Thursday 17 November 2022

Dear Santa Booklist - by Tracy Darnton

Is it too early to mention the C word? Another year has whooshed past and here’s my annual list to Santa of my most wanted books to find in my stocking on Christmas morning. It's my time to restock my non-fiction books. 

I always like to get a ‘craft’ book to feed my writing and this year I’ve plumped for Malorie Blackman’s Just Sayin’ My Life in Words. I heard her speak at Toppings in Bath recently – and if you haven’t watched the Imagine - Malorie Blackman What If?  episode yet, I recommend it for every children’s writer to remind you of how amazing Aunty Malorie is and why we all write for young people. (Imagine is packed with kid lit royalty).

Haruki Murakami is another fascinating writer. So I’d love to read his collection of essays Novelist as a Vocation for an insight into his routines and writing.

I’ve been able to get back to more galleries and museums this year so next must-have is Katy Hessel’s The Story of Art Without Men which I bought for someone else but haven’t read myself yet. I saw her speak at an interesting panel at Cliveden Literary Festival in October and was amazed to discover the complete lack of women in The Story of Art tome by E.H. Gombrich -  and, shame on me, I hadn’t even noticed at the time of reading it.

There have been books by Andrey Kurkov in my house for a while but until the Ukraine invasion, I’d never got round to reading them myself. I loved Death and the Penguin which those lovely folks at Mr B's Emporium have been recommending for years, and we’ve been steadily increasing our collection of his novels. 

So going on the Christmas wish list is Diary of an Invasion which collects Kurkov’s insightful columns and broadcasts from this year.

In a big change of mood, for my next desired gifts, I’ve gone full Agatha Christie. Creek House in my last thriller, Ready or Not, was based on Agatha Christie’s beautiful house, Greenway on the River Dart. Lately, I’ve been writing a new YA inspired by one of her best-loved books – and I had my first trip this summer to Harrogate Crime Festival, based at the Old Swan where Agatha Christie was found during her disappearance which gripped the nation in 1926.

So what better than a game of Agatha Christie bingo after Christmas lunch? 

Followed by dipping into Lucy Worsley’s latest: Agatha Christie – A very elusive woman.

That’s my list. One reminding me of the welcome return to trips to bookshops, lit fests and museums, and the importance of good writing in making sense of our world and times.



Tracy Darnton is the author of YA stocking thrillers Ready or Not, The Rules and The Truth About Lies, and her short story is included in the YA anthology I’ll Be Home for Christmas. Please feel free to put them on your Christmas list. 


1 comment:

Mystica said...

Enjoyed the post.