a book can hold . . .

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The Man Who Didn't Call

by Rosie Walsh

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This heart-wrenching love story comes with a shocking twist. Sarah and Eddie have just spent seven perfect days together, falling head over heels in love and talking about a future together that Sarah can’t wait to start. But then Eddie goes on holiday and never calls again. Sarah can’t believe that she’s been ghosted and refuses to move on – she is certain that something has happened to him. When Sarah finds out that there is a reason for Eddie’s silence, the truth is more painful than she could have ever imagined.

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If you're in need of a good laugh, Emma is here with her recommendations for the best funny books:

Escape into another world

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

by Douglas Adams

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This hilarious romp through space is the perfect escape from boredom, and even better, there are another four books in the series to keep you entertained at home. This comedy sci-fi classic sees Arthur Dent narrowly escape the destruction of Earth by hitching a ride on a spaceship with his alien best friend Ford Prefect. 

Find out everything you need to know with our guide to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

 

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Children of Ruin

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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Following on from Tchaikovsky’s Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novel, Children of Time, Children of Ruin finds modern humanity dealing with the consequences of Earth’s ancient empire building. A terraforming program transforms the world of Nod, with unplanned and ominous side effects. Aeons later, an exploration mission finally discovers this part of space. They are hoping to find cousins from old Earth, but realise that something else entirely awaits.

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The Invisible Library

by Genevieve Cogman

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Professional spy Irene works for the mysterious Library, along with her enigmatic assistant Kai. Their mission is to steal a dangerous book from an alternative London. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen . . . To make things more complicated, this alternative world is infested with chaos, full of supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. And Irene’s assistant Kai seems to be hiding a secret . . .

Discover the world of The Invisible Library series.

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The Unspoken Name

by A. K. Larkwood

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Csorwe was raised by a magical death cult. Her destiny? To be sacrificed to their god on her fourteenth birthday. But when a sorcerer, who wants her as his assistant, offers her an escape she jumps at the chance. Csorwe spends her life helping her master track down an artefact that could change their world and others. But the death cult is seeking this artefact too. Can she defeat it once and for all?

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Classics you’ve never got around to reading

 

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

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If you’ve seen the film and TV adaptations but never had the time to commit to Jane Austen’s classic, now’s the time. This witty satire of Regency society is escapism with a bite, and has the happy ending we’re all looking for in these difficult times. If you’ve fallen in love with the world of the Bennet sisters, don’t miss Janice Hadlow’s The Other Bennet Sister.

Find out which Bennet sister you’re most like with our quiz.

 

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Crime and Punishment

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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If you’ve always been a little too daunted to tackle a novel by this master of Russian literature you’re not alone. But why not take this opportunity to read something different? Crime and Punishment is a compelling story of a double murder and its aftermath, as poverty-stricken Rodion Raskolnikov kills a pawnbroker and her sister and finds himself struggling with the true forces that drove him to murder.

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Long books you finally have the time for

 

The Pillars of the Earth

by Ken Follett

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At 1104 pages, The Pillars of the Earth is an epic tale of ambition, anarchy and absolute power set in twelfth-century England perfect for historical fiction fans who are looking to lose themselves in another world. Tom Builder and Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, come together to achieve their ambition to build the biggest gothic cathedral in the world. But they will face a struggle between good and evil as they try to succeed. Be sure to catch up on the other two novels in the Kingsbridge series before The Evening and the Morning is published in September.

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Homeland

by Fernando Aramburu

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This gripping epic novel follows the lives of best friends Miren and Bittori as they grow up and raise their families together in a small town in the north of Spain. Their lives are seemingly unaffected by the fraught politics of the region, until Bittori’s husband begins receiving threats from the terrorist organisation ETA, the same group which has recruited Miren’s son Joxe Mari.

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Self-care books to bring a sense of calm

Ten to Zen

by Owen O'Kane

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This simple but effective guide helps to get you in the right headspace for challenging times in just ten minutes a day. Using four therapeutic models – Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Psychotherapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy – you will learn how to settle your mind quickly, how to retrain your brain to deal with stress and how to restructure unhelpful patterns of thinking. 

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The Anxiety Journal

by Corinne Sweet

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Many of us are probably feeling a little more anxious than usual right now. The Anxiety Journal encourages you to use CBT techniques and mindfulness exercises to help you better understand your anxiety and help you to achieve peace and calm. Practical, supportive and uplifting, this is a journal for anyone who struggles with anxiety, whether in the form of phobias, social anxiety, generalized anxiety (GAD) or day-to-day worrying. 

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Thrillers to immerse yourself in

 

The Long Call

by Ann Cleeves

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Fans of Vera and Shetland will love Ann Cleeves’s newest series, the Two Rivers series. Detective Matthew Venn has returned to North Devon where he grew up in, and ultimately turned his back on, a strict evangelical community, losing his family in the process. He’s returned, not only because he is mourning the death of his father, but because he is taking on his first case in the Two Rivers region. A man has been found stabbed to death on the beach, and Venn’s investigation will take him straight to the heart of the community he left behind.

Read an extract from The Long Call here.

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Our Dark Secret

by Jenny Quintana

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As a teenager in the 1970s, Elizabeth was clever and overweight, a perfect target for bullies. Then Rachel and her family moved to town, and everything changed. She was drawn to bright, beautiful Rachel like a moth to a flame. Their friendship wasn’t exactly equal, but Elizabeth would do anything for Rachel. Then the first body was found . . . When, twenty years on, another body is found, Elizabeth is desperate to keep the secrets of her teenage years secret. But she can’t keep running from her past. Can she? This intelligent crime thriller book is a must-read for fans of Jenny Quintana’s The Missing Girl.

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You Are Not Alone

by Greer Hendricks

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Shay Miller has no job, no apartment and no boyfriend. When she witnesses a young woman throw herself in front of a train, she realises she could end up in the same spiral. But soon she meets a group of women who seem to have their lives together, and who invite her to join them, telling her, ‘You are not alone.’ As she is pulled deeper under the spell of the glamorous Moore sisters her life gets better and better, but what price does she have to pay? You are not alone. Is that a promise, or a threat? You Are Not Alone is set to be one of the most unforgettable psychological thrillers of 2020.

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Here, Emma shares some of her favourite fast-paced books to beat the boredom while we're all at home: