Ep.86; What We Have Read, Are Reading & How We Choose What We Read Next…

This week on the Readers it is time to bring back Reading Horizons, though with a twist as Thomas and Simon discuss what they have been reading, what they are reading and how on earth they decide what they are going to read next…

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What We Have Read & What We Are Reading () It is time to have a catch up with Thomas and Simon have been reading and are reading at the moment…

 

Thomas has read: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
He is currently reading: At The Bottom of Everything by Ben Dolnick

 

Simon has read: The Ghost Hunters by Neil Spring
He was reading: Riotous Assembly by Tom Sharpe

How We Choose What To Read Next () Normally Simon and Thomas would instantly share what they are reading next, however whilst Simon knows that he really fancies reading ‘The Watch Tower’ by Elizabeth Harrower, Thomas has been a little more stuck/spoilt for choice with three possibilities. These are ‘The Pure Gold Baby’ by Margaret Drabble, ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and ‘May We Be Forgiven’ by A.M. Homes. So they decided it was time to talk about how they choose what they read next. Do they wander through their shelves, bookstores or libraries and pick by whim? Do they have a special selection by the bed? All is revealed in the second section of the show and they want to know how you pick what you are reading next? So let them know…

Next time on the Readers () Thomas and Simon will be back in two weeks with more book based banter. Simon will be back next Tuesday with You Wrote The Book! with guest Meike Ziervogel discussing ‘Magda’ and on Friday it is the second episode of new book club show Hear… Read This.

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Ep.85; Your Country in Ten (or Eleven) Books

Welcome to the latest episode of The Readers Podcast. Last month after discussing the American classics Simon came up with the idea of both Thomas and himself coming up with two separate lists of the ten books that they think sum up their country for them and would give to someone if they moved to their country to ‘read up on it’.

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Catching Up () Before the madness of the books that Thomas and Simon want to discuss they have a catch up. First Simon mentions the sad news of the passing of one of the old school bloggers Norman Geras of NormBlog. They then have a natter about the Man Booker winner, Thomas’ book buying binge and Simon going mad in London and judging the Not The Booker.

Our Country in 10 Books () In the main section of the show, Simon and Thomas discuss the books they think they would give to someone moving to their country, or visiting for a long time, that give their most realistic insight into it.

Simon’s choices are…

  • The Room of Lost Things – Stella Duffy (London)
  • The News Where You Are – Catherine O’Flynn (Birmingham)
  • The Woman in Black – Susan Hill (Norfolk)
  • One Good Turn – Kate Atkinson ( Edinburgh)
  • The Long Falling – Keith Ridgway (Northern Ireland)
  • The Proof of Love – Catherine Hall (The Lake District)
  • The Claude Glass – Tom Bullough (Wales)
  • Agatha Raisin & The Quiche of Death – M.C. Beaton (The Cotswolds)
  • Rough Music – Patrick Gale (Cornwall)
  • My Policeman – Bethan Roberts (Brighton)
  • Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma – Kerry Hudson (Great Britain all over)

Yes, you may notice Simon cheated with eleven books, oops. Thomas choices are…

  • Tepper Isn’t Going Out – Calvin Trillin (New York)
  • Go Tell It on the Mountain – James Baldwin (New York)
  • The Magnificent Spinster – May Sarton (New England)
  • Echo House – Ward Just (Washington, DC)
  • Deliverance – James Dickey (South)
  • Then We Came to the End – Joshua Ferris (Chicago)
  • Main Street – Sinclair Lewis (Midwest)
  • The Professor’s House – Willa Cather (Southwest)
  • A Way of Life, Like Any Other – Darcy O’Brien (Southern California)
  • Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin (Northern California)

So those are their lists! Simon and Thomas are desperate now to go off and read the books on the others lists that they haven’t already. Are you going to do the same? Would you agree with their lists? Most importantly, what would your ten books be that would sum up your country, as Simon and Thomas would love to read your lists… there’s a mission!!

Next time on the Readers () Thomas and Simon will be back in two weeks with more book based banter including the books that they have been reading recently.

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Ep.84; America in Books…

This fortnight on the Readers, Simon and Thomas discuss America in literature. After looking at the Man Booker changes in the previous episode which means that lovely Americans and all authors who write in English are eligible, and with Thomas being from the United States, they thought it was time to talk American books.

