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Your coronavirus reading list: reader suggestions to bring joy in difficult times | Books


The Wild Places, Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane

Robert Macfarlane writes lyrically and lovingly about the places (mainly in Britain) he walks through. He combines his sense of wonder with thorough knowledge of the places he journeys to, their history, previous written works by poets, authors, artists and explorers and others who have travelled and wondered along the same paths.

I’ve read and reread The Wild Places in Scotland, Tasmania and Perth Western Australia, but Landmarks is also wonderful. It explores the naming of features and the many lost words that described the landscape for inhabitants over generations, when accurate terms for landscape features were part of survival and are a rich and largely lost cultural treasure. Currently reading The Old Ways, with Underland and Mountains of the Mind waiting nearby. His writings make my heart sing. Rochsonsdottir


Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster





School children on a bus



1920s photograph of school children on a bus Photograph: Alamy

As a child, I was given my grandfather’s hardback copy of this book after his death. He was a taciturn, brooding man, often self-medicated against undiagnosed PTSD from his WWII experiences, so finding out that this sweetly funny, romantic epistolary novel from 1912 was a particular favourite of his was revelatory. I read it over and over until the cover eventually fell apart. JediMindTrick


His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman





Screenshot from His Dark Materials



Philip Pullman: an imagination equal to the greats. Photograph: Screen Grab/BBC/Bad Wolf/HBO

I love young adult fiction and also adore the His Dark Materials trilogy. Amazing books each one (the last is particularly good) and a fascinating world where humans have daemons, soul mates in animal form, and there is a war between heaven and earth. Philip Pullman has an imagination equal or superior to greats like JK Rowling, Tolkien and CS Lewis, and he writes beautifully. The trilogy is his masterpiece; the Book of Dust didn’t grab me in the same way. A joy to read with great characters and a fascinating universe that pits science against superstition. banditmcq


The Beloved Vagabond by William Locke

The life of a musician-philosopher as he wanders through rural turn of 20th century France, earning his living with his violin by day and debating philosophy over beer by night, a romantic proto-hippie idyll only disrupted when – sacre bleu! – our hero falls in love. Find it and read on. LoudonCleary


The Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett

Any Terry Pratchett novel, but particularly the ones involving the witches, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Magrat and Tiffany Aching. The witches show care and concern for others in their society and a strong sense of integrity, something sadly lacking in most of our politicians and business leaders. indelibleink


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson

The only book that makes me laugh every time I go back and read it. There are dark sections along the way and also some beautiful and poignant passages. A masterpiece, supposedly fictional, but no one could possibly dream up this story without having lived some of it themselves. Patrick305

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