The Readers – Episode Eight; Reading Challenges & More

In our 8th episode we discuss ‘No Time for Novels’, reading challenges, the wonderful Ann and Michael from Books on the Nightstand join us (sort of) and we tell you what we have been reaidng, are reading and really want to read.

No Time for Novels (00.57) Gavin and Simon discuss an article in the Guardian that suggests as the world is going down the pan we should all stop reading fiction and be facing facts with non-fiction, economy books and biographies. Really? Gavin and Simon have a few things to say on the matter.

From Birthdays to Bunkers… Reading Challenges are in the air as Gavin has set himself a 33 Books for 33 Challenge (06.31) starting on his birthday this Thursday (send cards, books, etc) and Simon has decided he is Reading Like it’s the End of the World (11.06) starting on December the 21st 2011 for a year. They discuss the possible pitfalls and delights of both these challenges. What do you think?


We are chuffed to bits to have the legendary podcast hosts Ann and Michael of Books on the Nightstand and Their Top Five Books (14.01) seriously you wouldn’t believe how excited this made us. We aren’t telling you what they are, you have to listen. You can hear us assessing their lists (24.08) afterwards and adding books to both our TBR piles.

What we’ve read, what we are reading and what we want to read (27.50) Gavin and Simon discuss the latest books on their radars…


Gav is reading: Reamde by Neal Stephenson
Gav is keen to read: Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz Go to War Again by Garth Nix


Simon has read: Crime – Ferdinand  Von Schirach
Simon is reading: V for Vendetta – Alan Moore and David Lloyd
He’s exceptionally eager to read: You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead – Marieke Hardy (if you want to know what Marieke said that Gav wont let Simon repeat then go here)

Next week on The Readers (36.51) we will have the lovely Kim of Reading Matters joining us as a co-host, and we aren’t sure what we will be talking about but we know it will be fun; we have Polly of Novel Insights Top 5 Books and an interview with author Sarah Hall.

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10 thoughts on “The Readers – Episode Eight; Reading Challenges & More

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  5. Don’t let an opinion writer get you worked up by suggesting that now is not the time for fiction, it is in the newspaper columnist’s job spec to provoke. Meanwhile, iIf you would like a half-way option, you could always try a novelist’s non-fictional take on the mess we are in by reading Margaret Atwood’s “Payback”. This was a series of talks for Canadian radio, written back when the trouble started in 2008/09. Incredibly, she manages to get a few laughs out of the subject of debt. My favourite chapter is the one which highlights the importance of debt in nineteenth century novels, notably A Christmas Carol and, less obviously, The Mill on the Floss.

    • Oh no we know David, I was actually thankful to Zoe for doing the piece as it gave us something to have a moan about, erm, I mean discuss. I would very much like to read Margaret Atwood’s ‘Payback’ actually thats a great suggestion David thank you.

  6. Wow, when did Ann and Michael become “legendary”? I haven’t listened to this podcast yet, but just wanted to let you know that I heard about The Readers from BOTNS and am listening to your podcasts from the start (on #2).
    Being Canadian, I appreciate any explanations about references to all things UK that might not have crossed the pond.
    Carry on.

    • Since when havent Ann and Michael been legendary. We think Books on the Nightstand is amazing and we have been thrilled that we have been able to do a little podcast swapping of sounds.

      If ever we talk about something thats only UK specific do let us know and we will try and redress the balance. Thanks so much for commenting. The podcasts do get better, around episode seven we get our groove on.

      • Yes, I’m now on episode 8 and the podcasts are definitely getting better and better. I like the snappy intros, and the music, and you make it easier to know what segment you’re in. I generally listen to podcasts while driving, so can’t always pay as close attention as I’d like, and certainly can’t write down titles, so I have to try to remember them until I stop. In the Manchester event podcast, you interviewed a couple authors and at the end I had no idea what their names were or what they’d written. (Hint: repeat it clearly again at the end of the interview!)
        I love the UK vocabulary (I had to look up “stonking”) and have one request: can you give a brief intro to Rich and Judy? I have heard of them, and looked at their website, but it would be interesting to know where they fit in culturally. Naturally I have been exposed to Oprah (though I’ve never watched her), so wonder about R&J.

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