books I want

Buy Me a Book for Christmas: 2022 edition

Hi mum! I know you’re reading this. And that’s the very reason I’ve posted this in November – so you have *plenty* of time to chose what you’d like to get me. You’re welcome and also thank you. Anyway, this is the gift guide for what I’d like to find under the tree – so if you know a reader who likes my sort of books, hopfeully this will help you with them too. It’s a little bit longer on the nonfiction options – but that’s because the fiction side of things tends to go on offer more than the other – or at least in the bits of history and similar that I read!

Non fiction

I’ve written about novels set around Truman Capote a few times and there are a couple of non fiction books about his set that I have my eye on – Capote’s Women by Laurence Leamer about Capote and his Swans or Deliberate Cruelty by Roseanne Montillo about the Capote’s inclusion of Anne Woodward’s marriage to Billy Woodward – and his death when she accidentally shot him – in his fiction.

I also have a regular thing for Hollywood History and Shawn Levy (who wrote Castle on Sunset that I read last year) has a new book out – In On The Joke, about the early female pioneers in standup comedy. In non Hollywood history, there is Noble Ambitions by Adrian Tinniswood, about British country houses after the Second World War. And I keep thinking about buying Nazi Billionaires by David de Jong – which I think might fit into my historical interests, but also could be way too dark.

I do love a non fiction book about something you’ve never really considered before and The Address book by Deirdre Mask – about what you can learn from street addresses and how street names came about really interested me when I saw it recommended a few weeks back. Also in this niche would be Butts – A Backstory by Heather Radke.

I have a lot of cookery books already, but one of my favourite of the lesser spotted TV chefs has his first cookbook out this year: I’ve loved Jeremy Lee since I first saw him on the Great British Menu in one of the very early – if not the first – series. I’ve had a peek at the book in several bookshops and it looks like a delight to read.

I’ve already treated myself to one of the celebrity books I was looking forward to this autumn when I bought the Richard E Grant, but the other one is the Alan Rickman Diaries – even if I’m very conflicted about whether he would have wanted them published.


I rarely buy myself hardback fiction, but for the Christmas list, here are a few I wouldn’t mind not having to wait for the paperback of: Vacationland by Meg Mitchell More – about a summer at a family’s summer home in Maine which I’m hoping will scratch my Rich People Problems itch. Or maybe Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder about a woman running for senate but struggling with her grown up children.

I’ve read a lot of Lauren Willig and Beatriz Williams solo novels – but not as many of their collaborations along with Karen White. But the Lost Summers of Newport – a time slip novel about a historic house on Rhode Island – sounds right up my street. There is also a Williams novels I wouldn’t mind finding in my stocking like The Golden Hour – about a woman who gets sucked into the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s circle in Nassau – as well as Willig’s Band of Sisters.

I wrote a whole post about Adventure Capers recently, so a historical heist novel is right up my street – so how about The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope, which is set in a magical version of 1925 Washington DC where the heroine needs to steal a magical ring from a powerful woman to escape a curse. I’ve also been eyeing up Kosoko Jackson’s I’m So (Not) Over You – a second chance fake relationship romance that I keep seeing every time I go into Charing Cross Road Foyles. And of course I still haven’t read TJ Klune’s Under The Whispering Door or

Lastly, a couple of wildcards. As this mentions grief in some of the blurbs, it may turn it to be too much for me, but On The Rooftop by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton also jumped out at me when i saw it reviewed the other weeks. It’s about three women who form a girl group and their careers. Also in the night turn out to be too miserable but I’m very tempted list is The Circus Train by Amita Parikh, which is set in 1938 and follows a circus that travels around Europe by train.