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SHOW NOTES TO FOLLOW

Ep.83; Man Oh Man Booker & Lengthy Illuminations By The Luminaries

This fortnight on The Readers sees a possible case of America vs. the UK as Thomas and Simon discuss the latest changes to the Man Booker Prize which has had everyone talking this week. Simon also uses the Man Booker, and Eleanor Catton’s shortlisted ‘The Luminaries’ to have a big talk about big books…

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Catching Up () As has become a regular thing now on the readers, our two hosts have a catch up about what bookish things have been going on since the last show. This week it seems Simon has little to update us on but Thomas has been doing some Savidge approved reading with Agatha Raisin and Daphne Du Maurier.

Man Oh Man Booker () Unless you have been on a lovely holiday somewhere, very busy or simply missed it, you might know that there has been quite the furore over the new Man Booker changes that will be taking effect from 2014. It is no longer just the commonwealth countries that will be eligible, now any book written in English published between September 2013 and September 2014 will be eligible. BUT now publishers will be able to submit less unless they have previous longlisted titles. Simon is furious. He rants talks about the pro’s (he can only see two small ones) and the con’s of this with Thomas and why he is worried about the Americans, topical, might end up taking over.

Big Books

Lengthy Illuminations By The Luminaries () Simon has been reading, well still technically is reading though is having a small break, ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton which weighs in at a pretty hefty 900 pages. As he has been struggling to really get to grips with it, due to limited reading timing and it being too heavy to commute with, he decided to talk to Thomas about long books (which was perfect as Thomas has just finished Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’. So they discuss long books at length; why we read them, how we read them and how short stories and long stories both manage to have such power in such different ways.

Next time on The Readers () Simon and Thomas will be back in two weeks with more book based banter. Simon is back next Tuesday with You Wrote The Book where he will be joined by Erin Kelly to discuss ‘The Burning Air’ and crime and psychological thrillers. Don’t forget the next Readers Book Group (with Gavin and Simon) will be back on October the 11th with Laurent Binet and ‘HHhH’.

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The Readers Book Club; The Explorer by James Smythe

It seems apt that the thirteenth Readers Book Club, and first of the autumn selection, is released on Friday the 13th of September, uh oh! It is also doubly apt that the book we have chosen this month is one that is deeply unsettling, rather spooky in it sense of atmosphere and overall a rather ominous and sinister read. ‘The Explorer’ by James Smythe is quite unlike any space story we have read before so we were very glad to have the author join Simon and (a returning) Gavin, as well as being joined by Rob and Kate from Adventures With Words. You could say this is quite an epic show…

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Introducing the Book () In the first section of the show Gavin and Simon introduce you, without any spoilers to this months Book Club choice, ‘The Explorer’ by Jonathan James Smythe. With the book in question it is really hard to tell you much without giving anything away but Gavin and Simon try really hard. They give you a hint to the premise and Gavin explains why he chose the novel for the summer selection.

An Interview with the Author () This month Simon and Gavin are joined by James Smythe to talk about ‘The Explorer. Where did the idea for the novel come from? How did James go about making the unknowable believable? What research did he need to do? Did he feel he had to write within certain science fiction perimeters? What are his thoughts on labelling and genres in fiction? And much, much more…

Final Thoughts with Spoilers () In this final section, brimming with spoilers (because you said you liked them) Simon and Gavin talk about the book in more detail and are joined by the lovely Rob and Kate of ‘Adventures With Words’. Be warned, and you can’t say we haven’t warned you, that they discuss the very ending of the book which to know might spoil it completely if you hadn’t read it.

Next month on The Readers Book Club () Simon and Gavin will be joined by Laurent Binet to discuss ‘HHhH‘.Is it a novel? Is it non fiction? Is it meta? All this and more will be discussed on October the 11th. Simon is back on Tuesday with You Wrote The Book with author Niven Govinden and the following Tuesday he returns to The Readers with Thomas. Until then…

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Ep.82; Discerning Readers & Reading Habits

After Simon spent the whole of episode eighty-one grilling his new co-host Thomas in an introductory special The Readers is back for a normal kind of episode. Simon and Thomas catch up with what has been going on in the last fortnight, what makes a discerning reader (and are they?) plus Thomas wants to talk reading habits.

Don’t forget you can find us on Twitter, Good Reads and Facebook now as well as subscribing to us on iTunes here.

Catching Up () In the first teeny section of the show Thomas and Simon catch up over what has been going on in the last fortnight. Simon has a mini apology to make to a listener and Thomas has two interesting admissions about how The Readers has already changed his reading – a little bit.

Discerning Readers () Simon has been thinking, which we all know is dangerous, about what makes a discerning reader and what makes one. Interestingly he was sparked off with these thoughts by a piece that Thomas posted on Facebook about how he has changed since some diaries he found from 1992. That and a discussion about Kate Atkinson’s ‘Life After Life’ that he had on The Guardian website that made him feel he wasn’t a discerning reader. What qualifies you to be a discerning reader? Is it only about reading the classics or only reading the books that you know you like? Is a discerning reader one who reads widely and broadly, high literature and a bit of trash? What are your thoughts?

