What to read to make lockdown-lite bearable
On March 26, 2021

Bored, frustrated, anxious during the latest confinement? Paul Grech, as you’ll know by now, is a firm believer in the power of reading to elevate and relax. And we’re with him on that. Here’s his suggestions for whiling away lockdown-lite.

Here we are, stuck inside once again. Which, I have to admit, is doing wonders for my reading (20 books so far this year!). Indeed, bar a nice walk in the countryside I can’t think of anything better to do than grab a good book to read. I’m guessing that there are many others who feel the same but it could also be that some are a bit stuck on what to read. So for anyone who feels that way (and because it’s fun) here’s a list of some books that I’ve loved and am confident that you would as well.


Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerka by Juann Mamo

I firmly believe that this is a book that everyone should read at least once in their life. A classic of Maltese literature, but also a towering sociological analysis of the Maltese at the start of the 20th century. Masterful.


No Picnic on Mount Kenya by Felice Benuzzi

A wonderful tale of human perseverance and innovation, this is the autobiographical story of how Benuzzi found himself in a prisoner of war camp in Kenya during the Second World War, the monotony of daily life there and how the idea of escaping to scale to the top of Mount Kenya introduced some new excitement in his life.

bejn baħar u baħar by Elizabeth Grech

Poetry is not everyone’s cup of tea. Indeed, it often is not mine. But Elizabeth Grech is different. Her writing can unleash powerful emotions and yet is accessible enough for anyone to appreciate. Just try it out.


Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

There are so many layers to this anti-war novel that it can be re-read multiple times without ever becoming uninspiring. It features one of the unlikeliest heroes in Billy Pilgrim, an unremarkable man who is living what seems an unremarkable life. And yet he is also someone of remarkable wisdom. So it goes.


Sempreviva by Trevor Żahra

COVID has heightened a lot of people’s anxiety levels and not everyone has the peace of mind to read a whole book. That’s why Trevor Żahra’s collection of short stories is ideal. Each one is a relatively quick read, not to mention an exercise in the author’s ingenuity and creativity to come up with so many stories held together by the common thread of flowers.

The Inspector Montalbano Series by Andrea Camilleri

The television series has elevated Camilleri’s inspector to all new levels of popularity but, obviously, there’s nothing like reading the books that first brought the legend to life. I keep getting told that to truly appreciate this series I should read it in Italian. Perhaps during this lockdown I will finally get to do that.


It goes without saying but, just in case: this list is based entirely on my own tastes and is by no means a definitive one. If there are any books that you’d like to recommend, I’m always looking or new additions so please, do go ahead and let me know.


Page photo by Kowit Phothisan on Unsplash

Paul Grech is an avid reader particularly of sports, sci-fi, fantasy and non-fiction books. He is also a writer as well as the publisher of Paġna Mmarkata, a magazine (that is also a bookmark) of original Maltese writing.

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