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’.

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 () 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.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. 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…

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

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. 78; In Memory Of Dorothy Savidge

Sadly this weekend Simon’s Gran (and one of his most bookish influences) passed away after a year long battle with cancer. This week as a special episode in honour of a rather wonderful woman Gavin and Simon thought it would be nice to repeat an episode from last year where Simon’s Gran, mother and little sister all talk about the books they love and also shows how Dorothy’s influence with books passed on many generations.

Simon and his Gran...

Simon and his Gran…

Dorothy Savidge 1941 – 2013. A woman who will be greatly missed though her reading and bookish legacy will live on through her children and grandchildren who will pass it on in turn (to anyone they can frankly). We would also like to dedicate this episode to Estelle Kindness, Michael Kindness’ mother who also passed away this weekend.

We will be back in two weeks.

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Ep 75; Fiction Uncovered, Reading Breaks & Social Reading

Welcome back Simon to the Readers this week (though big thanks to Jared for covering for him while he was off) for another episode of book based banter. This week Simon wants to talk about one of his favourite initiatives Fiction Uncovered and, after having not read a book for THREE WEEKS, he wants to discuss reading breaks and re-evaluating our reading habits. Gavin wants to discuss the pro’s and con’s of social reading and the part social media now plays when you pick up a book. It is a show brimming with subjects, even if we say so ourselves.

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

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Fiction Uncovered () After Gavin and Simon briefly discuss Simon’s hospital addiction they skip the normal catch up to discuss the book initiative Fiction Uncovered. This has swiftly become one of Simon’s favourite yearly initiatives, though Gav needs a bit more of a push as it’s quite literary, as there is no single winner but eight! You see the judges of the prize choose a selection of brilliant books that have gone, unjustly they feel, under the radar in prize listings or review pages. Simon and Gavin discuss the eight books and the initiative in a little more depth.

 

Reading Breaks and Re-Evaluations () Simon has not read a book for THREE WEEKS, no really… THREE WEEKS. Yet this is oddly through choice, as lots has been going on personally for him he has decided to take some time away from books and the bookish world. How does it feel to do that? Do we need a bookish break from time to time to re-evaluate and when we do what do we spot about ourselves as readers and the habits we didn’t really think we had?

Social Reading () From the rather maudlin and anti-social subject Simon brings up Gavin goes to the opposite extreme as he wants to discuss Social Reading. By this he doesn’t mean book groups though, well not ones who meet face to face. How have blogs, Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads, Instagram, podcasts etc changed how we read? What are the pro’s and con’s? Does too much social media buzz put you off? Are you doing your social media about books more than you are picking them up? Gavin and Simon have a good old natter about it and would love your thoughts too.

Next time on The Readers () Simon and Gavin will be back in two weeks with more book based banter proper. However they will be back a week on Friday for the latest in The Readers Book Club with Tarquin Hall, plus Simon is back next Tuesday on You Wrote The Book with another guest author.

Ep 74; On Small Publishing and Raising Genre’s Game

Simon is away spending time with his Gran so this episode Gavin is joined by Jared Shurin publisher, blogger, and campaigner for progressive, intelligent and entertaining works that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic.

Even though Gavin missed Simon it was a fascinating episode to do.

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

On Small Publishing() Gavin interrogates Jared all aspects on running Jurassic London and life as a publisher.

Raising Genre’s Game()

Gavin and Jared discuss how genre is addressing the issue of quality and if it does need addressing at all?

June’s Book Club Book is…

The Case of the Missing Servant

The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall

The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall

Next time on The Readers there will be more book based banter.

Ep 73; A Book A Year and Supporting Your Favourite Authors

And after what seems like ages, and yet oddly also seems to have flown by, The Readers are back in their new fortnightly appearances. Have you missed us? In this episode Gavin and Simon have a big old catch up after a few weeks of not speaking books, though they have been in touch about lots of other things, as well as looking at how we can support our favourite authors (as well as simply reading their books) and the whole ‘one book a year’ deal which some authors have, is it a good thing or a bad one?

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 () So what have Gavin and Simon been up to in the last few weeks. Well Simon has been working on the Liverpool Literature Festival and so had been in a bookish heaven. Gavin has been poorly again. They also have a chat about some bits of bookish news like the Arthur C Clarke Award winner.

Supporting Your Favourite Authors () When Gavin text Simon earlier in the week and said ‘let’s talk about supporting your favourite authors’ Simon was slightly bemused and responded with the simplistic ‘you buy or read their books you wally’, he couldn’t really see there was much to discuss. Well, as is sometimes (only sometimes though) the case when it came to it there was actually quite a lot to discuss. Does following them on Twitter and Facebook count to supporting them? What about reviews on Amazon and GoodReads? Or going to events and book signings? Gavin and Simon have a good old chat about it, but what do you think?

