Keeping Up With The Penguins

Reviews For The Would-Be Booklover

My Christmas Book Wishlist

Dear Santa,

I’ve been pretty good this year, wouldn’t you say? I’ve kept my distance, I’ve washed my hands, I’ve worn a mask, I’ve supported local businesses. In my humble opinion, I belong on the Nice list.

To further substantiate my claim to Niceness, I’m going to make it easier for you: this year, my wishlist is ALL books (just like it was last year, I know, that’s not the point). If you could get your elves to work on putting together some of these beauties to leave in my stocking, I’d be eternally grateful.

The beer’s in the usual place. Cheers!

Sheree (of Keeping Up With The Penguins fame)

My Christmas Book Wishlist - Keeping Up With The Penguins
Don’t forget, if you buy yourself anything through a Keeping Up With The Penguins link, I get a little stocking stuffer – good tidings to all!

The Beatles And Philosophy by Michael Baur & Steven A Baur

I saw this book in the window of a secondhand bookstore years ago, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since! Sadly, by the time I went back to buy it, some other lucky reader had taken it home already. I’ve looked everywhere I go ever since, and never found it again. If it weren’t for the internet confirming its existence, I’d be wondering if I imagined it!

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

I always thought this book was too chunky and too woo-y for me… but after reading Piranesi earlier this year, I am a complete Susanna Clarke convert. I’m chomping at the bit to read her debut novel, all 800+ pages of it. Just goes to show (once again) that you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!

Misery by Stephen King

You wouldn’t think that a book by the King of horror would be that hard to track down… but I’m having a surprisingly hard time turning up a copy of Misery through my usual channels! I didn’t mind my first venture into King’s oeuvre (when I read and reviewed Under The Dome a few months back), but I’d love to try some of his chilling realism.

Pilgrimage to Dollywood by Helen Morales

One of my most amazing discoveries in 2020 was the Dolly Parton’s America podcast. I’d always felt a bit indifferent to Dolly – a couple country pop bangers, otherwise meh – until I hit play on this incredible overview of her career and life. I am now quite convinced that I would die for Dolly, and all the amazing work she has done to bring joy and connection to the world. Given that it’ll be quite a while before I can undertake my own pilgrimage to Dollywood, I’d love to live vicariously through this book in the meantime.

Death With Interruptions by José Saramago

This is one of the many, many books that I might not otherwise have encountered that ended up on my to-read list because of, well, the To-Read List podcast. The premise is fascinating – what if death stopped altogether? what would happen to our world if our lives were permanent? – AND, apparently, it’s hilarious. Funny books by Nobel prize winners are few and far between, so I’m sold!

Update: Santa delivered! Though it’s called Death At Intervals now… Check out my review of Death At Intervals here.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

In case you missed it, I am a podcast junkie (see above). I am also a booklover. I am also far too fascinated by true crime. So, the fact that there is an actual book out there that is framed as a transcript of a true crime podcast, and I haven’t read it yet, is an absolute travesty. Sadie ticks ALL the boxes, and I would love to get my hands on a copy!

Update: Santa (working through my bestie, Cathal) delivered! Check out my full review of Sadie here.

The Odyssey by Homer (trans. Emily Wilson)

I’ve tackled a lot of great really old poems, but I’ve held off on The Odyssey for one simple reason – I really, really want my first experience of it to be the first translation completed and published by a woman. So, as soon as a copy of this edition translated into English by Emily Wilson falls into my lap (or my Christmas stocking), I’ll give it a go.

I was going to try and come up with a few fun non-book extras to round out my wishlist, but honestly? There’s nothing I need as badly as I need books, and for that I feel very lucky. What about you: what are you asking Santa for this year?


  1. I’m interested to see what you think of Sadie! As a true crime podcast junkie it sounded so perfect to me.

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