Book me

I’m looking for reading material folks. I spent my early teens reading Sweet Valley High and Jackie Collins, my late teens getting angry about the world reading Heroes and And the Band Played On and my twenties reading non fiction and ever more gruesome crime thrillers. I’ve stopped the crime books for the most part. I still have a soft spot for Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar novels, even if they have latterly succumbed to his obsession with a ludicrous twist. I adored Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole books which peaked magnificently with LA Requiem and have been slipping ever since.

In my thirties I’ve been trying to read more widely. I went back to crime for Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, though I did skim the more gruesome, disturbing bits (of which there were many). I find from looking at my shelves though that I still mostly read books by men about men. I did read The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and I loved it. I wonder whether there are women writers out there in the Nick Hornby mould writing about ordinary women. I can’t abide chicklit. The first chapter of Bridget Jones made me want to scream, and Sex and the City meant nothing to me. Don’t get me started on the yummy/slummy/scummy mummy novels.

Props to Leelee for the Pippa Lee tip, and Drama has promised me a Kate Atkinson. So, chums, any other pointers? I promise to report back on anything that takes my fancy.


10/01/2010. Uncategorized.


  1. John Self replied:

    Woah: a female Tony Parsons? Surely that would be the worst sort of shitchicklit imaginable?

    I could recommend lots of female writers – Patricia Highsmith, Andrea Levy, Jill Dawson (who I interviewed on my blog!), Penelope Fitzgerald, Jeanette Winterson, etc – but I’m not sure they’re what you’re after.

  2. bethheartscake replied:

    fair point re TP. I suppose I just mean books about ordinary women that aren’t, I don’t know, fluffy, or screechy, or yummy or wanky.

    I saw some Highsmith in No Alibis and have meant to get the first Ripley book. will take a looksee at the others, ta.

  3. Lee replied:

    Nick Hornby is a huge fan of Anne Tyler so you might like her stuff. I read one and found it a bit lacking in hope but have no idea if that is a theme or it is more a reflection of my state of mind when I read it.

    And I fucking hate tony parsons.

  4. Debbie replied:

    I second Anne Tyler. Her writing’s beautifully observed. Can help you out if you want to read her books – have many of them here. You’d be very welcome to borrow.

    Tony Parsons? WTF? Granted, he’s not a woman but he’s definitely screechy, and vey vey wanky.

  5. DaDDy replied:

    Annie Proulx? Ursula Le Guin? Doris Lessing? For me the greatest woman writer was George Elliot – Middlemarch!

    • bethheartscake replied:

      **whispers **
      Daddy, George Elliot is a MAN! Duh.
      Thanks anyway x

  6. bethheartscake replied:

    Deberino, yes please, I’ll email you.

  7. DaDDy replied:

    And Alexander was a dumb ass

    • bethheartscake replied:

      That has taken me a whole day to get. Well played.

  8. siobhan replied:

    ooo having read this you should totally try 1,000 acres by Jane Smiley – BRILLIANT, the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, The Tenderness of Wolves by Steff Penney, and The View from Castle Rosk By Ann Munro. Funnily enough i mainly read books by men about men too, probably due to my penchant for American crime fiction (James Lee Burke, etc) but Patricia Highsmith is brilliant and have you read the Garnethill trilogy by Denise Mina? Super brilliant. x

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