Last night (over char-grilled leeks alongside something delicious and foamy, at the superb Estelle) my friend Leanne said that I needed a better system for categorizing book reviews on my blog. What she actually meant was that I needed a category called Books Leanne Would Like.
So, what sort of books does Leanne like? She said she mostly reads “…from the female gaze…” (please accept that we’d drunk many glasses of fizz by this point and were well into six-courses with matched wine). But she was prepared to read from the male gaze.
I asked her what was the last book she loved. She couldn’t answer that (but mentioned Eucalyptus which, although great, I won’t count because I know that she read it decades ago). She told me what she hated – The Slap – and we had a robust conversation about the characters and the sex in the book. Leanne’s preparedness for the male gaze lost some footing during our Slap discussion.
To really get to the nitty-gritty, I had to bring out my brother’s crude (but useful) system for categorizing books, films and tv shows. He divides everything into either dildo stories, cancer stories or rape stories. Please don’t get too hung-up on the category names. It’s basically Sex in the City versus Party of Five versus Banshee. I mostly like cancer stories, with good dildo stories thrown in. Leanne said (just as the waitress arrived to pour the eleventy-hundredth wine) “I want dildo stories. But good ones, not all fluff…. Yes, well written dildo stories.”
And so it’s agreed. A list of well-written dildo stories for Leanne to get stuck into (those in bold should be read first, I reckon). And going forward, the tag ‘Books Leanne will like’.
I like to be of service (did it once before, here).
The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
The Strays by Emily Bitto
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler
Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
Academy Street by Mary Costello
The First Husband by Laura Dave
I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson
The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
The Privileges by Jonathan Dee
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Delicacy by David Foenkinos
The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma – Kerry Hudson
Tigers in Red Weather by Lisa Klaussman
My Life on a Plate by India Knight
My Latest Grievance by Elinor Lipman
How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
Heft by Liz Moore
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
One Day by David Nicholls
Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman
Useful by Debra Oswald
Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
Little Known Facts by Christine Sneed
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
In a Summer Season by Elizabeth Taylor
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
This is Where I Leave You by Johnathan Tropper
Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth
Love All by Callie Wright
Animal People by Charlotte Wood
The Easter Parade by Richard Yates
What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin
The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
The Gourmet by Muriel Barbery
Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourbain
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
The Cider House Rules by John Irving
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
The Night Rainbow by Claire King
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Golden Age by Joan London
When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
Red Dog by Louis de Bernieres
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Big Brother by Lionel Schriver
The Reader by Berhard Schlink
The Light Between the Oceans by M. L. Stedman
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
Perfect by Rachel Joyce
The Dinner by Herman Koch
The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezark
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
My Notorious Life by Kate Manning
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
I think I have the mix right – the list is mostly dildo stories – some fluffier than others. There’s some cancer stories (but light cancer stories with no dying children, as per Leanne’s request) and a few rape stories (with no actual rape). There are some prize-winners in there, books to make Leanne laugh and perhaps cry, books from the female gaze and some books from the male gaze. Now I’ll wait for Leanne’s verdict.
This really made me laugh – I hope the waitress didn’t spill any of the wine! Great list – happy reading Leanne 🙂
And obviously it wasn’t said quietly :-/
Glad you had a good night and love the categorisation of books!!
The categories are a bit rude but strangely work for most books/ films/ tv!
Thanks Katrina, that’s ace! I haven’t read many of them but I love Wonder and The Book Thief. I remember I liked Angela’s Ashes when it came out. And I read Cider House Rules – but years ago.
So, I Expect you have hit the nail on the head with all the others … I’ll start reading ASAP.
And how good was the octopus … and the nasturtium oil? And that cheese …
That cheese. So good.
Oh and, I loved The Jane Austen Book Club … and I am keen to read her other one. And I am currently 2/3 through One Day … It’s my book on the go. And I just then borrowed The Miniaturist on BorrowBox.
Really. So excited.
The Miniaturist reminded me of Eucalyptus in some ways – that fairytale quality.
I haven’t read The Jane Austen Book Club but WEACBO is apparently very different to her other books, so I hope you like it. If you can, avoid reading reviews because there are far too many spoilers out there!
The Miniaturist would be an odd choice for your dildo category since part of the issue is the absence of sex…
Any discussion about sex or lack thereof, qualifies it as a dildo book 😉
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Hey Katrina, just reviewing this list as I am half way through The Strays and I knew you’d have your thoughts about it on your blog- I read your review post and then this one came up as well.
I have now read quite a few books on this list you made for me and have enjoyed them all … So thanks so much! It should keep me going for a
while still – but I would be happy with an update. For some more context I have enjoyed The Museum of Modern Love, Normal People and Boy Swallows Universe in the last year or so. I am sure they would be included in your updated list! In any case it is such a nice thing to come back to – a list just for me! Xxx Leanne
I certainly would have put the books you’ve enjoyed recently on a list for you. I’ll have a look back over what I’ve read in the last year or so and add some more (I haven’t been very diligent with the ‘books Leanne would like’ tag but will use it going forward 🙂