The Zoella Team’s TBR Piles

Reading provides the best form of escapism and procrastination, and who doesn’t need a bit of that in their lives right about now?

Let’s hear it for the TBR pile – the great to-be-read rock face that no man has ever actually managed to abseil down. Ever.

In bleak times, we reach for books so you could say our TBR piles are looking wildly overgrown at the moment thanks to a global pandemic that made us all want to stick our noses into a best-seller and consume someone else’s story for a while.

Reading provides the best form of escapism and procrastination, and who doesn’t need a bit of that in their lives right about now?

Reading provides the best form of escapism and procrastination, and who doesn’t need a bit of that in their lives right about now? So, if you’re a seasoned book lover tormented by the impossible dilemma of what to read next, or eager to get back into reading race but not sure where to start, you’re in good hands here.

From the classics the contemporary greats, here’s a nosey at the books we’re collecting on our bedside tables, windowsills and just about any other free surface we can find, until we’re ready to read ’em. Happy hoarding!

Lareese is reading…

Where The Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens

I narrowly missed out on reading this as part of the Zoella book club before I joined the team but I’ve heard it’s a solid 5/5, despite being a bit of a slow burner – a lot of the best books always are! I’m actively trying to avoid anything I see about the plot because I don’t want to read any spoilers but I cannot wait to get stuck in. I already don’t want it to end and I haven’t even started it yet.

Three Women
Lisa Taddeo

I don’t tend to read a great deal of non-fiction but after seeing the cover all over my Instagram feed, I was officially influenced. Journalist Lisa Taddeo spent the best part of a decade traveling across America interviewing her female subjects and chronicling their inner most desires. Maggie had a sexual relationship with her high school teacher, Lina’s stuck in a passionless marriage and looking elsewhere and Sloane’s husband loves to partake in threesomes. I’ve never read anything like it before, so I’m intrigued to see if it lives up to the unputdownable hype. Time will tell!

If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi
Neel Patel

Sometimes you just need a fast and easy read to punctuate the stack of murder mysteries and thrillers on your TBR pile, and I think Patel’s debut will be just that. If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi is a collection of 11 beautifully written short stories, all set in the Indian-African community. I’m up for a refreshing palette cleanser after reading some pretty dark and gritty novels lately!

Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte

I can’t believe I’ve never read this before. I’m a terrible English Lit student! I think my uni reading list was largely taken up by Middlemarch. Say. No. More. If you know, you know. I think it’s great to change things up from time to time and squeeze a classic in amongst the best-sellers and new author debuts. They’re not always the easiest to get through but there’s nothing wrong with taking your sweet time over your reading sometimes.

Conversations With Friends
Sally Rooney

I devoured Rooney’s other best-selling novel, Normal People, in a day and recently binged all 12 episodes of the tv adaptation too and bloody loved it, so I don’t really want to get off the Rooney ride just yet. I picked up Conversations With Friends in a charity shop a while ago and since then forgot all about it. I love a coming-of-age novel and this sounds like it’ll be the perfect YA NA hybrid.

Darcey is reading…

I’m really excited about my TBR pile and am looking forward to getting stuck into them over the next month! At least all this extra free time we have means we can read a lot more, which is always great!

This Lovely City – Louise Hare
Of course, the Zoella book club read is on my list! He’s first up on my TBR pile, I’ll be starting this at the weekend! I’m really looking forward to reading this one and looking forward to seeing everyone else’s thoughts on this book. I thoroughly enjoy a crime drama, intertwined with a love story, so I’ve got high hopes for this book!

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
I have never read this book… a true classic and I really do feel like I am missing out big time! So he is definitely in my TBR pile, however I will have to find all my strength to not watch the new series on Amazon first… I’m a real sucker for a good series but I know I’ll never read the book if I watch the series first.

Notes On A Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
I started reading this book earlier this year and never got through to the end. This wasn’t a case of not enjoying it, more life got busy and I started picking up fiction books which were more of an escape when reading. But, in current times, I think reading this book will really help stay grounded in these strange times. Matt Haig is an amazing person, I find him massively inspiring and vow to take the time to read this book and use it to reflect on my own life.

Zoe is reading…

As well as ploughing through our monthly Zoella Book Club reads, I keep a pile of books that are next on my list if I was to finish one sooner. These are currently the ones i’m most excited to get stuck into.

Genuine Fraud – E Lockhart

I read Lockhart’s “We were liars” years ago, and although it took me a while to get used to her unique writing style, I absolutely ended up falling in love with it and it’s fast paced nature and suspense. I’ve had this book a while, and everytime I see it i’m reminded of how much I want to read it, but pop it back in my bookshelf and forget! I’m making a mental note (and now you can remind me), that I want to get stuck into this asap.

Blurb taken from Amazon –
Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

The Keeper Of Lost Things – Ruth Hogan

I ordered this book a year or so ago because I’d seen someone online recommend it and noticed it in my Amazon recommendations a few times!

Blurb taken from Amazon –
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.
Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.
But the final wishes of the ‘Keeper of Lost Things’ have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

Milkman – Anna Burns

Again, another book I’ve seen a few people read and recommend that I thought looked quite interesting. I’ve not read anything by Anna Burns before but this sounded like something I’d also enjoy!

Blurb from amazon –
In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.
Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris

I feel like most people have already read this and I am trailing pretty far behind. It has amazing reviews and friends have told me to get cracking on this as they loved it. It’s sold more than 4 million copies worldwide!

Blurb from amazon –
In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.
Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.
So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.

