Credit: GG Illustrator Emma Garcia-Melchor (@emmitagm)

The literary cures to your lockdown blues

By Chloe-Ann Hooper

Five book titles that promise to brighten your day.

Suffering from the lockdown blues? 

Well, you’ve come to the right place! With the road out of lockdown still so uncertain, many of us are feeling a little tense these days. Sometimes you just want to escape the real world, go to a place where the sun shines a little bit brighter, and where shaking hands feels a little bit cleaner. The following books are perfect for what we’re all going through right now, and will encourage deep breaths and an optimistic outlook.

If poetry sounds right up your alley, then William Sieghart’s The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-true Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind, and Soul, might be exactly what you’re looking for. The good thing about this poetry collection is that each poem comes labelled with its own prescription. Suffering from anxiety? Sieghart has a poem for that! Lethargy, fear of the unknown, news overload; Sieghart has poems for those too! As pretty as a hardcover can be, this would be a good book to keep downloaded onto your mobile device (if you happen to have the Kindle app), so you can whip out your poetry book on the go whenever you need a moment to yourself, or to get out of your own head. 

In The Unwinding and other Dreaming’s by Jackie Morris, the author blends her poetic skills with her talent for watercolour painting to create a beautiful collection of illustrated stories. Published by Unbound – the world’s first crowdfunding publishers – this book is not made to be read cover-to-cover, and is instead a flexible reading journey to dip in and out. Readers can pick up the book and return to its fantastical world at any point, without losing any semblance of the charm that most books develop slowly through a cover-to-cover reading. With deadlines and exams slowly approaching, this book is perfect for those that don’t have an abundance of spare time to dedicate to reading. 

However, reading poetry might not be for you. If you feel like kicking back with something less serious, I give you Stephen Collins’ The Gigantic Beard that was Evil. With simple, yet elegant artwork, in this graphic novel Collins’ protagonist Dave learns that having a little bit of unwelcomed chaos find its way into your life can sometimes turn out to be beneficial. Just like for Dave, things don’t always go the way we imagined; though we don’t have evil facial hair. But maybe I’m just speaking for myself, and you can relate to this book on a very literal, weird level. 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz is a warm-hearted, feel good story about love, family, and friendship, for those with an appetite for contemporary young adult novels. After bonding over the uniqueness of their names, Aristotle and Dante begin forging a friendship perhaps deeper than most of us may have the luck to experience. While Dante and Aristotle come face to face with violence, loss, and transphobia, the love both protagonists’ find in each other and in their families is what allows both to overcome their struggles. A great book to remind us of the value of friendship, which we so often forget in isolating times like these.

Should you choose to dive into Elizabeth Acevedo’s With the Fire on High, you may find yourself springing up from your reading nook and right into the kitchen. About to graduate from high school, main character Emoni wants to become a chef more than anything, but has a two-year-old daughter to take care of. Throughout this book, Emoni learns to balance her familial responsibilities with self-care, and making time for her own passions; a lesson all of us should bring into practice. Providing us with a sprinkle of delicious recipes along the journey, this book may inspire you to incorporate a little experimentation into your own lockdown culinary career. 


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