10 Escapist Books to Take Your Mind Off the Madness

We’re just 20 days into the calendar year but we’ve seen quite enough, thanks. At this point, we’re ready to unmask the pranksters behind 2021, sing Auld Lang Syne, raise a glass of Berocca and call it a night because our chakras are all gamed out. If ever we needed to bury our heads in the sand – even if it’s just the half-eaten kind, dumped in our cereal bowl by a fly-tipping dog – it’s now.

In these tumultuous times, books are a great source of comfort and escapism, so here’s a few literary gems whose pages will help to peel your shoulders away from your ears and quash those January scaries.

Airdrop us into a world that looks nothing like our own…

Thank fudge for fiction is all we’re saying. Airdrop us into a world that looks nothing like our own, swaddle us with pure, wholesome clothbound tales of warmth, wonder and wide-eyed innocence immediately.

In our ongoing effort to distract you from the wild happenings here on Planet Earth, here are some of the best books to bury your nose in while you’re holed up at home. Again.

City of Girls – Elizabeth Gilbert

From the bestselling author of Eat Pray Love, comes another unputdownable read. This light, bright, booze-filled romp through the 1940s will go down splendidly with a cocktail or two. It’s happy hour somewhere. Buy a copy here!

Beach Read – Emily Henry

Two writers, one holiday. A Rom Com waiting to happen…

Beach Read is exactly the sizzling page-turner the title suggests. Fill the Love Island void and live vicariously through the two protagonists, January and Gus, as they both scramble to push through writer’s block and publish the next bestseller before the summer’s out. Buy a copy here!

The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary

Oh Beth O’Leary, mistress of toasty, feel-good fiction, what did we do to deserve you? The Flatshare is about two roommates who fall hard for one another. They share a flat and a bed but there’s one elephant in the boudoir… Tiffy & Leon have never met. Buy a copy here!

The Henna Artist – Alka Joshi

With its colourful descriptions and sumptuous storytelling, The Henna Artist will transport you back to 1950s India, where seventeen-year-old Lakshmi escapes from an arranged and abusive marriage to the vibrant city of Jaipur. Buy a copy here!

The Sun & Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur

Whenever your feel the brain fog creeping, check-in with Rupi. Her collection of poetry, aptly named The Sun & Her Flowers, will soothe your soul and help you find the magic in the world again. Nourish to flourish, pals! Buy a copy here!

The Guest List – Lucy Foley

A modern Agatha Christie page-turner for the Instagram age with more twists and turns than the cheap garden hose. Buy a copy here!

Ghosts – Dolly Alderton

No one writes with such whip-smart observation as Dolly Alderton and her debut novel proves it. Ghosts will resonate with every woman who’s ever had to wade through the BS of modern dating. Buy a copy here!

Everything Is Under Control – Phyllis Grant

Part foodie memoir, part recipe book, Grant’s light-hearted slice of reverie is just what everyone needs at a time when we’re done with banana bread and many, many things are in fact completely out of control. Buy a copy here!

Outlawed – Anna North

Giddy up, dear reader, Outlawed is an alternative wild yee-haw Western about a group of loveable female and non-binary outlaws looking for the freedom to exist in a world that largely doesn’t want them. North completely flips the script with this one and we stan. Buy a copy here!

His Only Wife – Peace Adzo Medie

Bursting with warmth, humour and humanity, his Only Wife is a much-needed modern Ghanaian love story about marriage ideals, family obligation and a plucky heroine determined to live life on her own terms. Buy a copy here!