Conversations with friends – Sally Rooney

After reading Sally Rooneys “Normal People”, I ordered this immediately which is another novel from her. I’ve had it on my TBR pile for a while, but now I’ve just finished watching the adaptation of Normal People on tv, I am craving more of Sally’s real and raw storytelling. She has a way of making you feel fully submerged in the relationships she writes which I love.

Blurb from Amazon –
Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and observant. A student in Dublin and an aspiring writer, at night she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are interviewed and then befriended by Melissa, a well-known journalist who is married to Nick, an actor, they enter a world of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence, beginning a complex ménage-à-quatre. But when Frances and Nick get unexpectedly closer, the sharply witty and emotion-averse Frances is forced to honestly confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.

Charlotte is reading…

My TBR consists of three newbies and one oldie but goldie that I’ll be getting stuck into over the next few weeks, mainly as a distraction from the holidays and fun plans ol ‘rona has put on hold. Deffo not upset about it. Nope.

Reasons To Stay Alive
Matt Haig

One of my kindest pals got me this as part of my Secret Santa gift a few months back now (bloody hell how fast has this year gone?!) and I’ve somehow yet to make a dent in it. I love everything Matt Haig stands for since following him online a few years ago and feel like this read might be poignant now more than ever in what feels like a really wobbly time emotionally.

Ian McEwan

This has been on my shelf collecting dust for so long and I’m determined to read it during lockdown. I think my dad bought me this as a gift when I was in college as I was studying ‘Atonement’, one of McEwan’s most well-known novels, which I loved! This one is only a short one so hopefully, I can make my way through soon on a sunny day in the garden.

The Rosie Result
Graeme Simsion

This is the last book in The Rosie Project series and I’m sad to be reaching the end! The story follows genetics professor Don Tillman who devises a questionnaire to find the perfect wife after struggling to maintain successful relationships with women due to his somewhat unique but often endearing way of thinking. It’s very similar to the style of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, so if you loved that I’d highly recommend it!

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

This is perhaps one of my all-time favourite reads and one I’ve been inspired to pick back up after reading This Lovely City which also focuses on the Second World War. This book follows the tale of a young girl named Liesel as she comes of age in Nazi Germany and the complications and confusion that emerged following the demise of the Nazi party from a young girl’s perspective. The book is a tear-jerker, to say the least, but one I think is so important and impactful.

Danielle is reading…

Most of my reading time is taken up by our Zoella Book Clubs which is absolutely fine by me as we all help to pick them! I also usually listen to this using Audible as they’re great for tackling when I’m out with the dog or walking on the beach. However, since being in lockdown I’ve found myself reaching for actual books far more often in a bid to soak up the sun in my garden and come off my screens!

Shrill – Lindy West

Some of these books have been passed on to me and highly recommended like Shrill by Lindy West which has been turned in to a tv show which I always think is a good sign! Shrill is a witty and cathartic memoir with themes of misogyny, fat-shaming, and internet trolls.

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

I’m so excited to tuck into this as it is so many people’s favourite read. The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, whose closest friend is Hassan. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the Soviet military intervention, the exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime.

The Skills – Mishal Husain

I don’t usually read to much self-help or work-driven books but in the interest of coming out of lockdown a new woman (ha) I’m going to give The Skills by Mishal Husain a read and see how I find it! It’s such a big-time for self-reflection at the moment and I think I’ll be far more likely to drink this in and remember the takeaways.

The Friend – Sigrid Nunez

I have had The Friend by Sigrid Nunez for a while and I’m finally ready to pick it up. I’m usually the type of person to put off consuming content that might make me cry which is a bit pathetic as some of the most beautiful stories will make you cry which I was reminded by when watching Normal People this week. The Friend follows the story of a woman who unexpectedly loses a friend to suicide and finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. It’s a story of grief and recovery that I can’t wait to read.

The New Yorker

If I’m honest I’ve fallen out of journalism throughout my twenties and started to find sloppy, biased articles a chore to read making me distance myself from the news and things going on in the world. Over the course of the last year, I’ve aimed to change that by subscribing to news sites like The Cramm, The Daily Brief and most recently I started paying for a subscription to The New Yorker. I really enjoy their long-form articles, short stories and cartoons. In fact, I just found out one of my favourite short stories called Sell Out that I read in The New Yorker years ago is being made into a Seth Rogan movie!

Maddie is reading…

My current TBR pile consists largely of a mix of autobiographies from people i’m interested in or self help business guides. More and more i feel like i want to use my time to learn things and where better to start but by taking in the successes and mistakes of others.

Why now is the time to crush it!
Gary Vaynerchuck

If you know anything about Gary Vaynerchuck you’ll know that he is constantly talking about getting out of your comfort zone, following your passions and is a big believer in stop dreaming and start doing. I feel like his book would be a big inspiration.

How to win friends and influence people
Dale Carnegie

This has been on my must read list for too long, it’s considered one of the best business guides and is quote “the only book you need to lead you to success”. It’s quite old so i’m conscious that some of its theories may not be as modern as other books but I’m sure it will still have some really valuable insights.

Million Dollar Women
Julie Pimsleur

It’s well documented that women are vastly under represented in the top positions and therefore earnings in businesses worldwide. A fact i find difficult to swallow. This book takes you through interviews from women entrepreneurs who share their experiences and tips for success.

Elon Musk: How the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our future
Ashlee Vance

Entrepreneurs don’t get much more fascinating than Elon Musk, he has started more successful businesses than i’ve had hot dinners and has a truly revolutionary forward thinking brain. He also recently named is son X Æ A-12 or “X” for short, so if that doesn’t add to the intrigue i’m not sure anything will.

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