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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The Readers – Episode 13; Boxing Day Books & Our Books of 2011

Firstly we hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and got all the presents books that you hoped for. In the festive mood, and possibly after too many glasses of sherry, on episode thirteen of the Readers Simon and Gavin talk festive books and their best books of 2011, but what will they be…

Festive Reads (02.21) Stuffed with turkey (or goose in Simon’s case) and surrounded by unwrapped presents The Readers catch up with each other hidden away from the family mayhem to talk books. Which books are Gavin and Simon reading over Christmas, why have they chosen them and why is Christmas such a perfect time to read?

The Readers Books of 2011 (08.32) As soon as Christmas is over thoughts turn to the New Year and Gavin and Simon decided it was time to announce their top five books of 2011… only they both cheated and had a list of six. You can also hear the sherry go to Simon’s head as he gets the impromptu giggles at one of Gavin’s choices… oops, could this reignite the Lit vs SFF war at a time of peace and goodwill to all men? The books they mention are (but you have to listen to them to find out more and in what order)…

Simon’s Top Six

  

  

Gavin’s Top Six

  

  

Both of them may well do posts on their separate blogs to talk about these further and a few extra titles, we will give you links to their posts when they appear in due course.

What have your favourite books of 2011 been? Do let us know in the comments below!

Next week on The Readers (44.56) it will be 2012 and a whole New Year will have started. Gavin and Simon will be talking about and making some reading resolutions and also the books they are most excited about in the first half of 2012. What books are you looking forward to?

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The Readers – Episode 11; Funny Books, Catherine Hall, Green Carnations & LGBT Writing

For episode eleven Gavin and Simon discuss funny books, author Emma Jane Unsworth gives us her top recommended reads if you want a laugh and are joined for the second half of the show by Catherine Hall to talk about her recent winning of The Green Carnation Prize 2011, LGBT writing  and the books the three of them have read, been reading and want to read.

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We would also like to remind you that you have only got until this Friday to vote on The International Readers Awards 2011, so please do get voting and remember you could win a signed first edition of Jennifer Egan’s ‘A Visit From The Good Squad’

Funny Books (00.50) Gavin and Simon look at ‘funny books’ as with the ‘season to be jolly’ being in everyone’s head they want to know what genuinely funny books are out there and why novelty books dominate the book charts and shops at this time of year? Do you have any recommendations of hilarious novels?

Emma Jane Unsworth’s Top 5 Funny Books (13.34) the lovely, and very funny, Emma Jane Unsworth debut author of ‘Hungry, The Stars and Everything’ gives us her guide to five books that should have you smiling wryly or chuckling darkly.

Catherine Hall, The Green Carnation Prize, LGBT Writing (16.36) Gavin and Simon are joined by the author Catherine Hall whose second novel ‘The Proof of Love’ was declared winner of the Green Carnation Prize 2011 last week. They discuss the importance of nice prizes and The Green Carnation in particular, why you can’t get the book in America (though do get it through Book Depository if you’re an international listener, Simon says its amazing) and LGBT writing and why it causes some controversy still.

 

What We Have Read, Are Reading and Want to Read (36.19) We have nine titles to tempt you with as Catherine Hall stays with Gavin and Simon to share what books they have on their bedside tables.

   

Gav has just finished: The House of Silk by Anthony Horrowitz
He has just started: The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan
And wants to read: Hammered by Kevin Hearne

  

Catherine has just read: Ghosts By Daylight by Janine di Giovanni
Is reading: The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Can’t wait to get into: Mary Ann In Autumn by Armistead Maupin

  

Simon has re-read: Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
Is currently enjoying: The Hunger Trace by Edward Hogan
Is musing reading: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

Next week on The Readers (50.53) it’s getting frosty and arctic as we look as crimes in cold climates and snow filled Christmas books with a special guest, plus an interview with Yrsa Siguardardottir.

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You can subscribe to our weekly podcast on iTunes here.