Books to read now by Lockdown Libraries

Clemmie Jackson-Stops is the founder of Vellum, a private library and book consultancy.   After working for over 10 years in the book industry, she fell in love with finding the perfect book to suit the reader and began to build libraries for people.  She now curates, installs and manages libraries in homes, hotels, offices and yachts all over the world. During this COVID-19 crisis, Jackson-Stops has also started Lockdown Libraries where she chooses five books to suit the reading taste of a recipient, all beautifully wrapped and delivered with a handwritten note.  Here she picks out five books for A Little Bird readers – five books designed to make you laugh, to whisk you away to warmer, more social, more interesting places and to keep those brain cells ticking over.

A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson This is the book to read if the walls are beginning to close in on you. Think Greek summer, 1960s, hot days and crystalline waters. Polly Samson is such an atmospheric writer and this book will immerse you in the tangled lives of poets, writers and musicians on the island of Hydra.

A Journey Around My Room by Xavier des Maistres Towards the end of the 18th century, Xavier des Maistres was confined to his room for 42 days as a result of a duel. This book is his witty response to his enforced confinement. It’s funny and profound. A hidden gem that has found its time.

The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy  Just out in paperback, this is the latest from the lauded author of Hot Milk. Booker-nominated, this is a time-hopping, location-jumping, beautifully written tale that will whisk you away from your mundane day-to-day.

Clothes… and other things that matter by Alexandra Shulman For those to whom clothes are a source of happiness this book is possibly the perfect lockdown pick-me-up. It is the chance to meander quietly through the golden years of fashion, accompanied by the one woman who has been there, done that and definitely worn the t-shirt.

Funny Weather by Olivia Laing  Do you feel like your brain is turning to mush? Well, this book is like spending a weekend with your brainiest friend (I wish!) In a series of exceptional essays, Laing makes a brilliant case for why art matters. She profiles Jean-Michael Basquiat and Georgia O’Keefe, interviews Hilary Mantel and Alice Smith and writes a love letter to David Bowie. Her writing is original and compassionate as she argues that art is the antidote we need in a frightening time.

Lockdown Libraries can be ordered online at or by emailing

Lockdown Library
— Francesca
30th April 2020