So the nights are drawing in and the days are getting colder. For bookworms, this is the perfect time to crack open the pyjama drawer, make a hot drink and curl up with a good book. I love autumn for that.
With that in mind, I thought I’d have a gander at my Goodreads list to pick out five of my favourite cosy reads, perfect for snuggling under the duvet with.
- Middlemarch by George Eliot
I don’t know what it is about cold weather but it puts me right in the mood for a classic. I’m all about modern literature in the summer but the minute you can feel that chill in the air, I want a bit of old school. George Eliot is my number one and Middlemarch is my favourite by her so it seemed only right that it would kick off this list. It’s a brilliant study of life in the 1800s with the wonderful Dorothea Brooke centre stage, an orphan who must navigate her way through life in a town in the Midlands. It’s a perfect summation of the problems that faced women in the Victorian era and the control that men attempted to exert upon them. It’s also a brilliant collection of characters put together by the skill of a wonderful writer like Eliot.
Did you know: Mary Ann Evans chose the pen name George Eliot as a nod to her married lover George Lewes, the surname being “to L I Owe It”. After he died she married a man twenty years her junior and is credited for coming up with the phrases pop (as in pop music) and browser.
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
So I will scoot straight to modern day and throw this instant classic from 2017 into the mix. You instantly fall in love with social misfit Eleanor and, in much the same way as we do Dorothea in Middlemarch, we follow her through the ups and downs of life. As Eleanor’s life slowly unveils itself to us, we fall deeper in love with her and get to the point where we feel protective over her. It’s a brilliant book where not a lot happens but you are transfixed by the creation of a wonderfully endearing central character.
Did you know: Reese Witherspoon has bought the rights so we may be seeing Eleanor on the screen in the future. Who would you cast?
- Spectacles by Sue Perkins
I love Sue Perkins so her 2015 memoir was always a must for me but I was surprised by it. Showbiz memoirs can be hit and miss although I am still a sucker for them but in Spectacles, Perkins introduces us to her family and it is such a lovely place to be. Written in her cosy style, Perkins will make you laugh but she doesn’t shy away from the stuff that’s uncomfortable or makes you angry. It’s been said so many times but it is one of those books that you don’t want to finish. I’d love a sequel Sue if you’re reading. In the meantime I will stalk you on Twitter, no nothing weird about that, nothing at all.
Did you know: Sue is returning to our screens with her partner in crime, Mel Giedroyc, as actual partners in crime in a sitcom called Hitmen. This will be interesting.
- Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
I just loved this book. Another character led story where an elderly fairground maintenance man, Eddie, is killed and we follow him on an afterlife journey where he meets five people who had a massive impact on the life he led on Earth. It’s a unique and fascinating concept and is brilliant. It’s a fairly short read too so perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon, pyjamas mandatory.
Did you know: Five People you Meet In Heaven sold five million copies in its first year. It proves that simple stories with endearing characters have a huge place in our hearts.
- John Halifax, Gentleman – Dinah Craik
So I’m book ending this list with perhaps the most celebrated 19th century work (Middlemarch) and one of the most underrated. John Halifax, Gentleman is brilliant yet seems to be destined to a life of being passed over for the bigger writers. The plot centres around John Halifax’s family and how he rises up from being an orphan to making a life for himself. It’s a gentle portrayal that rumbles along but that isn’t to say there aren’t scenes that will literally tug at your heart strings. If mashed potato was a book, it would be this one.
Did you know: John Halifax, Gentleman was a victim of snobbery with many of Craik’s contemporaries accusing her of idealism but even with that taken into an account, it’s an interesting insight into the beginnings of society challenging class and striving to improve their lot.
So there we go, five recommendations from me to help you while away a cosy Sunday afternoon or when you get in your pyjamas at five at night…oh that’s just me then?
If you’ve read any of these or have any suggestions of you own. Let me know in the comments below.