Reading Habits () Simon can’t remember if he and Gavin talked about this before, but we may repeat a few conversations now and again so it doesn’t really matter. Anyway, Thomas wanted to talk about reading habits, particularly as the seasons change and so he grills Simon on quite a few things. What are your thoughts on the following questions they discuss… Do you have a reading summer plan? Do you read different types of books for different seasons? When you travel do you read about the country you are in? Do you read more? Where do you like to settle with a good book? What is your worst reading habit?

Next time on The Readers () Thomas and Simon will be back in a fortnights time. Simon will also be back next Tuesday on You Wrote The Book with (he knows now) author Niven Govinden. On Friday it is the first in the The Readers Book Club autumn selection with James Smythe’s ‘The Explorer’ and Gavin is back! Simon and Gavin chat to James about the book as well as having Kate and Rob of Adventures With Words joining them for the spoiler section –oooh! Until then…

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Ep. 81; Getting To Know The New Host & Reading Horizons…

For the 81st episode of The Readers all is revealed (well within reason) with Simon’s new co-host, but who on earth is it? What are their reading tastes? Will they have the banter? All will be revealed in todays show…

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Getting to Know the New Co-Host () So we thought for the first episode with the new line up of hosts we would get you to send in questions to ask Simon’s new co-host and you have in your droves. But who is the new co-host, well we think we have teased you enough, Simon is joined (from Washington DC) by Thomas Otto and it all gets a little bit international and granny fiction based, yet all very bearded…

054 Thomas

Reading Horizons () To get to know Thomas a little better, Simon thought it would be a good idea to get them talking about the books they have read and the books they are reading and the ones that they want to read…

  

Thomas has read: The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
He is currently reading: A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth & After Claude by Iris Owens
He isn’t sure what he will be reading next, which is helpful. Ha!

  

Simon has read: The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene
He is currently reading : Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Next he will be reading: The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen

Next time on The Readers () Simon and Thomas will be back with some more book based banter, if their is anything you would like them to discuss as topics for the show then let them know. Simon will also be back next Tuesday with You Wrote The Book where he is joined by debut author Hannah Kent who many are predicting huge things from… Until then, happy reading!

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Ep. 80; Goodbye Gavin, The Booker, Greene For Gran, Life’s Too Short & Reading Horizons

It is a slightly emotional 80th episode of the Readers as it is going to be the last for Gavin, well the last for Gavin for quite some time but we will explain as the show goes on. To make up for your loss in this episode there is more bookish banter than there has been for quite some time with more book recommendations than you would believe…

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Goodbye Gavin () Simon is back again this week after his time away but it is to say farewell to Gavin for quite some time. After almost two years with the Readers, can you believe it’s that long, Gavin really needs a break and so he is going behind the scenes for a while (with a break from twitter and blogging planned too) to produce the show but he won’t be hosting, apart from for the monthly Book Club episodes… Simon is getting an all new co-host to join him, all will be revealed next week.

The Readers Autumn Book Club, The Booker and Greene For Gran () In this rambling section of the show Gavin and Simon go through lots of bits and bobs. First up the Readers Autumn Book Club with ‘The Explorer’ by James Smythe (September), ‘HHhH’ by Laurent Binet (October) and ‘I Remember You’ by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (November), all pictured below. They then have a natter about the Man Booker longlist before discussing #GreeneForGran a project that Simon has set up in honour of his Gran to get everyone reading her favourite author.

Life’s Too Short () Simon’s Gran also inspires the main section of the show as he and Gavin discuss if life is simply too short for bad books, why they might implement a fifty page rule each, why clearing out your books every so often is a good idea and why saving a book for a rainy day is just a pointless notion. What do you think?

Reading Horizon’s () What Gavin and Simon have read, are reading and really quite fancy reading next…

Gavin has read: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
He is currently reading: The Restless Mind by Gyalwa Dokhampa
He wants to read: Terra by Mitch Benn
And also read: The Emperor of Paris by CS Richardson

Simon can’t shut up about: Alex by Pierre Lemaitre
He is currently reading: Let The Games Begin by Niccolo Ammaniti
He wants to read: The Cuckoo Calling by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling
And he fancies: Seeking Mr Hare by Maurice Leitch

Next time on The Readers () And so that is it, a new chapter (pun intended) starts next fortnight with Simon and his new co-host and head to GoodReads to see how you can make the first episode of a new phase happen. Gavin will be back with Simon on the second Friday of September for ‘The Explorer’ with James Smythe, Simon is back solo next Tuesday with You Wrote The Book and the aforementioned Niccolo Ammaniti. Until then, happy reading!

