24 of the most comforting reads in lockdown, as picked by Marian Keyes

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Hollie Richardson
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Marian Keyes

Finding it hard to get stuck into a good book at the moment? Marian Keyes has shared 28 books that have comforted her during lockdown.

The world feels like a bit of a miserable place right now, eh? It’s cold and wet, we’re in lockdown and the news can feel like an endless stream of negativity. 

That’s why it’s so important to hold onto the things that keep us calm and happy. And an escapist book is one of the easiest ways to do this, as research has shown that reading a good book can help sooth anxiety and stress

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Bestselling author Marian Keyes knows this all too well (we wouldn’t expect anything less from the beloved writer of Rachel’s Holiday, Watermelon and Grown Ups). Her own books provide comfort, reassurance, escapism and laughter for millions of people across the world. 

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Keyes has created a list of her ultimate comfort reads on, which is an online bookselling platform supporting independent bookstores. 

She nails the reasons why we should all try to escape through book pages right now, saying: “Life is very challenging at the moment and personally, I’m desperate for a holiday from reality and from my head. Reading has always been a huge pleasure for me but because so much fear is circulating, there are lots of subjects I’m currently not able for. 

“I’ve put together a collection of titles that I’ve found engaging, uplifting, distracting and entertaining. I hope that some of them give you enjoyment and respite. I am thrilled to share this list on a platform that supports the vital work of independent bookshops.”

From Booker-nominated debut novels to fiercely funny memoirs, and from heart-warming stories turned into much-loved TV series to feminist retellings of traditional fairy tales, Keyes’ curated list aims to inspire, engage and entertain. And it serves as an antidote to the difficult times we’re living in…

24 most comforting books to read in lockdown

  • The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson (Pan MacMillan)
  • Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (PRH)
  • I Never Said I Loved You by Rhik Samadder (Hachette)
The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson
The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson.
  • Gravity is the Thing by Jacqueline Moriarty (Atlantic)
  • Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny (Harper Collins)
  • Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe (PRH)
  • Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Ranjeev Balasubramanyam (PRH)
  • Writers and Lovers by Lily King (Pan MacMillan)
  • The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill (Scholastic)
My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  • The Loveliest Chocolate Shop In Paris by Jenny Colgan (Little, Brown)
  • Cold Comfort Farm By Stella Gibbons (PRH)
  • Filter This by Sophie White (Hachette)
  • The Diary Of A Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield (PRH)
  • My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Atlantic)
  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abi Waxman (Hachette)
The Switch by Beth O’Leary.
The Switch by Beth O’Leary.
  • If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane (Harper Collins)
  • Odd One Out by Lissa Evans (Simon & Schuster)
  • Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Bloomsbury)
  • The Switch by Beth O’Leary (Hachette)
  • The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard (Pan MacMillan)
  • Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce (Pan MacMillan)
  • Brother of The More Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido (Bloomsbury)
  • The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson (PanMacMillan)
  • Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (Harper Collins)

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If you fancy taking Keyes’ advice and delving into one of these books, you can help support indie book stores by ordering them through Then all that’s left to do is sit back in the sofa or the bath, sip on a hot chocolate of glass of wine, then get lost in another world.

Read Keyes’ full list on

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Top image: Getty

Book images: supplied by various publishers


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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…