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.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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You can subscribe to our weekly podcast on iTunes here.