Agatha could write a book a year…

A Book A Year () Simon was at an event the other night when one of the authors he was hosting told him how she would like to be writing two books a year. Simon’s face nearly fell off with shock. How could this be possible? Then it made him think, actually a lot of his favourite series, mainly crime, come out once a year, every year. So he started thinking about it and talking with people one of whom said ‘well why would you read an author who writes a book a year, clearly they can’t be very good or they wouldn’t be so easy to write’. Whilst not agreeing this made Simon think all the more and so he brought it up with Gavin. They discuss the authors who write a book, or two or three, a year and if those books are good or not? Why it seems its more crime than any other genre that does this? Plus much more… What are your thoughts?

Next time on The Readers () Simon and Gavin will be back in two weeks with more book based banter proper. However they will be back on Friday for the latest in The Readers Book Club with Catherynne M Valente, plus Simon is back next Tuesday on You Wrote The Book with the lovely Damian Barr.

Ep.66; The Stella Prize, Book Groups & Discovering A New Favourite Author

Poor Gavin is still sick and so Simon has brought back the lovely Kim of Reading Matters, who joined us for episode nine way, way, way back. They discuss The Stella Awards, Book Groups (as they started again) and discovering your new favourite author.

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 & The Stella Prize () Simon and Kim have a natter about what they have been reading this week, Kim has been reading ‘Under The Skin’ by Michel Faber and is finding she is grimly fascinating so they have a natter about that. They also have a chat about The Stella Prize which have started in Kim’s homeland of Australia and are a new prize just for women, rather like The Women’s Prize for Literature, which they also have a natter about.

Book Groups () As Kim and Simon started a book group together about six years ago, Simon has since left as he moved cities, Simon thought that it would be a great time to discuss setting up book groups, how to host that tricky first meeting, what books make a great book group choice and how you manage it going forward from their experiences and why they joined in the first place. We would love to know your thoughts on book groups and what works and what doesn’t and how you set yours up, or why you chose the one you joined.  

Kent Haruf

Discovering a New Favourite Author () Kim brought a delightful topic to The Readers this week as she wanted to discuss the joy of when you find a new author whose voice you love and you are so amazed by that you are sure they will be a favourite author of the future and you buy everything by them. Simon and Kim discuss this readers ‘high’ and when they have gone on to find favourites as well as when things might not have gone quite as well as they hoped. They also discuss favourite authors from when they were younger and if they have lasted and secret favourites no one else seems to have discovered yet. Have you ever had those tingles when reading an author for the first time? Did you rush off and buy all of their other work and did it go well or was it a one book wonder for you? Did you binge on the author or do you space them out?

Next time on The Readers () Simon and Gavin will be back on Friday this week for The Readers Book Group with Bethan Roberts. They will both be back this time next week for more book based banter and Gavin will reveal Simon’s big secret he has been hiding for two weeks!

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Ep.65; Being a Debut Author and LGBT Literature

This week sadly Gavin is sick, so Simon has roped in author Kerry Hudson, whose first novel ‘Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma’ came out last year, as this weeks special co-host. They discuss being a debut author and also, as Kerry is one of the Green Carnation Prize judges for 2013, LGBT Literature as here in the UK it is LGBT History Month.

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

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Catching Up () Simon and Kerry have a natter about what they have been reading in the last week. Kerry has been reading much better stuff than Simon, who has been having rather a bad week after his encounter with ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ and also after he has been banned from reading for a few days.

Being a Debut Author () A few weeks ago Gavin and Simon discussed their thoughts on debut novels and debut novelists as readers. Having Kerry as a special co-host this week Simon thought it would be really interesting to hear what it is like from the debut authors perspective, and so he grills Kerry. They discuss if everything but the kitchen sink goes into your first novel, if you think it will ever have an audience and the highs and lows of it all, plus what tips Kerry has for debut-novelists-to-be.

LGBT Literature () It is LGBT History Month in the UK and The Green Carnation Prize (which Simon co-founded and Kerry is now one of the judges of for 2013) has been launched for 2013 this week so it seemed a prime time to talk about LGBT Literature. Why do people outside the LGBT world sometimes find the idea of an LGBT novel off putting? What has happened to the heritage of LGBT literature, why have most ‘gay classics’ now become out of print with the exception of a minority of main stream authors? Lots to discuss.

Next time on The Readers () Simon will be back next week with another special guest and much more book based banter, the Readers Book Club will now be a week on Friday when Gavin should be better.

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