What better way to kick off than with the Chocolate Book Tag Challenge?
Reading and chocolate surely go together like cricket and Pimms, Wimbledon and strawberries, football and lager...ok, less of the sporting analogies and more of the sitting in a large comfy armchair and indulging in your favourite read while munching your way through appropriately matched cocoa-based confectionery.
I am delighted, therefore, to have been invited by the lovely Tara Ford (well, a bit too late to be her official 'tag' so I'm hoping a Twitter invite isn't breaking the rules too much!), author of 'Calling All Services' and 'Calling All Dentists', to take part in this delectable of challenges - come up with 6 - 8 books and suggest the perfect chocolate to accompany you on your literary journey. You can read Tara's choices here!
Well, here goes:
Ladies' Detective Agency series (Alexander McCall Smith) - chocolate fudge cake (from the fridge as it'll melt in the Botswana sun!). I'm cheating here by choosing a series rather than an individual book, but these books are all so delightful and easy-to-eat-with it's too difficult to pick one out. Food - particularly cake - is a huge influence in the books, not to mention an awful lot of bush tea, so it would be rude not to give McCall Smith's series a huge shout-out in this sweet challenge.
Black Roses (Jane Thynne) - This book is one of my favourite reads ever. Set in the murky and dangerous world of 1930s Germany, actress turned spy Clara Vine risks everything by befriending high-ranking Nazi wives. Definitely needs reading with a big box of Cadbury's Roses, although you'll be twisting off those wrappers and munching your way through without even noticing with this fantastic read. Just save enough for Thynne's equally pacy sequel 'The Winter Garden'.
Look Who's Back (Timur Vermes) - I laughed and shook my head in equal measures when reading Vermes's novel, about what happens when Hitler wakes up in modern-day Germany with a sore head and no idea about the world around him. Bizarrely sweet in places but also taken with a big pinch of salt, I'd say rattle your way through this surprisingly poignant yet wry look at 21st century fame and politics with a big block of salted caramel chocolate.
Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel) - I know this literary tome has received its fair share of publicity of late, but I couldn't leave it out, being one of the most absorbing books I've ever read. If Thomas Cromwell himself were a chocolate bar, he'd be quite a tough, chewy sort (none of your poncy Lindt here), so as Wolf Hall is Cromwell and Cromwell is Wolf Hall, read it with a crunchy, wholesome, hefty bar of fruit and nut. You'll be there for some time!
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (Helen Simonson) - a delightful book about a retired Major who faces prejudice in his quite English village because of his relationship with the lady who runs the village shop. Simonson's characters can be equally charming and reserved in that extremely English way and I can think of nothing more suitable to nibble while you curl up with this novel and sip your after-dinner brandy (or other suitable tipple!) than a box of Elizabeth Shaw mint crisps.
The Twits (Roald Dahl) - One of my favourite Dahl books, I allowed my daughter to pick what she thinks would be a good sweet treat when reading this. With a terribly sweet tooth herself, she thought this to be a very thought-provoking challenge. As Mr and Mrs Twit are so horrible you need to eat bitter chocolate, she says, like dark chocolate, so I think something like chilli chocolate, which packs a serious hit (a bit like Mr Twit's shotgun when it fires on those poor defenceless birds stuck on the Big Dead Tree!), is a winner!
I'm tagging Julia Proofreader, a lady with a wealth of proofreading experience behind her, who has agreed to take on this tasty challenge! While we await her choices, her website can be accessed here