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.

Get the RSS link for the podcast by clicking here.
You can subscribe to our weekly podcast on iTunes here.

Ep.67; Gav is Back, Kindle Conundrums & Commandments, Sequels & Spin Offs

Hooray and hoorah for Gavin is back this week, though a big, big, thank you to his stand-ins over the last two weeks. As they haven’t for a while, Gavin and Simon start with a catch up before Gavin outs Simons big secret… he has a Kindle and after the conundrum it started he has created some commandments. They also have a chat about spin offs and sequels and if an authors books should be left alone by other authors after they are dead.

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

Gavin is back () After two weeks of missing him on the main show, though you may have heard him on last weeks Readers Book Club with Bethan Roberts, Gavin is now back. So he and Simon have a right old natter about what they have both been up to whilst he has been off, well in Gavin’s case it is more what he has been reading while he has been sick than anything else, bless him.

Kindle Conundrums and Commandments () Well the thing that you never thought would happen has… Simon has a Kindle, though as he is keen to point out he didn’t buy it as it was in fact a gift for Valentines. This has left him a little conflicted, as he discusses, and so her has created a list of ten Kindle Commandments which Gavin and he go through. He also discusses how he hasn’t actually really used it that much yet and when he has it hasn’t been for reading!!

Spin Offs and Sequels () After an author dies should their books be left alone? This week it has been announced that Sebastian Faulks will be writing a new Jeeves and Wooster novel and so Gavin and Simon decided to discuss the tricky subject of spin offs and sequels, and indeed prequels. Some they love and some they don’t, they have a good old chin wag about it though.

Next time on The Readers () Simon and Gavin will be back next week with more book based banter. Stay tuned this week though for the first of Simon’s solo podcasts with the author Maggie O’Farrell which will be available in this feed for its first outing.

The Readers Book Club #7; My Policeman – Bethan Roberts

For the seventh Readers Book Club the spoilers have got even more spoiling with a new look to the show… there are even separate spoilers with the author now! Which is ideal with a book like ‘My Policeman’ by Bethan Roberts where the ending could allude to so much, but what? Join Simon and Gavin as they talk to Bethan about the books setting, the secrets it hides and how she got into the mind of a closeted gay man in a Brighton of the 50’s that wasn’t so forward thinking.

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

Introducing the Book () In the first section of the show Gavin and Simon introduce you, without any spoilers to this months Book Club ‘My Policeman’ by Bethan Roberts. They give you a hint to the premise as the novel starts out, a little hint or two here and there of the way the book carries a dark brooding atmosphere, interesting characters, the potential to break your heart and also some mysteries – all to make you want to read more.

An Interview with the Author () This month Simon and Gavin are joined Bethan Roberts to talk about ‘My Policeman’. What was the true story that sparked the book off? How difficult was it to make Marion, one of the narrators, so untrustworthy, angry and rather dislikeable on occasion so utterly compelling? Why does she really like to put her characters through their paces and give them such a hard time? And why was the policeman of the title such an enigma.

Simon & Gavin’s Thoughts () In this final section, brimming with spoilers (because you said you liked them) Simon and Gavin discuss the book further including the ending, which they then bring in Bethan’s thoughts on again, and also asking some listener questions and saying unabashedly what they thought of the book overall. We know Simon loved it, but did Gavin?

Next month on The Readers Book Club () We will be back on the 12th of April (to give you more time to read it as this one was delayed) for the next Readers Book Club choice which is… ‘The Panopticon’ by Jenni Fagan. This is a book Gavin and Simon have been meaning to talk to you about for weeks and so decided, why not make it a book group choice – as it is a little sci-fi this could be an interesting month for Simon!

Get the RSS link for the podcast by clicking here.
You can subscribe to our weekly podcast on iTunes here.

The Readers Book Club #6; Tom-All-Alone’s/The Solitary House – Lynn Shepherd

For the sixth Readers Book Club you have spoken and we have listened, the spoilers are back! This month we are joined by the lovely Lynn Shepherd to discuss her second novel, doubly titled ‘Tom-All-Alone’s’ and ‘The Solitary House’ depending where you are in the world. This is a tale of mystery and murder in Victorian London and tells a tale that runs alongside Charles Dickens novel ‘Bleak House’.

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

Introducing the Book () In the first section of the show Gavin and Simon introduce you, without any spoilers to this months Book Club title ‘Tom-All-Alone’s/The Solitary House’ by Lynn Shepherd. They give you a hint to the premise as the novel starts out, dicuss some of the aspects (like the title of the book in this case) and things that they liked about it plus their thoughts on the book overall without giving anything away.

An Interview with the Author () This month Simon and Gavin are joined by Lynn Shepherd to discuss her novel ‘Tom-All-Alone’s’, or ‘The Solitary House’ as it is known in North America. They talk about the book, again with no spoilers, the influence of ‘Bleak House’ on the novel, the delights and complications of writing a book that veres off another, and indeed very famous, novel, the narration and telling of the book and the wonders and gritty truths of the Victorian era.

 

Simon & Gavin’s Thoughts () In this section, brimming with spoilers (because you said you liked them) Simon and Gavin discuss ‘Tom-All-Alone’s/The Solitary House’ with a sense of hindsight and being able to spill all the beans properly. Did they both enjoy it? Could they work out the mystery at the heart of the novel and what did they think about it when they did?

Next month on The Readers Book Club () We will be back on the 1st of March for the next Readers Book Club choice which is… one of Simon’s favourite books of 2012, ‘My Policeman’ by Bethan Roberts, a tale of one man and his two lovers, one of whom he must keep a secret of at all cost as it is the 1950s and the world is not an understanding place, be prepared to be very moved.

Get the RSS link for the podcast by clicking here.
You can subscribe to our weekly podcast on iTunes here.