Bookshelfie: Viv Groskop

Photo of Viv Groskop and her bookshelf

We recently caught up with the fantastic journalist, writer and comedian Viv Groskop, who gave us an insight into her reading habits. Read on to find out Viv’s favourite books by women and for a chance to win a signed copy of Viv’s latest book How to Own the Room.

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 am a reality TV documentary waiting to happen. My shelves house the books I am expecting to read in the next couple of months. Or they are amongst the very few books I re-read constantly (like Please to the Table by Anya von Bremzen, my favourite cookbook).

Three of my favourite books by women? They get read and passed on. Then they’ll come back as I’ll buy them again. And then give them away. And so the cycle continues.

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.

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.

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…

Viv Groskop is the author of How to Own the Room: Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking. Head to the Women’s Prize Instagram to win one of three signed copies.

The Women's Prize Podcast

Tune into host Vick Hope and a line-up of incredible guests on our weekly podcast full of unmissable book recommendations.