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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11 thoughts on “Ep.85; Your Country in Ten (or Eleven) Books

  1. Pingback: Your Country in Ten(ish) Books… | Savidge Reads

  2. My US list for the South would have Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away or her short stories, Peter Taylor’s The Old Forest, Welty and Faulkner (the whole megillah). Also Cheever for New York, Hawthorne and Sarah Orne Jewett for New England although I’m strongly tempted to propose The Education of Henry Adams instead. For L.A. I’d pick Raymond Chandler and Joan Didion’s Slouching to Bethlehem. For the midwest, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. For the West, Charles Portis’s True Grit, or McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, or maybe Richard Ford’s story collection Rock Springs. Anne Tyler for the mid-Atlantic, especially Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant.

    Love the choice of The Professor’s House, and I’ll have to pick up Echo House — I couldn’t think of anything that really captured DC for me. Thinking up my list was about the most fun work break I’ve had this week. Thanks!

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    • Jayne, I wanted to limit my choices to books I have read and loved. Books that I would recommend even if it weren’t for a geographical link. I don’t know off hand if I have read much of anything out of the Pacific NW. Same thing with Hawaii, where I lived for two years. What would you choose if you had to put one on my list for the PNW?

      • I totally understand, Thomas. If I had to pick one from the PNW, I would probably have to pick Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. The reason being is that the book talks about what still is a major blackeye in the area, especially in regards to what happened to Japanese-Americans and Japanese-Canadians. My mom’s dad remembers when his good Japanese-Canadian friends didn’t show up to school one day.

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