MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA by Arthur Golden Vintage, £9.99
I started reading this in Waterstones and an hour later I was still standing there.
It’s a fascinating story about how a poor girl eventually becomes a geisha and the rivalry with the other people being trained up.
It was an immersion in a completely “other” culture.
GILEAD by Marilynne Robinson Virago, £8.99
Jenny Eclair was on a judging panel, hating this, and asked me if it got any more exciting.
I said: “No.”
It’s a meditation on life and death, about a dying pastor who wants to write about his life for his young boy.
It’s moving and beautiful.
BALLET SHOES by Noel Streatfeild Puffin, £6.99
A sweet book.
The children in it are adopted by their great uncle who’s an absent-minded professor and they have to start earning.
They walk along the Cromwell Road a lot and when I came to drama school in London, I chose Lamda because it was on the Cromwell Road.
REACHING TIN RIVER by Thea Astley Out of print
A lovely Australian book that I read out there.
It had a big effect because I was very down at the time, having just finished a relationship.
It’s about somebody coming to terms with not being able to do what they want to do.
A WORLD OF STRANGERS by Nadine Gordimer Bloomsbury, £9.99
About a white guy who becomes friends in South Africa with a black Gatsby figure who just wants to party and doesn’t want to be politicised.
It makes the Englishman change his mind about who he is.
THIS CHARMING MAN by Marian Keyes Penguin, £7.99
I did Celebrity Eggheads and didn’t know Keyes was Irish.
My friend from Edinburgh rang me, really shocked.
I said I didn’t read chick lit and she said: “Don’t be such a snob.”
So I promptly went out and got this.
It’s about a charismatic politician who is abusive. I’ve become a big fan.
Book tickets to see Dillie in Grumpy Old Women To The Rescue grumpyoldwomenlive.com