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61. Fleishman is in Trouble

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Fleishman is in Trouble tells the story of Toby, a successful NYC doctor whose almost ex-wife Rachel has vanished, leaving him alone with their two children. But is she the selfish, self-absorbed, neglectful mother he portrays? Finally free from his nightmare marriage, Toby Fleishman is ready for a life of online dating and weekend-only parental […]

A Trojan Horse of a novel, this provocative portrait of a marriage on the brink was the Summer Read of 2019. But does it live up the hype? Listen in to hear what Laura's book club made of the trials of anti-hero Toby Fleishman and his elusive wife, Rachel.

60. Top 10 Book Club Books

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Many things make for a good book club. The right group of people, the right food, the right drinks… But in our view, the biggest guarantor of success is to choose the right books. We’ve given it some thought, so here are our top 10 books we think make for perfect book club reads. They […]

Wondering what book to read next for book club? Here's our selection of the top ten best book club books out there, all guaranteed to deliver vivid reading experiences and lively debate.

59. How to Start a Book Club

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Ready to start your own book club? We’ve pulled together a special episode to tell you how, from who to invite and what books (or genre) to read, to the pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. It’s packed full of inspiration and advice from book clubs we’ve interviewed over the years, including the Proust Book Group […]

A show packed full of inspiration and advice to help you start your very own book club, everything from choosing your venue to selecting the perfect book. From successful strategies to pitfalls to avoid, we've thought of everything in our ultimate guide.

58. Bookshelf: Beyond Book Club

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What do we read when we’re not reading book club books? This episode it’s non-fiction. Kate gets her head around Helen Hanff’s eccentric relationship with the secondhand bookselling world in 84 Charing Cross Road, is seduced by the gloss and glamour of the art world with Sarah Thornton and inspired by Michelle Obama’s powerful memoir […]

We hit the non-fiction this episode, with beloved classic of the secondhand book world 84 Charing Cross Road to Marianne Power’s adventures in the world of self help. We also venture into the contemporary art world, find out what it's like to become First Lady and enjoy Trevor Noah’s unputdownable memoir, Born A Crime.

57. The Silence of the Girls

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Pat Barker’s retelling of Homer’s Iliad from a female perspective proves a surprisingly marmite read. The Silence of the Girls was shortlisted for the 2019 Women’s Prize and received widespread critical praise but what did Kate’s book club think? Our narrator is Briseis, a Trojan queen who witnesses the destruction of her city at the hands of […]

Despite its many accolades, this feminist retelling of The Iliad proves a surprisingly marmite read. Are Kate's book club just being contrary?

56. Bee’s Bookshare

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We discover a book club for people who don’t like the idea of all having to read the same book. At Bee’s Bookshare everyone brings a book they’ve loved, loathed, can’t put down or can’t get into and shares them – best of all everyone gets to take away a new read at the end. We […]

In Margate, by the sea, Bee runs a book club with a difference, everyone reads a different book, brings it along to discuss, and then takes a new book home at the end.

55. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

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We delve into the whirlwind story of Elizabeth Holmes and her biotech company Theranos. At its height it was valued at 9 billion dollars. At its heart was a product that didn’t work. In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup […]

An astonishing web of fraud, charisma and intimidation, with the startlingly duplicitous Elizabeth Holmes at its heart. Investigative journalist John Carreyrou digs deep to unravel this story of Theranos, a bio-tech company built on lies.

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54. Bookshelf: Beyond Book Club

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We love our Bookshelf shows as we get to discuss the books we’re reading outside of book club, the ones we get to choose for ourselves. This episode Laura is swept away by Esi Edugyan’s pacey novel Washington Black, beguiled by Venetian fantasy The Lies of Locke Lamora and laughs and cries with Candice Carty-Williams’ […]

Laura can’t wait to rave about her non-book club books this week, from Candice Carty-Williams’ groundbreaking Queenie to the fantasy realms of Locke Lamora, with Washington Black by Esi Eduygan thrown in. While Kate reports in on bittersweet comedy The Friend, revels in a year spent in a clifftop house by the sea thanks to Juliet Blaxland's Easternmost House, and is blown away by Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys.

53. The Family Book Club

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If you’d like to start a book club but are wondering who to invite, how about staying close to home? Annie and Dave tell us about their successful family book club, which has kept their family engaging with books and debating their merits for seven years now. They share their tips for making it work […]

Looking to take your next family get-together to another level? Just add books. Annie and Dave tell us how to do it – and how to stay civil when the debate heats up.

52. Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz

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A sweeping and evocative portrait of an Egyptian family at a time of great social change, from Nobel Prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz. The novel follows one family over the course of the years 1917–19, a time of great change in Egypt that culminated in the overthrow of the British Protectorate. We meet al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd […]

Egypt’s answer to Tolstoy, Naguib Mahfouz won the Nobel Prize for his intricate portrait of an Egyptian family at a time of great social change. But could Laura’s book club cope with all the misogyny?

