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’.

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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 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.

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The Readers Episode 47; Seasonal Reading, Classically Challenged & Books We’ve Bought, Read & Are Going To Read Next

This week on The Readers our hosts Gavin and Simon are back to their usual routine of set topics. First up we have seasonal reading, then we catch up with them and (in a slight twist from normal) see what they have been buying, reading, are currently reading and want to read next. Oh and AJ, Simon’s guest co-host from a few weeks ago, is back to have a chat with Simon about a new challenge they are undertaking all sparked off when they were recording The Readers that week.

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Reading Seasonally () Simon is currently in his element as his favourite season, Autumn, has hit the UK. As the trees turn brown and things get sparser and slightly more sinister (and with the fogs coming in) and it is the perfect time for him to pull out his favourite murder mysteries and Victorian sensation novels. So he wondered if Gavin, or indeed any of you, did the same or indeed if you read different things in different seasons.

Classically Challenged () Simon is joined by AJ for a brief interlude as they discuss their new reading adventure together ‘Classically Challenged’. This will involve reading a classic of each of these ‘canon authors’; Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, Thomas Hardy and George Elliott. They are also being helped out by Oxford University Press who are giving away free books.

What We Have Bought in Bulk Read, Are Reading and Want to Read Next… () In a slight twist to the normal ‘what we have read, are reading and want to read next’ Gavin and Simon catch up on some recent book shopping they have both, rather naughtily, been on. In fact they discuss so many books we can’t keep up or put them all in the show notes at the moment, but we will update it in due course.

Next Week on the Readers () Gavin and Simon will be discussing their favourite series and why they like having a series to read, they will also be talking about 1001 Books to Read Before You Die

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The Readers Episode 20; Childrens Books & YA Novels

This week Simon and Gav get down with the kids, well with kids books, and we have two little helpers who join in for small scene stealing roles. First up they discuss an article on ‘all children under eleven should read Dickens’ should they really? They then talk about young adult and crossover fiction before giving out their top three books they think will get ‘the youth of today’ reading. There is also a lot of laughing, be warned.

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What The Dickens Should Children Be Reading? () In the first segment of this week’s episode Gavin and Simon talk about an article in the Independent where the UK’s schools minister, Nick Gibb, has said ‘all children under 11 should read Dickens’ Claire Tomalin doesn’t agree and neither do Simon and Gavin. Instead they ponder what kids should read, what they read and what some of you suggested too.

Young Adult Books () Simon has been testing the waters with young adult books on and off in the last month. What are his findings and what do Gavin and Simon think of adults reading YA books? As the discussion goes on they realise slowly but surely that they might be out of their depth with this topic…

Three Books The Readers Recommend for Young Readers () instead of their regular ‘what we’ve read, what we are reading and what we want to read next’ Gavin and Simon share three books each they would recommend.

Gav recommends:


‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R. Tolkien, ‘The Twits’ by Roald Dahl and ‘The Wee Free Men’ by Terry Pratchett

Simon recommends:


‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ by Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl and any of the Ladybird Editions of well known Fairytales.

Until next week…

The Readers Episode 19; Essie Fox and Victorian Literature

In this weeks episode of The Readers we head back to the Victorian era and the dark gas lit times of mystery as we talk ‘The Somnambulist’ with it’s author Essie Fox who stays to join us for a discussion on Victorian Literature of its time and the modern twists authors give it now. From Charles Dickens to Sarah Waters and all those in between there’s a lot for the lover of Victorian tales and those who want to dip a tentative toe into the genre. Apologies for some wobbles in sound!

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Essie Fox and The Somnambulist (0:0:42) we are joined by author Essie Fox for this weeks show as we discuss her debut novel ‘The Somnambulist’ which has been chosen as one of the UK’s TV Book Club Choices. From inspiration to cover changes, the writing process and the research required Gav and Simon discuss another of their joint reads with the author.


Victorian Literature, Then and Now (0:46:40) Why do we still love reading the Victorian classics from Dickens to Wilkie Collins? What is the appeal of Jack the Ripper? Why are authors still so keen to write set in that period? Simon and Gavin, joined by Essie Fox who hosts her own Victorian website discuss just this. Gav brings Steampunk into the equation and Simon and Essie discuss their favourite modern authors works set at the time. Its all part of this Victorian special.

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