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14 March 2024

The Reading Doctor: Easy Reads

Dear Reading Doctor: I’m looking for easy, light, quick reads, as I have a lot on at work and don't have much time, but really want to get into reading again this year.

These recently published books are undemanding reads with likeable characters and plots which keep the pages turning.

· Chemist Elizabeth Zott is smart and quirky and up against the sexism of the 1960s in Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus; forced to resign from her research position, she finds herself fronting a television cooking show and leading an unexpected revolution among a legion of overlooked housewives.

· Irish writer Marian Keyes is reliably relatable, funny and warm, with a talent for writing great female friendships; her new book, due to be published in April, is My Favourite Mistake, in which Anna ditches her perfect life in PR in New York to return to an impossible job in Ireland, selling a high-end resort to a resistant local community.

· A couple share a night together before going their separate ways in One Day by David Nicholls, a novel which revisits them on that day each year over the next two decades, through the advent of adulthood, relationships and break-ups, career highs and lows, and family turmoil, as the relationship waxes and wanes, changes and develops.

· A young girl who has recently lost her mother develops a crush on her charismatic teacher in Pet, by Catherine Chidgey, evocatively set in 1980s New Zealand.

· The latest, very sweet, novel from Patrick deWitt is The Librarianist, about a retired and solitary librarian who begins volunteering at a senior centre, finding a community of strange peers who are more than they seem.

· When Lara’s three daughters converge on their childhood home, they ask her to tell them about a long-ago romance, and what they hear prompts them to think anew and differently about their own lives, in Ann Patchett’s Tom Lake.