The Readers Book Club; The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood

For the twelfth Readers Book Club, and the final in The Readers Book Club Summer Selection 2013 Simon and Gavin are joined by Jonathan Grimwood to talk about ‘The Last Banquet’ a literary tale of revolutionary France in the eighteenth century and

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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 Last Banquet’ by Jonathan Grimwood. 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 Jonathan Grimwood to talk about ‘The Last Banquet’. Where did the idea for the novel spring from? What lengths did Jonathan have to go to in order to describe the fantastical food and flavours (some icky ones) in the book? How much research was involved? Why the move from sci-fi to ‘literary’ fiction? And much, much more…

Simon and Gavin’s Thoughts () In this final section, brimming with spoilers (because you said you liked them) Simon and Gavin talk about the book in more detail. Be warned, and you can’t say we haven’t warned you, that they discuss the very ending of the book which to know would be to spoil. There is also some discussion of wenches and saucy shenanigans.


Next month on The Readers Book Club () We will be back on Friday the 13th, od dear, of September for the first in the Readers Book Club Autumn Selection 2013 choice which is… ‘The Explorer’ by James Smythe and promises to take us to some very dark places in space…

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The Readers Episode 28; The Readers Summer Book Club Titles & Should We Only Read Amazing Books?

It’s the big reveal this week of the eight titles for The Readers Summer Book Club which Gavin and Simon are really excited about, and we mean REALLY excited about. Gavin and Simon also debate the question ‘should we only read amazing books?’

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The Readers Summer Book Club Eight Titles (00.48) They are here; the eight books which we hope you will be joining in reading with us, sending your thoughts and even joining us on Skype to discuss over the summer. The way it will work is that Simon and Gavin will interview the authors then they will be joined by three guests (some of whom could be you) for shows from mid-May to mid-July. Here are the titles in order we will be reading them (dates to follow);

Pure by Andrew Miller
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
Packing For Mars by Mary Roach
Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
Bleakly Hall by Elaine di Rollo
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

If you would like to be a part of these special shows then you can email us via We will be announcing the dates of these shows in the next few episodes.

Should We Only Read Amazing Books? (29.29) Book clubs always bring up titles which we might not always read. You don’t know if they will be amazing or not… which begs the question ‘should we only be reading amazing books?’ Do we need to read the books that we don’t love so much to gage why we love the ones we do? Should our favourite authors be those who only write amazing books, or can they have a duff book every so often? Simon and Gavin discuss this and a fight, followed by giggles, almost ensues.

Next week on The Readers more book based banter, we will speak to you then.

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The Readers Episode 26; Three Generations of Readers

This week on The Readers we don’t have Gavin but we do have something rather special to make up for it. How often do we get to hear from three generations of readers and hear how the love of a book is passed through the family? Not very do we? However here on The Readers we do as Simon has interviewed his Gran, Mum and little sister (all who love to read) to talk about that in a ‘Savidge Readers Special.’ Apologies for a small silence in between two of the interview, this will be fixed.

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Three Generations of Readers; Simon’s Gran () First in our trio of interviews we have Simon’s Gran, or Dorothy as you might want to call her, a self starting reader who left her studies in order to work. How did she get hooked on reading by herself? How important was it to read to her children? Why does she read about the countries she visits before she goes? What are her thoughts on a Kindle? What books would she recommend? Who does she re-read in her seventies and why?

Three Generations of Readers; Simon’s Mum () Secondly, after a random silent pause, we have Simon’s Mum, Louise, an avid book worm as a child and now a teacher of English Literature to secondary school children from 11-16 year olds. Was the influence of her mother part of her love of reading? What is great about exciting children into reading? Why don’t children read a whole book at school and does it matter? What are her thoughts on the Kindle and the future of the book? Which authors does she love and recommend in her forties?

Three Generations of Readers; Simon’s Sister () Third and finally we have Simon’s sister, Miriam, who at 13 is in the middle of that young adult to adult transition of reading. Which books did she love as a child? What books and authors is she testing in the adult fiction market? Is reading cool at school?  Who does she turn to for her recommendations?

We hope you enjoyed this little special episode? We will both be back next week for our a show celebrating the fact we have lasted six months… Hoorah!

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The Readers Episode 25; Age Appropriate Books and Books That Make You Feel Grubby

This week on The Readers Gavin and (a slightly addled post surgery) Simon discuss books and the age you read them, we have listener Dom Agius’ top five books and Gavin and Simon discuss the books that make you feel ‘grubby’.

