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More feel-good fiction for our fourth (and final?) lockdown

None of us thought we’d be here, did we? As Melbourne endures its fourth lockdown, we’re all feeling a little jaded. We had hoped that the vaccine rollout would have meant that freedom was returning, but it appears that is not the case.

And so, it is time to pick up some feel-good reads. Here are some of my recent favourites to help quash those feelings of boredom, restlessness and doom.

I’m just hoping that the threat of coronavirus subsides soon so that I can depart from the escapism I’m craving and find my sense of doom in fiction, rather than on the news.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Humour can get us through anything and Queenie is one of the funniest books that I have read.

While ostensibly the story is about the problems Queenie faces in her love and professional lives, the highlight of the book is her humour and that of her friends.

Queenie can turn the most devastating rejection into comedy gold as she discusses her situation with her hilarious group of friends.

You won’t only be cringing while you laugh, but also thanking your lucky stars you are far removed from Queenie’s problems as she searches for love.

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

I read Crazy Rich Asians years ago, and this book has reminded me of what wonderful escapism Kevin Kwan’s books provide.

The second book in the series takes the reader back to the sumptuous wealth of the Asian aristocracy, with all of the grand dames’ best snobbish insults. I love the description of the foods, the houses, and the outfits that Kwan provides, including many backhanders when the rules of society have not been followed to the letter.

Nick Young and Rachel Chu reappear in the novel, although the storyline of their wedding and Rachel’s search for her father are secondary to all of the excess in book. It is the perfect book to sink into and forget your worries.

Akin by Emma Donoghue

There is something comforting about Noah, the grandfatherly figure who finds himself saddled with a young relative while he travels to France to explore his family’s past.

The dynamic between the older man and the young Michael is gorgeous, as Michael teaches Noah to see the world through his perceptive gaze.

Just as comforting as the relationship between the two is the French setting, its food and its promenades.

Maybe the Horse Will Talk by Elliot Perlman

If there is one thing that will make you feel good about not having to go into an office, it is Maybe the Horse Will Talk by Elliot Perlman. The workplace that Perlman creates, full of bullies and misogynists, is frighteningly real, and will put readers off ever wanting to return to the office.

He writes about the legal profession and the desperation of those who are part of it. However, this is not just a book that will strike fear into the hearts of young law graduates.

It is also very funny in its portrayal of the profession and those who stalk the corridors of Melbourne’s big law firms.

So, readers take heart that no matter how much you hate zoom, it could always be worse – you could be in the office of law firm Freely Savage Carter Blanche.

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

Redhead by the Side of the Road can only be described as ‘sweet’, and sometimes sweetness is exactly what the doctor ordered. Micah has a business fixing computers. He is a creature of habit and entirely without ambition. However, his awkward unwillingness to commit leads his long-time and beloved partner to question their relationship.

Micah’s response is to fall back upon his many simple habits to hide from making any decision.

While this storyline might sound like it’s full of conflict and heated arguments, Micah’s personality means that this is not the case, and it is more of a meditation than a saga.

And that suited me fine. After all, we’re not up for groundbreaking or shattering (or is it just me?), so a story about a kind misfit who is trying to get along in the world is as comforting as our favourite lockdown trackies.

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