Book List

All the books I've read and a little about them. I love looking at other peoples reading lists for inspiration so here's mine starting from the most recent. I'm also on GoodReads where you can find me as 'Chippy' i think.


Right I failed on the 50 books last year. It's all Jack's fault. Aiming for 50 this year. I've given up on 2 already but I've included them... because I got half way and you may tell me that they were just about to get great.

  • Thin Air by Michelle Paver - unexpectedly genuinely terrifying and unsettling. When I finished it I had to go to sleep holding on to my husbands arm. 
  • Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie - definitely in my top 3 Agatha Christie's. So cleverly done and well paced. 
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie - another favourite, I love the setting and the typical Christie touches in it. 
  • The Kitchens Gods Wife by Amy Tan - a reread as I love Amy Tan and I was suddenly desperate to read it. Such an evocative book which is why I keep going back. 
  • Vintage Murder by Ngaio Marsh - one of the books I couldn't finish. I love Ngaio Marsh usually. Just could not get into this one and feel that life is to short to slavishly read to the end as I used to. 
  • The Russian Debutante's Handbook by Gary Shteyngart - another that I didn't finish when I realised that I didn't care about any of the characters and found it fairly all over the place. 
  • Behind The Scenes At The Museum by Kate Atkinson - yet another reread although I originally read this when it was first published in paperback so it had been a while. Completely different to how I remembered it but so well written, hard to believe its a debut novel and incredibly moving too.


Secretly and quietly aiming for around 50 books this year and off to a reasonably good start.


I really will be better this year. And in fact I'm thinking of starting a sort of reading group on my YouTube channel so if I ever do I will post a link to it here. Continuing my Agatha Christie marathon but also trying to get some classics in and some of the books that have been on my shelves for so long that I haven't managed to get through. We are moving in March and the boxes of books that we will have to sort through is possibly record breaking.
  • Spectacles - Sue Perkins - I have never laughed out loud at a book (my husband does frequently and can vouch for how annoying I find it) but this made me laugh so much I also couldn't read it at bed time as it made me so unsleepy. If you like Sue Perkins then this is a genuine and hilarious account of her life. The further reading suggestions still makes me weep just thinking about it. 
  • Murder on the Orient Express (Poirot) - Agatha Chrisite - probably her most famous work and it is lovely to read though it's definitely not in my top 5. 
  • Happy Accidents - Tiffany Murray - We are moving and part of my mental process is to read a book that has been on my shelf for years that I have just never got round to. This is one of them  
  • Why Didn't They Ask Evans - Agatha Christie - although this isn't one of my favourites I can still remember that amazing feeling when I first read it and all is revealed at the end. So clever.
  • Not that Kind of Girl - Lena Durnham - I wasn't expecting to like this but I kept being told to read it. So I did and I couldn't put it down.
  • Three Act Tragedy - Agatha Christie -
  • Death in the Clouds - Agatha Christie - a classic Christie method of putting all possible suspects in a confined area, this time a plane.
  • Cakes And Ale - Somerset Maugham - feel like maybe I missed something as I really didn't love this book.
  • The ABC Murders - Agatha Christie - one of her most famous and one of my least favourite
  • Extra Virgin: Amongst the Olive Groves of Liguria - why did they give this clever, witty, charming book such a terrible name. I loved this and was sad when it was over.
  • Murder in Mesapotamia - Agatha Christie - another one that has me doubting myself even though I know who did it.
  • Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life - Nina Stibbe - I was put off this by the three episodes of the TV adaptation I watched but this book is great. Very funny.
  • Cards on the Table - Agatha Christie - even though I always think I have this one worked out I still find myself doubting whether I know who did it.
  • Dumb Witness - Agatha Christie - One of my favourites maybe not one of her most popular though but there's not really another crime book like it.
  • Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Marriages in Literary London 1910 -1939 - Katie Roiphe - such an interesting, thought provoking look at seven marriages. 
  • Death on the Nile - Agatha Christie - One of the most famous Christie's and for me definitely one of the most atmospheric. And a bit heartbreaking.
  • The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother And Me - loved this book. Great insight into one of the most intriguing of England's eccentrics. 
  • Mount! - Jilly Cooper - some may say that this is tripe, and well, it is trash but it's Jilly Cooper. You either love her or you don't. If you don't, don't bother reading this. 
  • Appointment with Death - Agatha Christie - not one of my favourites but very atmospheric.
  • A Bookseller's War - Heywood and Anne Hill - lovely letters between Heywood and Anne Hill when he is called up and she is left pregnant and in charge of their bookshop, usually his domain.
  • Hercule Poirot's Christmas - Agatha Christie -  this is one of my favourites. A classic closed room case and a typical Christie - the clues are all there but can you solve it?
  • O Beloved Kids: Rudyard Kipling's Letters to His Children - Rudyard Kipling - letters from Kipling to his children, mostly his son who died in the first world war. Very nice though quite easy to skip some bits.
  • Murder Is Easy - Agatha Christie - again not one of my favourites but you won't guess who the murderer is and there's a nice love story in the middle.