51. Barnabees Secondhand Bookshop

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Our latest interview is with Tyona Campbell, owner of Barnabees, a very special secondhand bookshop tucked away in the small Suffolk village of Westleton. Tyona tells us how her shop is in a small way a protest against the data-gathering online giants, why in her shop the books they find you, and why books benefit […]

In the best bookshops, you don’t find the books, they find you. Or so insists Tyona, proud owner of what she wryly calls 'the second best secondhand bookshop in Westleton, Suffolk'.

50. My Sister, the Serial Killer

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My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s superbly titled debut novel, has been one of the literary sensations of 2019 – nominated for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and long listed for the Booker. But what did both our book clubs make of it? Does it merit all the acclaim? Listen in to find out. Heads up: this […]

A dynamite title, but does this award-winning bestseller live up to the hype? Laura's book club aren't convinced.

49. The Second Shelf Bookshop

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Tucked away in London’s Soho is a hidden gem of a bookshop. The Second Shelf sells rare and antiquarian books, modern first editions, ephemera, manuscripts, and rediscovered works – all by women. Proprietor A. N. Devers told us how she went from rare-book dealing to shopkeeping. We also hear about the bookshelves that regularly make […]

Tucked away in a quiet Soho courtyard, this jewel box of a bookshop is doing something radical: selling rare books by women and women only. Founder A.N. Devers tells us how the small act of collecting is transformative for the canon.

48. I Will Never See the World Again

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It’s a slight volume but Ahmet Altan’s memoir I Will Never See the World Again packs a powerful punch. Each of its short essays was smuggled out of the prison where Altan serves – and continues to serve – a life sentence. Ahmet Altan was imprisoned by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime in Turkey, during a period in which […]

‘Read this – it will explain why you ever read anything.’ So writes A.L. Kennedy and we couldn't agree more. But this collection of essays by Ahmet Altan, each one smuggled out of a Turkish prison where he remains on trumped-up charges, isn't an obvious book club choice. Can we convince you to go for it?

47. The Margate Bookshop

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Ever dreamed of owning a bookstore? How about one a stone’s throw from the beach? When Francesca Wilkins realised the British seaside town of Margate didn’t have a bookshop selling new titles, she realised it was the perfect place to realise her lifelong ambition and launch her own. Listen in for the behind-the-scenes story and the […]

Ever dreamed of owning a bookstore? How about one a stone’s throw from the beach? Francesca Wilkins tells us how she made the ultimate dream a reality.

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46. Bookshelf: Beyond Book Club

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We discuss the books we’re reading outside of book club, the ones we get to pick and choose. Join us as we successfully identify the perfect beach read for this summer, get to the bottom of Kate’s problem with audio books (and the cure, The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton), muse on what it’s like […]

We’re hunting for the perfect beach read in this episode, with The Shepherd's Hut by Tim Winton and Transcription by Kate Atkinson both in the running. We also cover parenting and life lessons from Philippa Perry and consider Sally Rooney’s short story Mr Salary.

45.5 The Reading Retreat

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If you’ve ever dreamed of switching everything off and being able to read for hours, then this is the episode for you. Reading Retreats run holidays in Derbyshire, England, where all you do is read. Nothing less, nothing more. But what’s the experience really like? To find out, Kate made a great self-sacrifice and spent […]

Do you dream of a long weekend of reading, and only reading? Curious to find out if the dream lives up to expectations Kate heads off on a weekend reading retreat.

45. Wilde Imagination Book Club

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You might think that inviting authors along to your book club discussions is a surefire way to stifle debate. Fine if everyone loves the book, but what if it gets a critical savaging? Sanober Kilodar of the Wilde Imagination Book Club of south London shares how to make it work. Yes, it often ends up a […]

Looking to get more out of your book club? Invite the author to join you. That's the approach this south London book club takes.

44. Golden Hill

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We discuss Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill, a rollicking historical novel set in 18th-century New York. Its plot is full of more twists and turns than a slide at Centerparcs so we’ve split the episode into two. The first half is the safety zone where we won’t spoil the plot for you, but if you have read […]

We defy anyone not to enjoy this rollicking historical caper through 18th-century New York. But does it work for book club?

43. Milkman by Anna Burns

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Masterpiece from the contemporary heir to Samuel Beckett? Or demanding endurance read with not nearly enough paragraph breaks? We debate Anna Burns’ Booker-Prize winning novel Milkman – a tale of one young woman’s struggle to retain her sense of self during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Suffocating gossip, ever-present violence and a surprising amount of humour. […]

A masterpiece from the heir to Samuel Beckett? Or a demanding endurance read with not nearly enough paragraph breaks? We debate Anna Burns' Booker-Prize winning novel.