What to read when you don’t feel like reading

14 April 2020

You’ve got a huge TBR stack, some cracking titles lined up, and a bit of extra free time. But what if your brain just won’t let you read? With so much information being fed to us all day it can be hard to switch off and disappear into a book, even when you really want to. Read on for our suggestions for books to ease you back into your reading routine.

 Let us know your own suggestions on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.


hollow in the land

The novel-in-stories

James Clarke’s Hollow in the Land tells of the rich, strange lives of a community of people living in a post-industrial community in a valley in Lancashire. It’s a novel-in-stories, which means that each chapter can be read and savoured by itself.

Read a story

Download the ebook

Buy a copy

The memoir
carmen maria machado

Carmen Maria Machado’s work is always compelling, culturally relevant and thought-provoking.

Her Body & Other Parties is an acclaimed collection of gothic-influenced, feminist stories. Written in a series of vignettes, In the Dream House broke new ground for memoir writing with its unique approach to exploring domestic abuse in a queer relationship.

Read an extract from In the Dream House
Download the ebook
Buy a copy


the pine islandsThe quick read

This short (192pp), funny and thoughtful book will whisk you away on a spontaneous trip to Japan with the hapless Gilbert. Upon arrival in Tokyo, Gilbert befriends Yosa, a young Japanese student, and together they set out on a pilgrimage to the pine islands of Matsushima.

Marion Poschmann’s The Pine Islands, translated by Jen Callelja, was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize and the German Book Prize and called ‘miraculous’ by the Guardian.

Read an extract.
Download the ebook
Buy a copy


The novellamary gaitskill

In a mere 96 pages, the legendary Mary Gaitskill tells the story of a #MeToo case in a publishing house from two sides: that of the perpetrator, a charming male publisher, and his close female friend.
This is Pleasure is an extraordinary work by one of the world’s finest writers, achieving more in 15,000 words than most full-length novels. 

Read an interview with Mary Gaitskill: ‘I don’t like the word “harassment” any more’
Download the ebook (for a price as small as its width)
Buy a copy


address unknownThe correspondence

First published in 1939, this powerful story told through letters between a Jew in America and his German friend met with immediate success in English but was banned in Europe by the Nazis.

Now an international bestseller, Address Unknown was one of the earliest works of fiction to warn against the dangers of fascism in Europe. It has an unforgettable sting in its tail – and it won’t take you long to get there.

Download the ebook (again, at a price as diminutive as its 96 pages!)
Buy a copy


The short stories jamel brinkley

In the nine unforgettable stories of A Lucky Man, Jamel Brinkley explores the unseen tenderness of black men and boys: the struggle to love and be loved, the invisible ties of family and friendship, and the inescapable forces of race, class and masculinity.

The Guardian called the collection ‘near faultless’ and we agree entirely with the Observer’s view that: ‘In the end, there’s no doubt who the lucky ones are: we, the readers.’ 

Download the ebook
Buy a copy

this little dark placeThe thriller

Rumour has it that crime fiction is flying off the virtual shelves right now – and we reckon it’s books like A.S. Hatch’s This Little Dark Place that are getting people reading this genre.

Gripping from page one, this acclaimed thriller written as a series of letters. We follow he stories of a dad-to-be, Daniel, and his prison pen pal Ruby, whose lives will become dangerously intertwined…

Read an extract
Download the ebook (just £1.89 at time of writing!)
Buy a copy


The true talesthe moth

If you feel in need of a reminder that life can be full of adventure, these compelling true stories are for you.

From the makers of the blockbuster podcast of the same name, The Moth finds the best storytellers and stories, whether they’re funny, unbelievable, moving, scary. Or all of those things at once.

Listen to The Moth
Download the ebook
Buy a copy