5 Books I Bought For The Lockdown

9 Apr 2020

For someone who didn't really want to talk a lot about the thing that must not be named, I've sure mentioned 'the lockdown' a fair amount over the past couple of weeks. That being said, I know that we can all relate to each other during this time and I think we're all looking for content to inspire us. It could be to inspire a new hobby, inspire our next baking project or maybe just to inspire us to stop worrying about being productive and just relax. So I wanted to throw my two cents in and share 5 books that I bought for the lockdown period.

I used to be a huge bookworm and I could devour books in a matter of days, but with starting a full time job, I became one of those people who claim they 'don't have time' to read. That obviously isn't the case - the motivation to read just kind of dwindles after a day slogging it at work. But now that I'm spending more time at home, I was absolutely itching to get stuck into a good book. I headed to the ever so convenient Amazon Prime and placed myself a cheeky order!

The Women at Hitler's Table - Rosella Postorino

I'm starting off with this one because I didn't actually buy it - sorry, the post title is a bit of a fib! Matthew actually bought this for my birthday, which happened during the lockdown, so technically, the book was bought for this time period, just not by me.

I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to historical fiction that's based on true stories from World War II, especially when it comes to stories about groups of people in the war that you wouldn't necessarily think of straight away. I usually read more about the Auschwitz side of the war, like The Tattooist of Auschwitz, so the Hitler side isn't something that I've delved into much. But when I saw The Women at Hitler's Table, I was particularly intrigued.

This story is about the women that were hired to taste Hitler's food before he had his meals. Of course, he was scared of being poisoned by his enemies, so these women were putting themselves on the front line to make sure that his food was edible. It sounded so fascinating and I especially liked that it was a story told by women, so a copy made its way into the basket. While this isn't a work of non-fiction, it's based on the true stories of the food tasters and the lengths that they would go to survive.

The Red Ribbon - Lucy Adlington

I've been a bit of a quiet fan of Lucy Adlington ever since I saw one of her history costume shows. She tells stories from history through clothing and acting, and I definitely recommend going to see her if you ever get the chance. And at one of her shows, she mentioned that she was writing a book about something that really caught my attention, and now I've finally got my hands on it!

Again, this book is a World War II historical fiction, which is why I've grouped it with the previous book, but this one is all about the Jewish girls who survived the Nazis because they could sew. The Red Ribbon follows the teenagers that were chosen from Auschwitz-Birkenau to become seamstresses for the officer's wives and the female guards - again, another story about a group of people that you may not immediately think of when you hear 'World War II'. I'm expecting this to be emotional and tense, but uplifting and somewhat inspiring.

As the protagonists are two teenagers, the reviews say that this is more of a YA novel, which I'm not unhappy about. I love a good YA book, so if you can cross that with a bit of history, I'm sold! This would make it perfect for older teens or twenty-somethings who fancy something that you just can't put down.

The Doll Factory - Elizabeth MacNeal

I can't lie, with this book, it was definitely a 'ooh, that cover looks pretty' sort of deal. I hadn't heard of The Doll Factory or the author, so I was going in completely blind. I just loved the look of the blue cover with the gold details and the little caged bird - it looked so pretty and that's what you want in a book cover! Besides, with Amazon, you kind of need to be drawn in by the way the book looks first so you can read all the blurb in the description, and I'm so glad I explored this book more because it's totally up my street.

This is a novel set in Victorian England, yet another period of time that I'm kind of obsessed with, and it's a stalker thriller. A lot of reviews have said that it's creepy and a bit scary, so I'm really excited to get stuck into this Neo-Vic Gothic fiction! This novel also has a female lead and as you can tell from all the books on this list so far, I'm a big fan of a female protagonist, and the Victorian era was notorious for marginalising women, so it'll be interesting to see how this comes across with the stalker storyline.

Side note: I've also read that this book contains details about animal abuse and taxidermy, so if that's something that you don't want to read, this may not be the book for you. I'm not overly excited about reading about animals getting killed and if it's too much, I may need to put the book down, but for now, I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in.

Once Upon A River - Diane Setterfield

Whilst writing this post, I've realised that four out of five books are historical fictions... oops! But yes, here is another one! This was another pretty cover book that caught my eye, but I'd seen it a little while ago in Waterstones and totally forgotten the name. So when I saw it again on Amazon, it went straight into my basket. The cover reminds me a lot of The Essex Serpent, and I like the colours and the title being washed down the river. It'll certainly look gorgeous on a bookshelf!

So, Once Upon A River is another story set in the Victorian era, but it features elements of magical realism. I freaking love a bit of magical realism in a book and because this one draws on the Victorians for inspiration, it's just a recipe for a winner in my eyes. Lots of reviews have also said that this book has a slow pace, kind of like The Essex Serpent, which gives Diane Setterfield lots of time to weave in little threads about each character and build up the story slowly, rather than cramming in loads of action at once.

The main focus of this story is the little girl who is found drowned in the River Thames, who comes back to life without her voice. It's following the mystery of how she ended up in the river and who she belongs to, but with many other great Gothic stories, there are lots of little other stories dotted around it to really breathe life into the tale.

This Is Going To Hurt - Adam Kay

So this is the only non-historical, non-fiction, male-led book that I bought, and it was completely unintentional for me to theme my other purchases. But this is a book that was huge a couple of years ago and I'd been meaning to jump on the bandwagon for a little while, but after falling out of love with reading, I sort of forgot about my want to read this book. In this time where we're all being so thankful for our NHS and the people saving lives, it felt like the perfect opportunity to give this book a go.

This Is Going To Hurt is the real life diary of Adam Kay, the author, during his time as a junior doctor. It looks like a pretty easy read because it's broken down like a diary, with each section as a day and some sections are only a few lines, so this is something you could get through in less than a week. But I'm expecting it to have hard hitting stuff, as well as some funny bits and things that will shock, so I think that this will be next on my list to read. Like I said, right now, when the NHS need all the support they can get, feels like the perfect time to try this one out.


It's been a long time since I talked about books on my blog, so I'd definitely like to get back into it. I used to love writing up reviews, so who knows, maybe once I've read a few of these, you'll be seeing some reviews of them in the future! Let me know if that's something you'd want to see and also let me know what you've been reading. I'm always up for bulking out my bookshelf.

Have you read any of the books from this post? Tell me what you thought!

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@thenorthernist