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Ep. 77; Our Best Picks of Books in Late 2013

This week on the Readers it is that time, as we reach the halfway point of the year which has come far too quickly, where Gavin and Simon take a look at the books that they are most looking forward to in the second half of the year. HOWEVER, this time they did it with a difference as Gavin gave Simon the strict orders that they must choose books that everyone wouldn’t already be hearing about (Margaret Atwood, Stephen King etc) and go off the beaten track a little. So what did they come up with?

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The Readers Picks of Books Late 2013…

Gavin chose…

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie Human
Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
The Golum and the Djinn by Helen Wecker
Let the Games Begin by Niccolo Ammaniti
The Man with the Compound Eyes by Wu Ming-Yi
Babayaga by Toby Barlow
The Ghost Hunters by Neil Spring
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Closed for Winter by Jorn Lier Horst
The Two Hotel Francforts by David Leavitt
Equilateral: A Novel by Ken Kalfus

Simon’s choices are…

Let The Games Begin by Niccolo Ammaniti
Mr Lynch’s Holiday by Catherine O’Flynn
Almost English by Charlotte Mendleson
Sufficient Grace by Amy Espeseth
Buriel Rites by Hannah Kent
Witches by Tracy Borman
Speaking Volumes by Romona Koval
Like A House on Fire by Cate Kennedy
Fearie Stories by Stephen Jones
Ghost Hunters by Neil Spring
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death by Martyn Waites
The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian
Books by Charlie Hill

So there’s roughly (as they meet in the middle on a few titles) Simon and Gavin’s books to watch out for in the coming months. Have any tempted you? Which books are you most looking forward to reading in the rest of 2013?

Next time on The Readers () Simon and Gavin will be back with more book based banter. Don’t forget that next Friday, the 11th, will be the latest Readers Book Club with Jess Richards and her debut novel ‘Snake Ropes’. Until then…

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Ep 76; Iain Banks, Should We Be More Lenient With Debuts & Signed Books

This week on the Readers we are slightly more UK wide than normal as Simon joins Gavin on the phone from the depths of Derbyshire, so bear with the quality on occasion – we are sorry but we wanted to make sure you got a show this week. The topics for discussion this week are leniency with debut authors (after Simon and Gavin had a small tete a tete on the Tarquin Hall podcast last Friday) and also Gavin brings up the subject of personally signed books. They also pay a small (very Readers-like) tribute to Iain Banks.

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Iain Banks () In the first ‘catch up’ part of the show Simon and Gavin thought it would be nice to pay tribute to Iain Banks, who both Simon and Gavin are fans of and who sadly passed away the week before last. They discuss the legacy he leaves behind, why they have loved his work and also how he is inspiring them both to read out of their comfort zone.

Iain Banks 1954 – 2013

Should We Be More Lenient With Debut Novels? () If you listened to the latest Readers Book Club last Friday then you would have heard things get a little heated between our hosts in the third section of that show. Gavin felt Simon should be a little more lenient with a debut author and Simon didn’t see why he should. So to cut a row on that episode they decided to have it this week and, rather than arguing, they discuss if we should be more lenient with debuts and look over their faults more fairly or if we should judge them like any other book. Gavin thinks the former, Simon thinks the latter, whose side are you on?

Simon's very special copy of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's 'The Prisoner of Heaven'.

Simon’s very special copy of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s ‘The Prisoner of Heaven’.

Signed Books () Gavin went to see Neil Gaiman this week just passed and the venue went from being a book shop to a 2,500 sold out venue. This of course meant that the signing system changed and so if people were in a rush they could simply get a pre-signed one. Gavin had to do this and was a little sad as he would have liked the time to chat, even for 10 seconds to Neil and also get his book personalised. Yet when he mentioned this on Twitter some people thought he was being a snob, but why? Gavin and Simon discuss why they love getting books signed personally, even when they havent been there! They discuss the times when not meeting the author would be fine and so a generic one would do. But wouldn’t everyone like a personally signed book for their own libraries if they could? What are your thoughts on signed books?

Next Time on the Readers () The Readers will be back in two weeks with more book based banter. If there is anything you would like them to discuss email bookbasedbanter@gmail.com Simon will be back next Tuesday with You Wrote The Book and is joined by the wonderful Evie Wyld (who is also his mate so expect a good interview) and don’t forget the next Readers Book Club title is ‘Snake Ropes’ by Jess Richards which will go live on July 12th. Until next time…

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