Ep.83; Man Oh Man Booker & Lengthy Illuminations By The Luminaries

This fortnight on The Readers sees a possible case of America vs. the UK as Thomas and Simon discuss the latest changes to the Man Booker Prize which has had everyone talking this week. Simon also uses the Man Booker, and Eleanor Catton’s shortlisted ‘The Luminaries’ to have a big talk about big books…

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Catching Up () As has become a regular thing now on the readers, our two hosts have a catch up about what bookish things have been going on since the last show. This week it seems Simon has little to update us on but Thomas has been doing some Savidge approved reading with Agatha Raisin and Daphne Du Maurier.

Man Oh Man Booker () Unless you have been on a lovely holiday somewhere, very busy or simply missed it, you might know that there has been quite the furore over the new Man Booker changes that will be taking effect from 2014. It is no longer just the commonwealth countries that will be eligible, now any book written in English published between September 2013 and September 2014 will be eligible. BUT now publishers will be able to submit less unless they have previous longlisted titles. Simon is furious. He rants talks about the pro’s (he can only see two small ones) and the con’s of this with Thomas and why he is worried about the Americans, topical, might end up taking over.

Big Books

Lengthy Illuminations By The Luminaries () Simon has been reading, well still technically is reading though is having a small break, ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton which weighs in at a pretty hefty 900 pages. As he has been struggling to really get to grips with it, due to limited reading timing and it being too heavy to commute with, he decided to talk to Thomas about long books (which was perfect as Thomas has just finished Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’. So they discuss long books at length; why we read them, how we read them and how short stories and long stories both manage to have such power in such different ways.

Next time on The Readers () Simon and Thomas will be back in two weeks with more book based banter. Simon is back next Tuesday with You Wrote The Book where he will be joined by Erin Kelly to discuss ‘The Burning Air’ and crime and psychological thrillers. Don’t forget the next Readers Book Group (with Gavin and Simon) will be back on October the 11th with Laurent Binet and ‘HHhH’.

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Ep.66; The Stella Prize, Book Groups & Discovering A New Favourite Author

Poor Gavin is still sick and so Simon has brought back the lovely Kim of Reading Matters, who joined us for episode nine way, way, way back. They discuss The Stella Awards, Book Groups (as they started again) and discovering your new favourite author.

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Catching Up & The Stella Prize () Simon and Kim have a natter about what they have been reading this week, Kim has been reading ‘Under The Skin’ by Michel Faber and is finding she is grimly fascinating so they have a natter about that. They also have a chat about The Stella Prize which have started in Kim’s homeland of Australia and are a new prize just for women, rather like The Women’s Prize for Literature, which they also have a natter about.

Book Groups () As Kim and Simon started a book group together about six years ago, Simon has since left as he moved cities, Simon thought that it would be a great time to discuss setting up book groups, how to host that tricky first meeting, what books make a great book group choice and how you manage it going forward from their experiences and why they joined in the first place. We would love to know your thoughts on book groups and what works and what doesn’t and how you set yours up, or why you chose the one you joined.  

Kent Haruf

Discovering a New Favourite Author () Kim brought a delightful topic to The Readers this week as she wanted to discuss the joy of when you find a new author whose voice you love and you are so amazed by that you are sure they will be a favourite author of the future and you buy everything by them. Simon and Kim discuss this readers ‘high’ and when they have gone on to find favourites as well as when things might not have gone quite as well as they hoped. They also discuss favourite authors from when they were younger and if they have lasted and secret favourites no one else seems to have discovered yet. Have you ever had those tingles when reading an author for the first time? Did you rush off and buy all of their other work and did it go well or was it a one book wonder for you? Did you binge on the author or do you space them out?

Next time on The Readers () Simon and Gavin will be back on Friday this week for The Readers Book Group with Bethan Roberts. They will both be back this time next week for more book based banter and Gavin will reveal Simon’s big secret he has been hiding for two weeks!