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Age Appropriate Books () Are there some books you should have read by the time you are a certain age? Do books only work for us at the right age or at the right point in our lives? Is it best to read Anne Frank when you are her age? Can you only get the most out of books like ‘The Sense of An Ending’ by Julian Barnes or ‘The Finkler Question’ by Harold Jacobson when you have reached a certain age? Simon and Gavin also look at books they feel they should have read earlier or books they should have left until later in life?

Dom Agius’ Top Five Books () The photographer, The Readers listener and good friend of Simon’s gives us his top five books. You can find out more about him here.

The Orton Diaries by Joe Orton
In Tearing Haste; The Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor edited by Charlotte Mosley
Pet Shop Boys Annually by Chris Heath
Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene in New York City by Chantal Regnault
Love in a Cold Climate & The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

Dirty Books, Grubby Books () Can books go too far? Simon read ‘First Love, Last Rights’ by Ian McEwan and finished it feeling grubby and shocked at himself for reading on because of the subject matter. In the same vein he also read Penny Hancock’s ‘Tideline’ and while it had some incredibly grubby moments he didn’t mind them so much because of the story. He and Gavin talk about the fine line between shocking to prove a point and shocking for the sake of it. When does it cross the line?

Next week on The Readers () We are six months old… we are plotting something special.

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The Readers Episode 23; Justin Torres & Giving Up On Books

This week on The Readers we have a visit from another wonderful author in the form of Justin Torres who joins Gavin and Simon to discuss his debut novel ‘We The Animals’. Gavin and Simon start the show with a discussion on when you should give up on a book.

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When Should We Give Up On A Book? (00.56) If you pick up a book any aren’t enjoying it, when should you give up? Should you read on and on, possibly feeling like you are wading through treacle, in order that you hope to be rewarding by a brilliant ending or a compelling and ground breaking last sentence? Simon and Gavin discuss this and let you know when they give up on a book and why they aren’t readers who have to read every book they start to the end.

Justin Torres & We The Animals (22.10) Gavin and Simon are thrilled to have been joined by Justin Torres in his first UK interview to discuss ‘We The Animals’ his debut novel, which became a huge word of mouth and cult hit in America within months of its release (we heard about it thanks to Books on the Nightstand), the week of its UK release. They discuss the success of the novel, its inspiration and much more…


Next week on The Readers (46.17) its back to just Simon and Gavin, and we can promise you lots and lots of book based banter.

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The Readers Episode 21; Bored of Books, Famous Authors and Stephanie Beacham

We’re 21!!! In our 21st episode (which is a bit of a mish mash of all sorts) we bring you a discussion on famous authors and celebrities becoming authors, before Simon catches up with TV and film icon Stephanie Beacham. We have the worrying news that Gav is bored of books and ask blogger Simon T of Stuck in a Book to give you his top five books.

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Famous Authors and Celebrity Writers (02.53) In the first topic of their 21st episode Simon and Gavin talk about famous authors. What makes an author become famous in modern times? Do people write to be famous? Can authors use their fame for good? What do we think about celebrities who become authors? Do they really write their own books? It’s all up for debate before Simon goes and meets an celebrity author himself…

Interview with Stephanie Beacham (15.48) Simon catches up with Stephanie Beacham to discuss her autobiography ‘Many Lives’. The talk about how it is to address your past, being on a book tour, starring in adaptations, the possibility of writing novels and just why she loves ‘lashings of ginger beer and pink lemonade’.

Bored of Books? (24.35) Earlier in the week Simon received a small bombshell text from Gavin announcing he was ‘bored of books’, he decided the best way to deal with Gav’s problem was to talk about it rather like therapy. We ponder if a book lover can ever become bored of books and how they might deal with it. Listen to hear how it goes; will Gav give up on books?

Simon T of Stuck in a Book’s Top 5 Books (35.38) We have the lovely blogger Simon T (he was the only Simon then our very Simon came along so they became Simon S and Simon T) who blogs at Stuck in a Book popping in to give us his top 5 books and what a lovely early 1900’s collection it is. Fancy some forgotten classics, then you’ll love his selection.

Next week on The Readers (41.50) we will be joined by a debut novelist everyone is talking about, Eowyn Ivey, and her book ‘The Snow Child’ (one of Simon and Gavins favourite books of the year so far) and also talking fairytales for adults. Until then…

The Readers – Episode Five

Episode five is a little different and not just because of the theme tune, we have no author interviews because you will be getting author overload in a mid/late-week special but we do have lots of nattering about more book awards and what Gav and Simon have been reading, are reading now and want to read.

