Best Yorkshire books to read during isolation

26 May 2020

Yorkshire books to read during isolation


With the lockdown and social distancing measures still in place across the UK, we have had a lot more spare time on our hands than normal.

Some people have opted to binge-watch television series, but if you’ve had enough of watching TV and have wanted to get into reading, then now is the perfect opportunity.

This is something Newby and Scalby Library recommends: “Reading in lockdown must be the salvation of sanity! Whether e-book, audiobook or hard copy, there is no substitute for the way in which books can transport you elsewhere, introduce you to other lives and other ways of living. Whether you want something to make you laugh, make you cry, drive you mad with suspense or fill you with horrid fascination, there will be a book out there for you. This capacity to relieve the mind from the immediate present is the magic of reading and must rank as a key way to release stress of any kind.”

You can binge-read a variety of books and here is a guide to the best books that you can read during isolation. These are either set in Yorkshire or are about the county and they will no doubt inspire you to plan your next holiday there.







Arguably the most classic Yorkshire novel is Dracula, which was written in 1897. Since its publication, the book has inspired a plethora of films and other books.

Author Bram Stoker was inspired after he spent some time in Whitby and he used the stunning Whitby Abbey and the surrounding area as the setting for this now iconic book. If you are planning a Yorkshire holiday and are a fan of this book, then from our Robin Hoods Bay accommodation you can easily travel to Whitby and the Gothic Whitby Abbey which feature throughout the novel.

Literature loving Amanda Dales, the writer behind the Rhyme and Ribbons blog, told us one of her favourite books is Dracula.

“Yorkshire is such a beautiful, sweeping, atmospheric place so it’s the perfect setting for a novel. One of my favourite novels of all time is Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. Whilst not all of it is set in Yorkshire, a very important chunk of the novel occurs in Whitby.

“In this time of lockdown, reading is important because it carries us to world’s outside of our own homes.”







Elmet is a book that was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2017 and it has become a modern classic.

The book is steeped in the literature and legend of the Yorkshire landscape and its medieval history. It follows the story of Daniel and his sister Cathy who are living in a house they and their dad John built near the East Coast rail line.

The novel is a compelling depiction of a family living on the fringes of contemporary society and is a gripping exploration of the disturbing actions people are capable of when pushed to their limits.




Yorkshire geology book


The author has produced an entertaining book that introduces readers to the birth of a new science: Geology.

This non-fiction book has a chapter connected to particular corners of north-east England and they each explore the uncertain line where myth is dissolved into science, and belief gives way to knowledge.

There are stories such as how the fall of Constantinople converted the common rock of the Yorkshire cliffs into a source of extraordinary wealth and power and lots more.

Newby and Scalby Library told us why it needs to be added to your list of books to read during isolation: “I would also recommend a non-fiction book The Floating Egg: Episodes in the making of Geology by Roger Osborne. This is ideal for anyone staying at Raven Hall as so much is based in the area. Who would have thought that the whole history of geology as a science was born between Whitby and Scarborough! It sounds dry but it’s full of interesting anecdotes and fascinating explanations written in a very compelling way.”

You can see this book and others on the NYCC digital Overdrive.







This story begins near Whitby as the famous detective Jackson Brodie has relocated to the pretty seaside village with his teenage son Nathan and ageing Labrador Dido.

Although the book is based in a picturesque setting, there is something dark lurking underneath as a job to gather proof of an unfaithful husband for his wife opens up a sinister network. If you have read previous Jackson Brodie novels then you also get introduced to someone from his past.

The number one Sunday Times bestseller by author Kate Atkinson, who also hails from York, is regarded as a great crime novel that is both funny and sad at the same time.







Although not based in Yorkshire, The Woman in Black is written by Scarborough-born Susan Hill.

Her novel tells the story of Mrs Alice Drablow who dies. Hardly anyone is at the funeral as no blood relatives attend and only undertakers, a local official and a solicitor called Arthur Kipps are there.

The solicitor is looking for her will and he has to spend the night in Eel Marsh House, which is where Mrs Alice Drablow died on her own, as a high tide pens him in. Whilst expecting a boring night in the house that will consist of sorting out paperwork, it soon turns into something else entirely.

This book was made into a film in 1989 and again in 2012 with the most recent version featuring stars such as Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer, Sophie Stuckey, and Liz White.


The Newby and Scalby Library also recommends you read the following books in isolation and they told us its affiliation with Yorkshire:

  • Blackberry Wine – it has two timelines and one is set in Yorkshire and the author Joanne Harris lives near Huddersfield.
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Author Anne Bronte is buried in Scarborough.
  • The Sea Lady – Some scenes are set in Filey and Scarborough. The author Margaret Drabble was also born in Sheffield.
  • God’s Own Country by Ross Raisin
  • Last Train to Scarborough by Andrew Martin
  • Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody
  • A DCI Banks novel by Peter Robinson

Featured above is a list of compelling books that you could read during the isolation and if you want to see where famous authors such as Susan Hill grew up or want to explore the picturesque settings that were the basis of iconic books, then you should look to plan a trip to Yorkshire and stay at our Scarborough hotel.

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