By Iolee Anagnostopoulou

Ever since I was little, I have loved spending gloomy winter days and frosty nights, snuggled under my favourite fluffy blanket, drinking hot cocoa and reading a fascinating book by the fireplace. The howling wind and the rain tapping on the windows in the background only encouraged me more to get carried away in my book’s world.

Unfortunately, it’s been a long time since I last dived into a book that way. Somewhere between college studies and endless business-related reading, my brain lost the capacity to get engrossed in heavy literature for fun. And taking turns between infinite online work and Zoom meetings, my eyes could definitely use a break from on-screen entertainment-which rules out watching yet another Netflix series. 

That’s why chick-lit books are a great, light-hearted way to disconnect from social media and the world around you. Life these days has become so challenging, so a book’s ability to merely take my mind off things gets it a good rating from me. Sure, Erich Maria Remarque and Virginia Wolf are exceptional authors, but sometimes all you need is a light-read to make you laugh and help you escape your demanding routine.

Here are a few picks that will keep you company and give you a good dose of womanhood during your ‘me time’:

Bridget Jones’s Diary By Helen Fielding

Written in 1996, Bridget Jones’s Diary is considered an all-time chick-lit classic and has been credited as the ‘ur-text’ of the genre. We’ve all watched the movie, but don’t let that stop you from reading this absolute gem! 

Bathed in sarcasm, the book is relatable to every woman who has gone through a fruitless quest for self-improvement, weight-loss, a functional relationship and finding inner balance. A love triangle, a great group of besties, hilarious lines and a great deal of optimism will have you thinking ‘Bridget Jones is so me!’. 

Beautiful Ruins By Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins is a dazzling story of imperfect, yet captivating characters, whose lives get entangled over their implausible dreams. Beginning in the sun-kissed Italian coast, the novel spans over fifty years and two continents, offering parallel stories with surprising plot-twists. 

It features an Italian inn-keeper seeking his long-lost love, the Hollywood producer who paired them up (while dealing with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’s rocky love affair on the set of Cleopatra), his visionary assistant and a failed scriptwriter who conveniently speaks Italian. The book loosely touches the big subjects of love, war, duty and redemption while navigating the reader between Burton’s jaunty lines and a profoundly human reality that will draw you in straight away. 

The Blue Bistro By Elin Hilderbrand

The Blue Bistro is something between Sex and the City and Hell’s Kitchen, set on the posh island of Nantucket. The main character, Adrienne, has a long history of hopping from one hotel resort job to another and flees Aspen after her ex-boyfriend leaves her broke. Desperate for quick cash, she lands the hostess position at Nantucket’s hottest restaurant during its final summer season. She shares an instant attraction with the restaurant’s owner, Thatcher Smith, whose intricate connection with Fiona, the bistro’s chef, is a constant source of mystery and doubt to her. 

Filled with distinctive Nantucket scenery and peeks behind the scenes of running a restaurant, the novel can be an enjoyable beach read or transport you to one! 

I’ve Got Your Number By Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella is considered the queen of chick-lit and if you haven’t read any of her books yet, deem it an oversight and remedy it! Just like the rest of her work, I’ve Got Your Number is a hilarious, enjoyable and interesting romance that will have you on the edge of your seat to the last chapter. 

It all starts with the main character, Poppy, losing her engagement ring—a priceless family heirloom—during a hotel fire drill and having her phone stolen shortly after. In her panic and despair, she snatches an abandoned phone thrown in the lobby’s bin and leaves that number for the hotel to call her when the ring is found. However, the phone’s rightful owner, businessman Sam Roxton, is less than happy about Poppy going through his private messages, so she strikes back with a deal. 

An unpredictable turn of events finds both characters confiding in each other and forming a valuable connection before the finale’s wedding fiasco. Witty and engaging, this novel will hook you up with buckets of laughter and romance.

Ladies, winter is the time for home. Lower temperatures, 50 shades of grey skies and pouring rain naturally drive you indoors seeking cosiness, comfort food and close connections. It’s a time for reflection, deep conversations on the comfortable couch and most of all, stories.

I hope you found something to help you escape reality for a bit. Enjoy your chick-lit choice and have a cosy winter light-reading season!