My Bookshelf: Viv Groskop

The woman of very many parts talks us through the titles her bookshelf would be incomplete without - see her on the panel of our exciting new Book Club Live event launching in Leeds!

Journalist, stand-up comedian, agony aunt (for The Pool), TV and radio presenter – Viv Groskop is a renaissance woman. An established journalist and critic, she detailed her new career as a comedian in the memoir, I Laughed, I Cried: How One Woman Took On Stand-up and (Almost) Ruined her Life. Meanwhile her new book How to Own the Room: Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking is a guide to acing public speaking - even if the very thought of it makes your toes curl. 

My favourite childhood book…

Enid Blyton's The Famous Five.

The book that defined my teenage years…

Lace by Shirley Conran.

The book that changed my life…

Anna Karenina led to me learning Russian, devoting a big part of my life to trying to understand Russia and, eventually, working at Russian Vogue

The book I tell everyone to read…

Heartburn by Nora Ephron. It’s just so arch, funny and bitter.

Your comfort read…

Anything by Pema Chodron, Oprah’s favourite Buddhist guru.

The book that made me want to be a writer…

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

The book which made me laugh/cry…

Laugh? Rob Delaney’s crazy memoir, Cabbage, which has a bunch of random words including “Yardstick” in the title. Cry? Chekhov’s Lady with Lapdog.

Guilty pleasure…

I don’t believe in feeling guilty about reading of any kind, but I just read a cracking biography of Cosmopolitan editor, Helen Gurley Brown - Bad Girls Go Everywhere by Jennifer Scanlon. 

I’ve read every book by…

Anita Shreve. She wrote lovely, gently surprising novels, often about small town America. I interviewed her a few years ago and became obsessed.

The literary character I am most like…

I want to think I’m like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice but really I’m more like whoever gave Mark Darcy the horrible Christmas jumper in Bridget Jones' Diary (Bridget’s mum?). 

As a writer…

I’m a haphazard mixture of planning on Post-It notes, losing the Post-It notes, writing 1,000 words religiously a day, writing nothing for days, writing non-stop, finding the Post-It notes again, procrastinating and being extremely decisive. It seems to work.

My bookshelves…

They look unexpectedly bare. I still get sent hundreds of books a year to review as a hangover from the days when I was a book critic. I’m ruthless about what I keep. I hang onto what I’m going to read in the next three months and the rest goes out. My local charity bookshop is an Aladdin’s cave.

My Top 5 hush picks...

Follow Viv on Twitter or catch her at our hush Book Club Live event - find out more here!