My Favourite Books
On the podcast, I'm always asking my guests to share the books that they would recommend with you. This list contains (some of) my favourites - so it's a great place to start if you're looking for a book to read!
Disclaimer: These links are affiliate links which means I'll get a very small commission if you click through and buy (at no extra cost to yourself!). Thanks for helping keep this podcast up and running!
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
A tale of enduring strength, and of the power of female friendship and love. After a lifetime of abuse at the hands of her father, husband and step-children, Celie finds her own spirit with the help of the glamorous Shug Avery. This book has my heart.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
The ultimate love story. Wickedly funny and witty. I always think the thrill will have worn off, but every time Darcy declares his love, I fall even harder.
Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill
In this dystopian YA novel, girls (eves) are bred to be pretty and perfect. The men will decide their fate: companion, concubine or chastity. A modern Handmaid's Tale, this book is proof of why Louise O'Neill is one of the best authors around right now.
You by Caroline Kepnes.
Creepy, sexy thriller from the perspective of a stalker. I wish I could read this one for the first time again, as I absolutely devoured it. Like nothing else I've ever read.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I'm a big fan of Amy Poehler's work in any guise, and this book is no exception. It's smart and funny and joyful and everything I love about the woman herself. It makes me nostalgic for SNL, and I never even worked there...
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
Dolly's memoir of love, friendship and life as a twenty-something Millennial woman had me laughing and sobbing within pages of each other.
Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe
This book is like a warm hug and I come back to it often. Whilst working as a Nanny from the editor of the London Review of Books, Nina wrote letters to her sister about the daily goings on of a slightly eccentric house, with a cast of characters that literature nerds will recognise. Her observations are gentle and funny, and there's a real life happy ending that warm my heart.
How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell
This book, a memoir about a beauty editor who was addicted to drugs during her heady magazine days, shouldn't be as charming as it is, filled as it is with privilege and name-dropping. But Cat Marnell has always been a brilliant writer, and she tows the line perfectly between eliciting pity and taking responsibility. If you were ever an xoJane fan, this is essential reading.
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
I can never resist a retelling, and this one is particularly delicious. Jane Steele is a Jane Eyre-obsessed orphan-turned-feminist-vigilante (she murders people, but only bad men, so it's okay) whose life echoes her heroine when she finds herself as a governess in the home of a mysterious, alluring man with secrets to keep...
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The new Mrs de Winter arrives at her husband's home, Manderley, to find it still haunted (figuratively) by the glamorous ghost of his dead wife. Throw in a creepy housekeeper and you've got the best gothic novel.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
One hot summer's day changes everything for Bryony, Cecilia and Robbie after Bryony commits a crime for which she spends a lifetime trying to atone... One of the most remarkable works of fiction I have ever read. The ending will floor you.
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay is one of the most astounding writers. This memoir of her body, from childhood sexual abuse, to her experiences as an obese black woman in the USA, is heart-wrenching and thought-provoking and just incredible.
The Break by Marian Keyes
Amy's husband Hugh is taking a break for six months to 'find himself'. A lot can happen in six months... with a slightly bonkers family, daughters to care for and a fast-paced job that won't stop for anyone. And if Hugh is on a break, isn't Amy, too? Will they come back together, or does break really mean break-up? Marian Keyes addresses so much of modern womanhood in this book, in her trademark funny, gentle and wonderful way. It's just a gorgeous read.
Rivals by Jilly Cooper
She's a legend for a reason! Jilly Cooper is my problematic fave; if you can get past some of the less PC moments, this is a rip-roaring tale of jealousy, back-stabbing, ambition and juicy relationship gossip. Jilly at her best, if you ask me.
The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
This is Gossip Girl set in the future, where all of New York is contained in one giant tower, and the richest live at the top. Glamorous teenagers embroiled in drama, heartache and crime are the order of. the day, and when one of them falls from the thousandth floor, everyone has something to hide... A total not-guilty pleasure read - and the trilogy is all out now so you can keep going if you're as addicted as me...
The Brothers Sinister by Courtney Milan
This series has everything I love in romance novels. Feisty heroines you fall in love with, and men who love them. Social justice. Super sexy times. And a few twists that literally made me shout with glee.
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
When Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk arrive in the tiny French village of Lansquenet to open a chocolate shop, they are met with mixed reactions from the locals... and outright hostility from the local priest. I just want to sink face first into this book... it's a delicious read.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
There was life before I read this book... and there was life afterwards and I will never be the same. I sobbed a million tears, and I carry these characters in my heart. What seems to be a simple story of four men and their friendship as the grow up in New York hides so much more depth than you can imagine.
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
This is the book that everyone's talking about and I'm no different. Required reading for all white people (despite the title), Reni breaks down the history of racism in the UK and explores how race relations are playing out in modern Britain. It's uncomfortable at times, fascinating always and really just an essential piece of work.
Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti
Jessica Valenti is the woman who introduced me to feminism and I have been a fan ever since. She's no holds barred when it comes to her (justified) feminist rage, and this exploration of the ways that objectification have impacted her life will leave you angry, fired up and ready to make some change.
The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
If you need a kick up the butt, read this book. Shonda Rhimes is a successful TV writer and producer and a loving mother, but when she realised she was unhappy with her situation, she decided to make a change. Rather than defaulting to 'no' she spent a year saying 'yes' to all the opportunities that came her way and it was transformative. She, unsurprisingly, is a witty writer, and you'll leave this book feeling empowered to say yes way more often!