Bookshelfie: The Three Reads You’ll Never Stop Gifting And Repurchasing According To Viv Groskop

In our new feature in partnership with the Women's Prize for Fiction, journalist, author and comedian, Viv Groskop's explains how her reading habits are as funny - and relatable - as her own writing...

Viv Groskop

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

I am an extremely - extremely - untidy person and a very fast reader. This results in fairly empty, seemingly orderly bookshelves because once I’ve read something, I have to give it away, otherwise I would end up hoarding thousands of books.

The books MUST go because I'm about two hoards away from appearing on that reality TV documentary. My shelves house one of two kind of books: the many that I am expecting to read in the next couple of months, and the few that I re-read constantly, like Please to the Table by Anya von Bremzen, my favourite cookbook.

Off the shelves, or at least on rotation on the shelves, are three of my favourite books by women. I read them, pass them on, end up re-purchasing them only to give them away again- and so the cycle continues. At least i'm keeping their sales up, right?


Viv Groskop Bookshelfie - Grazia (stacked)

Viv Groskop Bookshelfie - Grazia (stacked)1 of 3
CREDIT: Good Reads

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken

This is a memoir that hit me in the gut and has returned to haunt me many times, sometimes because of its immense sadness, sometimes because of its dark hilarity. It's a beautifully written meditation on grief and the death of a child. It has a strange, gorgeous, bleak humour and an extraordinary quantity of hope.

Viv Groskop Bookshelfie - Grazia (stacked)2 of 3
CREDIT: Good Reads

The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer

Although this New York-based novelist is starting to get a lot more attention over here in the UK thanks to the success of The Wife and The Female Persuasion, I feel as if Meg Wolitzer is a hugely underrated force of nature. I first discovered her through this novel, which is about a group of women in the fog of early motherhood. It describes the phase of life where your children come first as "the ten year nap." It's a brilliant, entertaining, incisive dissection of the decisions and non-decisions women make around work, family, money and relationships.

Viv Groskop Bookshelfie - Grazia (stacked)3 of 3
CREDIT: Waterstones

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

A very predictable choice for me and I really must stop going on about this novel, based on Ephron's real-life experiences. But it is so funny. And it never stops being funny no matter how many times you re-read it. A heavily pregnant woman discovers her husband has been cheating on her with a woman with "a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb." One day I will get the audiobook as it's read by Meryl Streep. This would also be good for my hoarding as I can have it on my phone. Hmm…

To buy Viv Groskop's own book, How to Own the Room, click here.

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