My Fantasy Book Group

Eric over at Lonesome Reader recently posted his fantasy book group – “people who aren’t authors themselves but individuals in the media who are known to have a serious intellectual side to them.”  Several of Eric’s choice have written books, but aren’t necessarily best known for that – so there’s flexibility there.  I couldn’t resist thinking about which five living celebs I would invite to join my own fantasy book group … Feel free to join in this one, and do let Eric know.

Annabel’s Fantasy Book Group

George Clooney

I can hear you all going ‘how predictable!’ but although he is the best-looking man on the planet, he does have serious intellectual chops. He has been nominated for an Oscar in six different categories in front and behind the camera and won two of them. He is politically active and does much humanitarian work. Combine that with his sense of humour, and he’d be an ideal member – as long as he reads too.

Emma Thompson

I did have to make a decision over whether in invite Em or Ken to my book group. Although Ken is one of my heroes, I need more balance in my group.  ET is an inspirational woman, and I would have her play me in the film of my life.

There is no doubting that ET is a serious reader, given the subjects she’s also written about. I think I could rely on her to have an opinion on anything we’d discuss, and we’d have such fun with her sense of humour.


Michael Mosley

Mosley is a doctor by profession, turned science TV presenter, and is author of books accompanying his series, plus the 5:2 diet book which he pioneered on the box.

A self-deprecating self-experimenter, he has swallowed cameras to film inside his guts, given himself a tape-worm or three, done all kinds of things in the name of science.  His programmes are always fascinating and provide much food for thought. Another good sense of humour (can you sense a trend here?).  I’m pretty sure he’ll be a reader…

Claudia Winkleman

She’s so much more than being the long-fringed, kohl-eyed co-host of Strictly Come Dancing. Our Claud has also hosted BBC2’s Film Programme for several years, taking over from Jonathan Ross, and now hosts The Great Sewing Bee.

She’s the daughter of legendary Fleet Street editor Eve Pollard and went to Cambridge to study History of Art. She is obviously more fun than Tess Daly. Kooky and a GSOH, she can be serious too and I’ve heard her recommend books on some programme or other – so in she goes.

Michael Palin

I wanted to include a Python in my book group – they have been so influential to me over the years. But which one?  I love them all in one way or another. In the end it had to be Palin … He edged it because of this: Palin’s Travels: A Traveller’s Reading List. – a list of all the reading he does around his programmes and while travelling. The nicest man in Britain is, of course, also very funny.

* * * * *

So that’s the five celebrities I’d invite to my fantasy book group. There were plenty who didn’t make the cut, apart from Ken Branagh and the other Pythons. Although well known in the media, Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett and Clive James are just too writerly. Mick Jagger is well-read, but I don’t think he’d sit still. I nearly chose Dr Alice Roberts as my scientist, but have a soft spot for Mosley so he won the vote – and made it (if you include me) three men, three women.  I hope we’d all get along famously!

Who would you choose?

23 thoughts on “My Fantasy Book Group

  1. Alex says:

    I thought about this and then realised that no group I could put together would be better than the one I shared last Sunday with for our annual book of the film day. Maybe I just lack the necessary imagination!

  2. heavenali says:

    I’d find George a bit distracting I might start giggling for no reason. Claudia would be a must she’s good fun. Think I would also like Graham Norton, Sue Perkins and actor Idris Elba (oh he would be a bit distracting too)

    • Annabel (gaskella) says:

      Absolutely, Stu. (I’ve just got his latest volume of diaries – looking forward to reading them).

  3. kaggsysbookishramblings says:

    Oooh what fun – can I have Paul Morley, although he’s an author, because he’s also a massive commentator?!

  4. Dark Puss says:

    I’ll have a go, though I have no idea how many (if any) of these would be classed as “celebs” …

    Unwoman (Erica Mulkey)
    Mark Kermode
    Rem Koolhaas
    Vivienne Westwood

    • Annabel (gaskella) says:

      If they’re celebs to you Peter – that’s fine. (I had to look Mulkey and Koolhaas up). Kermode was on my longlist too funnily enough.

  5. Jenny @ Reading the End says:

    Oh man, Emma Thompson’s definitely in my fantasy book club. I’m going to have to think about the rest, but yeah, Emma Thompson, she seems like she’d be the best book club person ever. She’d have intelligent things to say and she wouldn’t judge me for day-drinking.

  6. BookerTalk says:

    These are far too glamorous to be in a book club with me. I wouldn’t be able to turn up in my hoodie and jeans. I would probably spend so long deciding what to wear that I’d be too late for the actual meeting.

  7. Isabella says:

    Fun question. George Clooney — yes, please! Also Bill Murray — I picture him not even participating, just hanging out in his bathrobe. And Daniel Radcliffe — he’s had quite a few literary roles and I’m impressed with how articulate he is about Bulgakov.

    • Annabel (gaskella) says:

      I love the idea of Murray as a sleeping member! 🙂

      I’d never have thought of Radcliffe – which reminds me I must watch The Young Doctor’s Notebook – I’ve recorded it. (and read the book). If Clooney can’t come, I’ll invite John Hamm – Don Draper’s always reading in Mad Men.

  8. Beth @plasticrosaries says:

    I love this idea! I’ve recently done a character-based literary dinner party type post but I much prefer this although pondering who I’d invite I’m already struggling, so many people to choose between. I like your choices, although I’m not sure any of them would be my choice I totally get why you’d invite them 😀 🙂

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