Mount! and Other Stories. Trash Fiction I Shouldn't Have Enjoyed as Much as I Did.
As a newly joined-up member of the Labour party (hi Jez), I pride myself on my liberal views on most things. Nuclear weapons? Down with that sort of thing! The gender pay gap? Sort it out. Gay marriage? Amen.
So it comes as a surprise to me that I can be such an insufferable snob when it comes to books.
I used to be one of those people that couldn't leave a book unfinished. But as I began to realise how much time I was wasting reading some of the drivel that's out there (cough 50 shades of cough), I decided life was too short to waste time reading to the end of a book that has failed to hook me in in the first 150 pages.
Cue a sharp U-turn towards top quality literature only. My friends are bored of me nagging them to read Middlemarch (seriously, do, it's amazing), and I have an annoying habit of jotting down Dickens quotations so I can appreciate them at a later date.
Over the Summer though, I began to yearn for something more. If Dickens is the 80% dark chocolate of the indulgent world of literature, I was looking for my large Dominoes with wedges - less refined but, in reality, a lot more pleasurable. Which is when I found Jilly Cooper.
Say what you like about her, Jilly Cooper's novels are good. At least I thought so as I tore my way through the sordid pages of Mount! this Autumn. And it got me thinking that there's a place for the shamelessly purely-for-pleasure read in all bibliophiles' literary calendars.
The problem is, for every unputdownable chick lit masterpiece, there's an awful lot that don't make the cut.
Thankfully, a bunch of sassy women like yourself have been on hand to give their recommendations. Here's the top pick of books road tested by real women for when you just need to kick back.
1. The Other Woman's Shoes - Adele Parks
Eliza envies her sister Martha's perfect marriage, that is, until it all falls apart. How will Martha survive single life in her mid thirties, and will Eliza's boyfriend Greg ever pull himself together?
2. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
On the list because if you haven't read it already, you absolutely need to. If you thought the film was funny, you'll wish you'd discovered this years ago. I was caught out laughing out loud on the train several times.
3. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert's romp around the world will give you itchy feet to travel to India, Italy and Bali. It will also have you reassessing your priorities, with 'eating the pizza' coming way above fitting into your size 8 jeans.
4. Mount! - Jilly Cooper
No topic and no one else's husband is off limits in Jilly Cooper's latest Rupert Campbell-Black odyssey. Whether you're in it for the horses or the rampant lovers, it's an enjoyable read with tons of likeable characters and some pretty good baddies.
5. Sophie Kinsella - Shopaholic Abroad
Becky Bloomwood jumps at the chance to work in New York - every girl's dream, right? But as she gets swept away in the high life, Becky's spendaholic ways start to get the better of her. Oo-er.
6. The Good Girlfriend's Guide to Getting Even - Ann Bell
Lexi's boyfriend Will is already walking on thin ice when he chooses sports over his relationship one too many times. Rather than just call it a day (where's the fun in that?) Lexi decides it's time to get even.
So there you have it! Chick lit for when you fancy trash content but still want your sentences in the right order. Be sure to add your suggestions in the comments below, and happy reading!