Well the vow to do better didn't go well. And then 2015 slipped by and I forgot to write down any of the books I read at all but I can remember so which I've mentioned below and I undertook to re-read every Agatha Christie novels in order because, after years of languishing on my wishlist I finally bought Agatha Christie: A Reader's Companion and The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie so I can read the background to every book before I read it. This may seem excessive but I love Christie and all her books and I was pregnant for a lot of 2015, well nearly 6 months and babies make my brain need comfort and familiarity. I will no doubt tackle her short stories when I've finished with these.

I really read quite a lot in 2014 but what with Ned and reading and cooking and all the other things there wasn't a lot of time to write about what I was reading but I vow to be better this year...

There has been a total reading blip - I could only manage Good Housekeeping and Vogue for the first three months so bear with me while my reading starts at a really basic level.
  • Smokin' Seventeen - Janet Evanovich. Seemed a reasonable choice to get me back into reading. Enjoyable purely because I haven't read any of the previous 16 titles in the series for sometime.
  • Explosive Eighteen - Janet Evanovich. I've now decided that 18 books in a series may be pushing the boundaries of interesting. 
  • Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quicke. Recommended as 'quite good' by a friend. The film came out when I'd just had Ned and I'm a total sucker for Bradley Cooper. I couldn't go and see it obviously but it looked good in the trailer. It is 'quite good' to read but hard to imagine the main character being as hot as Bradley Cooper... 
  • Village School (Fairacre 1) - Miss Read - inspired by my boss Scott (Me and My Big Mouth) I decided to start at the beginning of this classic series. Comforting and witty I'm loving it. 
  •  The Complete James Herriot - James Herriott - I actually started reading this just before Christmas as it's a real soother and just what you need at this time of year. 
  • Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum 16) - Janet Evanovich - I love these books featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. Trashy and real chicken soup for the brain. 
  • The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas -I'd been avoiding this book because I thought it would be annoying and depressing. Actually very compelling if not fantastically well written. 
  • Rules of Civility - Amor Towles - I bought this in the airport because I can't resist airport bookshops. I was blown away - kept me captivated for the whole two flights to Durban.
  • Coco Chanel: A Biography (Bloomsbury Lives of Women) - Axel Madsen - Another airport buy. Not particularly well written, or edited, but tells you what you need to know.
  • The Mysterious Mr Quin (Agatha Christie Signature Edition) - Agatha Christie - even though I've nearly read them all (I think) I feel a little sad going on holiday without a Christie so I was pleased to find this in the airport bookshop. Really not very taxing on the brain but fun nonetheless. 
  • The Sun King (Vintage Classics) - Nancy Mitford. Gossipy and entertaining short biography of the infamous Louis XIV. 
  • The Little Friend - Donna Tartt. I was addicted to this. I couldn't put it down or understand why everyone preferred The Secret History . Then I got to the incredibly satifsying ending... 
  • Riders - Jilly Cooper. I've succomed to pregnancy brain and all I want to do is sit around all day reading Jilly Cooper and crying... so I am. I'm reading them all in order. Riders is the first in the Rutshire series and one of the best.
  • Rivals - Jilly Cooper. Possibly my favourite... I don't know. I don't like to choose really but it's a strong contender.
  • Polo - Jilly Coooper. Another possible favourite as this is the first one I ever read so is incredibly nostalgic. Again very horsey but in a good way...
  • Titanic Lives: Migrants and Millionaires, Conmen and Crew - Richard Davenport-Hines - an insight into the actual people involved in the Titanic rather than a morbid look into what happened. You read about the shipowners, shipbuilders, passengers and crew. 
  • The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous - Jilly Cooper - another contender for my favourite Jilly Cooper. A must read for those who are worried the other titles in the series are a bit too horsey.
  • Notes from Walnut Tree Farm - Roger Deakin - a lovely collection of diary entries and musings from the notebooks filled out during the last six years of his life. Beautiful and thought provoking and incredibly inspiring.
  • Appassionata - Jilly Cooper - continuing my reading of the entire Rutshire series. I hate this one the first time I tried to read it. Finally re-read it a couple of years ago and liked it much more, shame the lead character is so annoying but still a great read.  
  • Crime on Her Mind: Fifteen Stories of Female Sleuths from the Victorian Era to the Forties - Michele Slung - 15 stories about female detectives ranging from the Victorian era to the 1940s. A must for anyone who is interested in crime.  
