Shelf Swap with Annalie Grainger

I love swapping book recs, so I’m asking one person each month to pick five books from my Goodreads shelves that they would like to read and five books from their own shelves that they think I might enjoy.

I’m happy to welcome Annalie Grainger, who is here to celebrate her newest book In Your Light, to Pretty Books for Shelf Swap!


How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne
I’m a big fan of Holly’s teen books, especially her Spinster Club series, so I think I would enjoy this one. She’s such a funny, warm and smart writer. Her characters are always so real, and she captures the teen girl experience so perfectly. I’d love to see what she writes for an older audience. I’m sure it is equally brilliant.

This Book Will (Help You) Change the World by Sue Turton
I was sold on the title alone with this book! Like a lot of people, I’ve watched with increasing horror at what’s been going on in politics recently. I feel pretty let down by the people in charge but also overwhelmed about where to begin with trying to make a difference. How can one person make a change?! As such, I’d love to know what practical things I can do. As such, this sounds like the perfect book for me!

The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier
I’m a huge fan of Daphne Du Maurier. Rebecca is one of my all-time favourite books, and I’ve read that this book shares many of the same themes. I love seeing an author’s writing develop, so I’d really like to read this book to understand more about how Du Maurier progressed through her career.

This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
I read Do No Harm a few years back (see below!) and was fascinated by the ins and outs of a surgeon’s life. As such, I’m sure I’d enjoy this. Also I saw Adam Kay interviewed on TV, and he was very funny!

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
This is billed as Eleanor and Park meets Bollywood, and I’m totally hooked already. I love a good rom-com, and this sounds like it’s going to be a great one.


Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
This book! I’ve read it four times and my copy is full of underlined paragraphs. The slowly unfolding tragedy of a young girl’s disappearance and its far-reaching repercussions is beautifully, powerfully and painfully told. Celeste is a wonderful writer with a real gift for depicting subtle family dynamics. I’ve just finished reading her second book, Little Fires Everywhere, and it’s just as brilliant and insightful. Looking at your bookshelves, I know you like contemporary stories about life and family, so I think you’d really like this one too.

Stacey says: Celeste Ng’s books are on my wishlist – I’ve heard such fantastic things! I just can’t decide which to read first.

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh
I’m recommending this one on the basis of seeing This is Going to Hurt on your bookshelves! Henry Marsh was Consultant Neurosurgeon at Atkinson Morley’s/St.George’s for over twenty years before he retired, and this book is part-memoir, part-commentary on the state of the NHS and modern medicine. It is absolutely absorbing and also enlightening as Henry Marsh is so candid about the realities of being a brain surgeon and about having to make some of the most agonising life-death decisions.

Stacey says: I adored Adam Kay’s book and so I’d love to check out more medical memoirs – this sounds great!

The Tribes of Palos Verdes by Joy Nicholson
In doing some research for this article, I’ve just discovered there’s a movie of this book! I had no idea – the last I knew it was out of print. I’m so glad it’s been brought back. Like Celeste Ng’s book, it’s a subtle and moving coming-of-age story set in the wealthy beach community of Palos Verdes in California. It has shades of I’ll Give You the Sun, in terms of setting and the novel’s exploration of familial relationships after a tragedy, so I think you’d enjoy it!

Stacey says: I had not heard of this at all, but I love coming-of-age novels (and I’ll Give You the Sun), so you have me intrigued.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
I know you like reading classics, and this is one of the best, in my opinion. It is one of those books that I wish I could read for the first time again! It’s described as a “sensation novel”, and caused quite a stir when it came out in the late 1850s. It’s also one of the earliest examples of detective fiction and is partly based on a real-life case. The opening scene alone is worth reading this book for. Atmospheric, full of suspense and absolutely riveting, it’s a great read!

Stacey says: I haven’t read a classic in ages and I miss them… perhaps this is one I should pick up for Halloween? I love spooky books!

Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read this book! Set over several decades, it’s the story of a toxic friendship between two girls, and how the lives of each one of them is affected. I love Margaret Atwood’s writing style, and she is definitely a huge influence on me. Plus, it has one of my favourite ever lines in it: “Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space. […] You don’t look back along time but down through it, like water. Sometimes this comes to the surface, sometimes that, sometimes nothing. Nothing goes away.” I think this line has profoundly affected the way that I write books. I’m fascinated by how the past affects the present, and both of my novels have interlocking time periods and narratives.

Stacey says: I’ve really enjoyed the Margaret Atwood books I’ve read – and I love books about friendship.

Thank you, Annalie, for swapping shelves with me today!

5 thoughts on “Shelf Swap with Annalie Grainger

  1. […] via Shelf Swap with Annalie Grainger — Pretty Books […]

  2. i haven’t seen this before, it’s such an awesome concept!

  3. So many books to read! A lot of these I’ve never even heard of! I really must read some Celeste Ng. All I hear is how amazing she is!

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