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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Ep 72; Changes, Granta Best British Young Novelists, Gender of Authors & Reading Horizons

Firstly Happy World Book Night to you all, we will be back later in the week with a WBN special. Today though we have a jam packed episode for you. First of all Gavin and Simon give you the low down on some changes to the podcast that they hope you won’t be too cross with. Then they have a catch up which includes the Granta Best of British Young Novelists. Then they discuss genders of authors and how much it matters, before sharing their reading horizons with you.

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Changes () So Gavin and Simon have a small announcement after their being no episode next week, The Readers is going fortnightly for the foreseeable future. However you don’t need to miss them too much as Simon’s show, You Wrote The Book, will be moving to Tuesdays and filling the fortnightly gap. This just means Gavin and Simon have more time to read, work and the likes (each episode takes about 6 hours to prep) and will have more to report back on. Oh and The Readers Book Club will also be remaining on its monthly role on the second Friday of every month. We hope this is ok with all of you?

Catching Up () So what have Gavin and Simon been up to in the last few weeks. Well Simon has been spending time with his Gran and prepping for the Liverpool Literature Festival while Gav has been off gallivanting to London. In the book world there has been the news of Granta’s Best of British Novelists this week; Simon and Gavin have a chat about the list, feeling quite smug as they had two of the authors on their podcasts the week of announcement.

Gender of Authors () As the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist was announced last week and after hearing Ann and Michael talking about the gender divide, and VIDA Count, on Books on the Nightstand a few weeks ago Simon thought he would bring the subject up again. Why are there more male authors and reviewers? Do we read authors equally showing no bias towards gender? Should we be doing so if we aren’t already? Are women or men better at writing narratives in the opposite gender? What are your thoughts?

Reading Horizons () Gavin and Simon share what they have read, are reading and what they might just read next…

Gavin has finished: Poison by Sarah Pinborough
He is now reading: Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis
Next up is: The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

Simon recently finished: Speaking from the Bones by Alan Bradley
He is currently marvelling at: The Long Falling by Keith Ridgway
He will soon be reading: Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

Next time on The Readers () Simon and Gavin will be back in two weeks with more book based banter. In the meantime Simon is back on Friday with a World Book Night Special and again next Tuesday on You Wrote The Book with Alan Bradley.

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Ep 56; Merry Christmas and Our Books of 2012

This week on The Readers we have pre-recorded a little mini show for you to go live on Christmas Day. We know this is meant to be a time of family and you might not want us ruining your Christmas Day, but if you want to escape the family (like Simon always does) for a bit of a breather from the festive madness then you can hide away for 20 minutes with us as we give you a little festive cheer and our favourite books of the year…

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Merry Christmas () Firstly, hooray the world didn’t end. Secondly MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all. Gavin and Simon try and bring you a little festive hello, before lots and lots of slushy, mushy seasonal thanks at the end of the show.

Our Books of 2012 () We thought for a little mini show what would be better than us dashing through the snow, no sorry, us dashing through our top five books of the year each. Actually some of Gavin’s would make Simon’s top ten, if they had done one, and vice versa. So should you have a new e-reader (don’t tell Simon) or some book vouchers to spend then you might like to try these ten books if you haven’t already…


Gavin: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Simon: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker


Gavin: The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan
Simon: Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway


Gavin: The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall
Simon: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller


Gavin: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Simon: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Gavin: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Simon: Diving Belles by Lucy Wood

Next Week on The Readers () So that is it for the Readers for Christmas and indeed for 2012 and we would like to thank you all for listening, chatting on Facebook, Twitter and GoodReads, coming on the show and just being lovely. We will be back next week on the 1st of January 2013 with a list of books we are really excited about in the first half of 2013… Lots and lots and lots and lots of recommendations are coming your way. In the meantime once again Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Gavin and Simon.

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You can subscribe to our weekly podcast on iTunes here.