Staycation Reads! Recommendations from Subscribers

In our July newsletter we asked you to suggest a good read for a staycation. Thanks so much to everyone who got in touch! We loved hearing about books you’ve enjoyed.

Read on to hear about a selection of these…

A Monk’s Guide to Happiness: Meditation in the 21st Century by Gelong Thubten

At unprecedented times in our species existence this book has become my go tool for survival. During lockdown it provided me not just with psychological comfort but also a practical path to starting your own journey for inner peace and contentment. As the global situation remains uncertain this books gives you the tools so that you can effectively manage your own anxiety and stress. The teachings are substantiated by scientific evidence and common sense that I could relate to! This book could not have come at a better time for the world and it has changed my approach to life!



The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

This book recreates the lives of the five victims of Jack the Ripper exposing the misogyny that shaped, and continues to shape their stories, the spiral of poverty (and hypocrisy) that trapped women in the Victorian era and the sensationalism of the press at the time that served only to distort and dehumanise their stories even further.

The research that has gone into these untold stories is packed into every page and from it we learn not only about these five women but the lives more generally of women living in, or finding themselves in, poverty in this era. She dispels the myth we cannot research poor people because they didn’t write by expertly bringing these women, and the streets they inhabited, to life.

This book tells the full and rounded stories of these women (not dismissing them as “just prostitutes” as they have been before) whilst at the same time bringing, the issues they faced right up to date with a modern day look at how male criminals are revered while their female victims forgotten.

An expert book with a fast pace that teaches and educates while never feeling laborious.


Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000 Mile Adventure by Monisha Rajesh

While we can’t explore the world for real, this is the perfect armchair (or sun lounger!) travelling companion. Full of fun and fascinating encounters from Canada to Kazakhstan and beyond, this is a warm and witty account of travelling on railways across the world that will make you smile, think – and itch to pick up your own rucksack again!





If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon

The most fitting book for a staycation would be ‘If You Could Go Anywhere’ by Paige Toon. It is my favourite summer read of all time. It explores exotic Italy in the most beautiful and picturesque way.

Angie is discovering more about her Italian father who works in a restaurant named Serafina’s, where she meets the mysterious Alessandro. Alessandro is a free spirit who thrives when he’s travelling the world. He takes Angie on adventure of a lifetime, exploring Italy.

I read this in my back-garden but felt like I was so far away. The perfect summer romance that will make you feel warm and sunny on the inside during a staycation.


The Whisper Man by Alex North

This is a psychological thriller which I could not put down.

Really well written, and one if the things I really liked is the ending was fairly quick and not drawn out over lots of chapters. I loved the characters, but it does involve a young troubled boy.





Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson

This is a hilarious and heart-breaking look at the life of a family through several generations.

Every time I read it I realise that there is a part of the story I have missed and it brings new significance to the rest of the story.

Ruby Lennox is a fantastic female lead who I took into my heart at the first read.




Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe

This was lent to me during a wonderful holiday in Ireland.

A book in letter form? Yes, and it works, and is so real and lively. This consists of letters detailing the everyday life of an inexperienced nanny in 1980s London, catapulted into an eccentric literary society.

This is a charming and very funny read.




The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow

This book is extraordinary and different.

Set 100 or so years ago, it soon becomes rather odd and unsettling as new secret doors open up to strange characters and lives in other worlds.

I really enjoyed this book!





At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails 

How to Live: A Life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell

At the Existentialist Cafe is a compelling account of existentialism which has the pace of a good novel.


Her second book is How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer.


Despite being someone who has no interest in 16th century history, plus a lifelong disdain for the aristocracy, I was bowled over completely  by this beautifully written book.

Sarah Bakewell effortlessly transports the reader to south western France in the late 1500’s and leaves us with a great deal to ponder.  These two books are my favourite books of philosophy.





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