Amusingly, this post took me a lot longer to write than I intended as several of the books that I was going to mention were on offer on Kindle while I was putting this together, so I just bought them! And mum – if you’re still reading pick something you would like to borrow after I’ve read it, and let me know if you want any of these for your Christmas book!

books I want

Recommend Me: Halloween books

Thank you for all your Italian-set recommendations – I’ve got a list going and I’m planning a buying spree. But before I do, I’m in the mood for some Halloween-y reads – so hit me up with stuff you think I’d like – not horror, because I really don’t do horror, but stuff with vampires or ghosts or similar that you think might fit my reading tastes!

Thank you!

books I want

Recommend Me: Italian set books

After a week wandering the streets of Sicily, I’ve got a hankering for books set in Italy. I was going to say Sicily, but I’m worried all you’ll give me are Mafia books – and I don’t read those – but if you do know some stuff in my areas of interest that’s set in Italy, bung it in the comments. Thanking you!

books I want

Christmas recommendations wanted!

A lot of the advance copies I have waiting for me on the kindle now are Christmas books. As ever I’m planning on getting the Christmas reading suggestion post done early this year. And also as ever I suspect it will never happen. But what I do want are your recommendations for your favourite Christmas-set books. Not new ones, the old favourites you return to year on year. Please and thank you!

books I want

Recommendations wanted: not quite My Fair Lady

The second show I saw last week was the revival of My Fair Lady at the Coliseum. As ever I loved the music – which sounds amazing with the ENO orchestra – but really wished that Henry Higgins wasn’t such an dreadful misogynist and that Eliza had some better options for a happy ending. And as I walked home I realised that what I wanted to read next was something with a hero who teaches the heroine some sort of skill – but who isn’t actually awful – maybe a bit prickly or guarded but actually a big old softie on the inside. But I’ve been having trouble finding anything – so if you have a recommendation for anything like this, please put it in the comments!

books I want

Recommendations wanted: Audiobooks

Him Indoors and I like to listen to audiobooks together and I’m after some recommendations please. In the past it was mostly non fiction – we’ve done Simon Schama, Greg Jenner, the Time Travellers Guide series and Mary Beard – with a side of Norse Mythology, Sherlock Holmes, PG Wodehouse and Raffles. Early in the pandemic we started Amelia Peabody – but we’re nearing the end of our third go through them and I think we might need something different next. Please give me your recommendations – you already know what I like but his reading is mostly non fiction or adventure-y mystery things. He’s done about half the Steph Plum series on various holidays but I’ve struggled to find another series that he likes as much as the Amelia audiobooks – I’ve tried Phryne Fisher, various classic mystery series, the Parasol Protectorate and Rivers of London. It also needs to be not to violent – because we all know I can’t cope with that, especially if there’s a chance I might fall asleep listening. The audiobook of the Simon Sebag Montfiore’s Romanovs gave me nightmares when I tried that at the hostel in the pre-pandemic times! Help me please – suggestions in the comments.

(The picture is a screenshot of part of my audible history with some stuff we tried and liked (and didn’t like) back in the pre-Amelia era!)

books I want

On My Wishlist: Books with Motorsports settings

As I mentioned at the weekend, we’ve been watching Drive to Survive here and it has awoken in me a desire to read some more books set in the motorsport world – but NOT biographies – I’ve got plenty of those – but fiction whether it’s romance or something more women’s fiction or saga-y.

I think I’ve only ever read one romance with a motorsport setting – Erin McCarthy’s Flat Out Sexy – which iirc is a Nascar-type set up, although it may be Indy Cars , it’s definitely in the US racing scene though – which features a driver’s widow falling in love with a hot shot rookie and having to work out if she (and her kids) can cope with being a part of the racing scene again. On the Mystery-thriller-romance front, one of the earlier Other Janet Evanovich series featured a Nascar driver – but i’ve read both of them and i didn’t love them.

So if anyone knows of any books set in a travelling motorsport series – glamourous settings, a bit of a closed group (both with the team and then the paddock as a whole), I am absolutely here for that. Bonus points if the heroine is the racing driver or part of the team rather than being a a rich airhead…