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.65; Being a Debut Author and LGBT Literature

This week sadly Gavin is sick, so Simon has roped in author Kerry Hudson, whose first novel ‘Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma’ came out last year, as this weeks special co-host. They discuss being a debut author and also, as Kerry is one of the Green Carnation Prize judges for 2013, LGBT Literature as here in the UK it is LGBT History Month.

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Catching Up () Simon and Kerry have a natter about what they have been reading in the last week. Kerry has been reading much better stuff than Simon, who has been having rather a bad week after his encounter with ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ and also after he has been banned from reading for a few days.

Being a Debut Author () A few weeks ago Gavin and Simon discussed their thoughts on debut novels and debut novelists as readers. Having Kerry as a special co-host this week Simon thought it would be really interesting to hear what it is like from the debut authors perspective, and so he grills Kerry. They discuss if everything but the kitchen sink goes into your first novel, if you think it will ever have an audience and the highs and lows of it all, plus what tips Kerry has for debut-novelists-to-be.

LGBT Literature () It is LGBT History Month in the UK and The Green Carnation Prize (which Simon co-founded and Kerry is now one of the judges of for 2013) has been launched for 2013 this week so it seemed a prime time to talk about LGBT Literature. Why do people outside the LGBT world sometimes find the idea of an LGBT novel off putting? What has happened to the heritage of LGBT literature, why have most ‘gay classics’ now become out of print with the exception of a minority of main stream authors? Lots to discuss.

Next time on The Readers () Simon will be back next week with another special guest and much more book based banter, the Readers Book Club will now be a week on Friday when Gavin should be better.

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You can subscribe to our weekly podcast on iTunes here.