Books in the News (00.48) Publishers Weekly have announced their top ten novels of the year… already? (02.32) The Green Carnation Prize 2011 shortlist has been announced and Gav interrogates it’s Chair, who happens to be his co-host Simon (07.21) The Galaxy National Book Awards 2011; who won, who was a contender and what Simon and Gavin think about it all.

There is no specific discussion this week (23.39) as we have a Manchester Literature Festival special coming with Kishwar Desai, Catherine O’Flynn, Patricia Dunker, Colm Toibin, Alan Hollinghurst and many more.

What we have been reading, are reading and want to read (24.20) Gavin and Simon discuss the latest books on their radars…


Gav has been reading: Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Gav is reading: The Floating Admiral by Members of the Detection Club
Gav is desperate to read: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey


Simon has been reading: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
Simon is reading: all the books by Joan Bakewell
Simon is gagging to read: I Am Half-Sick of the Shadows by Alan Bradley

Next week on The Readers (35.40) after a Manchester Literature Festival Special Gavin and Simon will be getting their deerstalkers out for a Sherlock special with none other than Anthony Horowitz, the game is afoot!

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The Readers – Episode Four

Welcome to the fourth episode of The Readers and a spooky special as we go live on Halloween. In this episode we discuss the same scary book, our first mutual read, Gav interviews Paul Magrs, we discuss supernatural vs. scary, have spooky recommendations from a lovely pair of bloggers and discuss the spooky stories we are reading, have read and will be reading.

We have both been haunted by the same book (00.52) randomly Gavin and Simon started reading (one of them finished it, one is halfway through so no spoilers) the same book Michelle Paver’s novel ‘Dark Matter’ and so decide to discuss it. Starting with the cover and discussing how scary it really is, this also includes a random shout out to Simon’s Mum (01.34) as she is in hospital having a big operation today… tangents hey? We will be doing another joint read for episode six in two weeks with Margaret Atwood’s collection of essays ‘In Other World’s’ so do feel free to join in.


Paul Magrs on The Readers (11.59) Gavin catches up with author Paul Magrs as his new novel ‘666 Charing Cross Road’ comes out, a suitably spooky, and rather bookish, tale that you could curl up with over Halloween, or just in these autumnal nights (well if you are in the UK).

Supernatural vs. Scary (29.03) Whilst we love the fact that all things supernatural have made the main street both with books like ‘Twilight’, or indeed with spooky funny shenanigans in books like Paul Magrs, police procedurals with magic like Ben Aaronovitch’s novels,  we wondered what on earth has happened to those utterly chilling or horrifying novels? Has horror just become hammy? Why aren’t those terrifying tales as popular as they once were? Has Halloween made the fearful a gimmick? Let us know your thoughts.

A trick or treat top ten spooky books from bloggers (38.42) the lovely Jared and Anne from the wonderful blog Pornokitsch (it is book based honestly) join us from the US of A to tell us their favourite spooky or supernatural reads for Halloween… and a very vocal cat called Agatha chips in too! Lots of books to add to the TBR piles.

What we will be reading, or already are, to creep ourselves out this week (52.00) so what are we planning on reading… Simon read ‘The English Ghost’ by Peter Ackroyd and didn’t get what he was expecting; he is halfway through ‘Florence and Giles’ by John Harding (which Gav loved). On his radar are ‘Visitation’ by Jenny Erpenbeck, a collection of ‘scary fairy tales’ by Ludmilla Petrishrushevskaya aptly called ‘There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbours Baby’ and two lit-fic books with supernatural elements ‘The Last Werewolf’ by Glen Duncan and ‘The Blue Book’ by A. L. Kennedy. Gavin is reading ‘Dark Matter’ as we mentioned earlier, next up he has ‘The Woman in Black’ by Susan Hill (trailer of the movie below – you might jump), an anthology called ‘The Weird’, ‘The Silent Land’ by Graham Joyce, the American gothic ‘Mr Shivers’ by Robert Jackson Bennett or possibly ‘15 Miles’ by Rob Scott.

The Woman in Black

And that’s quite enough spooky shenanigans for one episode. What would you recommend we pick up as a terrifying tale?

Next week… we haven’t organised a show yet, because we would like to know what you would like us to talk about? We do know Anthony Horowitz will be joining us though to discuss Sherlock Holmes and his new outing – maybe that will inspire something? So what topics would you like Gav and Simon to discuss next week, let us know.


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