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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 Nine; Books, Blogging & Culling

It’s a very bookish and blogging episode as we are joined by Kim of Reading Matters (who actually introduced Gavin and Simon to each other) for a very book based banter filled show. From book blogs and adding lots of titles onto your TBR’s to having to cull and clear out we discuss getting books and getting rid. The lovely Polly of the book blog Novel Insights gives us her top five books and of course, as always, we share what we’ve been reading and want to read.

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We talk Book Blogging (00.58) with special guest Kim we discuss why we blog about books, what we love about the book blogosphere and if it has changed us as readers?

Polly of Novel Insights Top 5 Books (22.27) we asked book blogger Polly to give us her top five books and what a treat they are for you, she is also a prime example of a blogger who is inspired by other bloggers on what to read next!

How do you cull books and why? (29.51) Kim also kindly joins us for a debate on culling those ever growing TBR’s. Can you ever have too many books? How do people cope with the one book out one book in rule, and how on earth can Gavin already be culling his Kindle?

What we have read, are reading, and really want to read next (40.36) We have nine titles to tempt you with as Gavin and Simon are also joined by Kim to share what books they have had on their blogger brains.


Gav has just read and loved (shock, horror): Thud by Terry Pratchett
He has just started: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
And quite fancies: Starlight by Stella Gibbons


Kim has just read and adored: Leaving Ardglass by William King
Is twenty odd pages into: Shadowstory by Jennifer Johnston
Can’t wait to get into: Bloodland by Alan Glynn


Simon has been blown away by: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier
Is currently enjoying: Hungry, The Stars and Everything by Emma Jane Unsworth
Is very excited about starting: The Man Who Rained by Ali Shaw

Next week on The Readers (56.00) the gloves are coming off as Simon and Gavin try to settle the debate on who owns Margaret Atwood, is she literary, is she sci-fi or speculative fiction? Should anyone even dare to pigeon hole her? What’s the fuss about? Well The Readers will be debating (quite heatedly we imagine) all of this next week after having read ‘In Other Worlds’ you have been warned!

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The Readers – Episode Three

We are so sorry that this has come out so late; we sailed through the ‘difficult second episode’ and came a cropper with the third episode. Not because we had nothing to say, but in fact because we simply went off on too many tangents and ended up with over three hours of bookish nonsense which has taken some serious editing (by Gav, who Simon thinks is a legend even more than he did before). However we are here and it just means you have less time to wait for next week’s ‘Halloween spooky special’ episode. So let’s get on with it…

Welcome and Simon has an apology… We have the latest Bookish News (00.59) we discuss the Man Booker Winner (did anyone else notice it was the Man Booker last week) ‘A Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes. We also discuss Terry Pratchett’s sales of ‘Snuff’ which leads us onto…

Meeting Authors (04.27) should people go and meet their favourite authors? Can meeting an author put your off for life? Which authors you wouldn’t normally read and then see read and want to tread everything? Gav and Simon discuss and would love to hear your experiences, so feel free to comment below.

Ian Rankin Interviewed (09:04) Simon catches up with Ian Rankin to discuss the future of books, his latest novel ‘The Impossible Dead’, the return of Rebus and how Ian ended up a suspect in a real life murder.

Short Stories (24:26) Gavin and Simon discuss short stories after Simon couldn’t shut up (though not on his blog yet)  about ‘The Woman Who Gave Birth To Rabbits’ by Emma Donoghue and how he has started to read short stories regularly. They discuss their favourites (Sherlock Holmes anyone?), how you can try out new authors but its is not just Simon and Gavin who have recommendations. We have Sam Jordison from The Guardian (38:06) discussing Daphne Du Maurier, you all tweeted (40:47) and the wonderful author Patricia Duncker gave us her Top 5 Short Stories (43:40) which we were thrilled with.

What have we been reading and what are we excited about? (45:16) We catch up with each other about what we have been reading, what we are reading next and what we are simply desperate to get our prose loving paws on.

What have you been reading and what should we be reading next? Oh, and please leave any comments on the show in below, we would love your constructive feedback.

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