The Shops by India Knight Viking $170 India Knight, who is better known for her chick-lit books, has produced a shopping guide filled with anecdotes and tips on when, where and, most importantly, how to consume. Despite being slightly offbeat and highly snobbish, the book is also weirdly readable. Written as a memoir, it is the story of Knight's family and her complex relationships with each member. Throughout are recommendations for stores, websites and what to buy in little boxes decorated with borders of hearts and flowers. Yes, it's extremely girlish. The book's downside is that it's so subjective - Knight recommends what she loves the most. Chocolate and mattresses maybe, but don't try to follow her on moisturiser, makeup and perfume. She makes no apology for only recommending places in her home town, London. Knight is also too upmarket. She buys bespoke shirts from Turnbull & Asser, saves up #4,000 (HK$54,920) for a pocket-sprung VI-Spring mattress and goes to David Champion for emu eggs, ornate birdcages and porcupine quills. The less expensive recommendations feel cursory, as though the publisher forced her to include them. The book excels when Knight recalls family stories. She has perfected the art of describing a person with a few well-chosen words. There are tales of shopping with her mother and improbably named stepsisters Amaryllis and Afsaneh, who wrote an ode to the shops when she was five. Knight's elegant, high-maintenance mother tries to sell her on the idea that world-class designers ripped off Marks & Spencer designs, not the other way around ('Dior copies. The brilliance!'). Her rakish Belgian father is an enthusiast for motorbikes and pornography who reads Playboy in front of her great aunt but only because he thinks it would be improper to let her see him reading Anal Sluts. While most of the stories are laugh-out-loud funny, Knight stretches the point when she tries to explain how shopping defines relationships. According to Knight, it was impossible to argue with her mother while they shopped together. It grates that their difficult relationship was fixed by trips to the shops. She was also shopping with her father when he broke the news that his third wife was leaving him. Again, she tries to explain the calming influence of the mall. The desire to avoid creating a scene in public doesn't seem to have occurred to her. Chick-lit is often derided. With this effort, Knight has added an even lighter dimension to the genre.