  • The Rector's Wife - Joanna Trollope - I've never read any Joanna Trollope before. My mother-in-law loved her and her cottage in Norfolk is full of them and when I mentioned to my mother that I was thinking of reading one she said she loved them too. I liked this much more than I thought I would - an incredibly easy read with a great twist. Will be reading more.
  • Almost French: A New Life in Paris - Sarah Turnbull - Such a great book because it is not all 'i fell in love with a frenchman and here's the story of our relationship in Paris'. It's about living in Paris, written with a journalists eye with fantastic insights - my mother and I keep reminding ourselves to 'think of the baker' when we go out.
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce. Almost too flimsy for me but very sweet.
  • Head Over Heel: Seduced by Southern Italy - Chris Harrison. I didn't love the author of this but I liked the story and it made me desperate to return to Italy.
  • Monday to Friday Man- Alice Peterson. I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. I'm really not into chick-lit but this was great!
  • And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie Collection) - Agatha Christie. A classic. I can't remember how many times I've read this but it is still completely compelling and so clever.
  •  Death of a Gossip (Hamish Macbeth) - M.C. Beaton. I have read quite a few of the Agatha Raisin series and got my mother onto them as good brain trash after my father died but both of us stopped on about book 7 because they were just too will-they-won't-they. I was looking forward to the Hamish Macbeth series as similar brain trash but it was soooooo poor I'm not even going to bother with book 2.
  •  City of Sin - Catharine Arnold. Slightly surprised when I started reading this book as I thought it was a historical account of all the vice in London but it is allllll about sex which is quite full on so I've been reading it a couple of chapters at a time. Very interesing, could do with an edit.
  • Jump! - Jilly Cooper. Her most recent and therefore the one I've read least. I took this on holiday to read when lying on my lilo in the pool so I wouldn't get my beloved kindle wet. OK so you know what's going to happen and it's no Rivals or Riders but I still love it... it's Jilly! 
  •  In One Person - John Irving. I still don't know what I think about this book. On the one hand it was lovely to read John Irving again who's writing and style I love but on the other hand it all seemed a bit forced, not the writing but the story. I was aware that I made an effort to finish it and yet it was easy to read... this isn't a very helpful review is it.
  • Nicholas Nickleby (Vintage Classics)- Charles Dickens - nice story, very wordy but worth a read
  • If Only They Could Talk- James Herriot -I love everything by James Herriot. This is his first one.
  • Pandora - Jilly Cooper -I really disliked this the first time I read it but LOVED it this time. Very sad when I finished it.
  • The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime - Judith Flanders - great if you are a fan of true crime but could be better I think.
  • A Widow For One Year - John Irving - a real must is you are a John Irving fan. Or even just a fan of really good fiction. I loved this book.
  • 84 Charing Cross Road- Helene Hanff - an oldy but such a charming goody. I hadn't read this for over 10 years and it's just as good as I remember it. Should include the next book if you buy a recent edition.
  • The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street - Helene Hanff - the follow-up to 84 Charing Cross Road - I only discovered it because it was included in my edition. Just as readable and charming.
  • And Take the Ape for Councillor - Christina Hobhouse - written by my mother-in-law.
  • The Life of Noel Coward- Cole Lesley - written by his secretary this is a fantastic insight not only into the man but also the times that he lived in.
  • Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum 15) - Janet Evanovich - Number 15 in the Stephanie Plum series. The chaotic, ass-kicking Jersey bounty hunter returns. Brain trash, but good brain trash.
  • Room - Emma Donoghue - I borrowed this from my mum when we were on holiday as she could not put it down. Then I could not put it down and I was very much expecting to not write it. Compelling and clever.
  • To Kill A Mockingbird (Vintage Classics)- Harper Lee - haven't read this since I was a teenager and whisked through it in a matter of hours. It is every bit as fantastic and I remember it - a truly wonderful book. If you haven't read it you must. I love it so much I want to read the study guide.
  • Jump! - Jilly Cooper - I waited and waited for the paperback and then I waited and waited for a holiday and finally it came and I could sit and read this and ignore everyone. OK so it's not Polo or Riders but it's Jilly and it's great. 
  • Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making (Inclusive 2 Unpublished Poirot Stories) - John Curran - a fantastic book for Christie fans. Is quite long though so maybe more something to dip in and out of. Made me want to read all of them all over again.
  • The Help - Kathryn Stockett - definitely my favourite read of the year so far. Believe the hype - an excellent book. 
  • One on One - Craig Brown - a fantastic book. A fascinating, quirky and easy read. 
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