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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The Readers Episode 16; Readers Updates, Books/Authors and Social Networking and Jane Harris Interview

It’s an episode of changes and tweaks this week as we tell you how two of our projects (The International Readers Awards and The Readers Summer Book Club) have developed and how we will be changing the format of the podcast a little over the future weeks. We also discuss books, authors and social networking, Simon meets Jane Harris to discuss ‘Gillespie and I’ and we tell you what we have been reading, are reading now and want to read.

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The Readers Projects (00:55) Gavin and Simon catch up with you, and each other about their new projects First up is the extension of the International Readers Award. Secondly we talk in more detail about The Readers Summer Book Club, and guess what… We want you to help choose them and join in, so please do!

Books, Authors and Social Networking (05:52) how has the world of blogging, Facebook and Twitter changed relationships between readers and authors? How has this changed authors self-promotion? Which authors do it well and what happens when it all goes wrong? Which authors do we wish tweeted who don’t?

Interview with Jane Harris (25:25) Simon catches up with author or ‘The Observations’ Jane Harris about her latest novel ‘Gillespie and I’ one of his favourites of 2011 now in paperback, there is lots of laughing involved.

 

What we have read, are reading and want to read next (40:53) it is the last ‘weekly’ (it’s going to be alternated) edition of what Gavin and Simon have on their book horizons past, present and future…

  

Gav has read: The House That Groaned by Karrie Fransman
He is broke his book buying ban for: Stop What You Are Doing And Read This by Various
He wants to give his attention to: The Ridge by Michael Koryta

  

Simon has read: The Boy Who Taught The Beekeeper To Read by Susan Hill
He has just started: Girl Reading by Katie Ward
He is very excited about: Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Until next week…

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The Readers – Episode Four

Welcome to the fourth episode of The Readers and a spooky special as we go live on Halloween. In this episode we discuss the same scary book, our first mutual read, Gav interviews Paul Magrs, we discuss supernatural vs. scary, have spooky recommendations from a lovely pair of bloggers and discuss the spooky stories we are reading, have read and will be reading.

We have both been haunted by the same book (00.52) randomly Gavin and Simon started reading (one of them finished it, one is halfway through so no spoilers) the same book Michelle Paver’s novel ‘Dark Matter’ and so decide to discuss it. Starting with the cover and discussing how scary it really is, this also includes a random shout out to Simon’s Mum (01.34) as she is in hospital having a big operation today… tangents hey? We will be doing another joint read for episode six in two weeks with Margaret Atwood’s collection of essays ‘In Other World’s’ so do feel free to join in.

 

Paul Magrs on The Readers (11.59) Gavin catches up with author Paul Magrs as his new novel ‘666 Charing Cross Road’ comes out, a suitably spooky, and rather bookish, tale that you could curl up with over Halloween, or just in these autumnal nights (well if you are in the UK).

Supernatural vs. Scary (29.03) Whilst we love the fact that all things supernatural have made the main street both with books like ‘Twilight’, or indeed with spooky funny shenanigans in books like Paul Magrs, police procedurals with magic like Ben Aaronovitch’s novels,  we wondered what on earth has happened to those utterly chilling or horrifying novels? Has horror just become hammy? Why aren’t those terrifying tales as popular as they once were? Has Halloween made the fearful a gimmick? Let us know your thoughts.

A trick or treat top ten spooky books from bloggers (38.42) the lovely Jared and Anne from the wonderful blog Pornokitsch (it is book based honestly) join us from the US of A to tell us their favourite spooky or supernatural reads for Halloween… and a very vocal cat called Agatha chips in too! Lots of books to add to the TBR piles.

What we will be reading, or already are, to creep ourselves out this week (52.00) so what are we planning on reading… Simon read ‘The English Ghost’ by Peter Ackroyd and didn’t get what he was expecting; he is halfway through ‘Florence and Giles’ by John Harding (which Gav loved). On his radar are ‘Visitation’ by Jenny Erpenbeck, a collection of ‘scary fairy tales’ by Ludmilla Petrishrushevskaya aptly called ‘There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbours Baby’ and two lit-fic books with supernatural elements ‘The Last Werewolf’ by Glen Duncan and ‘The Blue Book’ by A. L. Kennedy. Gavin is reading ‘Dark Matter’ as we mentioned earlier, next up he has ‘The Woman in Black’ by Susan Hill (trailer of the movie below – you might jump), an anthology called ‘The Weird’, ‘The Silent Land’ by Graham Joyce, the American gothic ‘Mr Shivers’ by Robert Jackson Bennett or possibly ‘15 Miles’ by Rob Scott.

The Woman in Black

And that’s quite enough spooky shenanigans for one episode. What would you recommend we pick up as a terrifying tale?

Next week… we haven’t organised a show yet, because we would like to know what you would like us to talk about? We do know Anthony Horowitz will be joining us though to discuss Sherlock Holmes and his new outing – maybe that will inspire something? So what topics would you like Gav and Simon to discuss next week, let us know.

 

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