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portrait of Little Library Cookbook author Kate Young for Book Club Review podcast episode

90. The Little Library Cookbooks

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Or listen in your podcast app here. A cook book with the magic ingredient of reading recommendations • A Little Library Year by Kate Young Now you may be someone who prefers to spend your time reading rather than cooking, but what if there was a cookbook that enabled you to do both? It was […]

Listen in as we talk all things cooking and reading thanks to The Little Library cookbooks, which brilliantly combine the two. Author Kate Young tells us what to cook in an Apocalypse, her childhood reading favourites, and her current reading recommendations plus a perfect pick for book club.

book cover of Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

89. Shuggie Bain

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Or listen in your podcast app here. On the one hand ‘bleak, meandering and depressing’ on the other a beautifully written book that has touched the hearts of its readers – but what did Kate’s book club make of Douglas Stuart’s 2020 Booker winner Shuggie Bain? We’re joined by friend and journalist Phil Chaffee to […]

Picking up on the national mood the Booker shortlist in 2020 was notable for the seriousness of its subject matter, none more so than winner Shuggie Bain. A heartrending depiction of a mother in the grip of alcoholism and her young son who refuses to turn his back on her, set in a devastated ex-mining town, it's a book that people might not rush to read. Join us as we figure out what makes Shuggie such a worthy winner, and why you shouldn't shy away from reading it.

montage of book covers to illustrate new book review podcast episode

88. Bookshelf: Spring reads

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Or listen in your podcast app here. We love our book clubs, but our bookshelf shows are all about the books we choose for ourselves. What books are we picking up to get us through January and February, tough months in any normal year but in 2021 we’re also struggling with lockdown. Want some recommendations […]

Looking for books to get you through January and February? Already tough months in a normal year, this year they feel particularly dire as we struggle through yet another lockdown. Here to help: a handful of book recommendations we think you'll love.

Covers of Writers and Lovers by Lily King and Early Work by Andrew Martin

87. Writers & Lovers by Lily King and Early Work by Andrew Martin

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Or listen via your podcast app here. Two aspiring writers, two messy love lives, two very different books that each take the craft of writing as their main theme, one from the female perspective and one from the male. Writers & Lovers made the New York Times list of 100 notable books of 2020 while […]

Two aspiring writers, two messy love lives, two very different books, but what did Laura's book club make of them? And which one was a rare DNF for one of us? Listen in to find out.

man posting a letter into ER postbox to illustrate The Postal Book Club

86. The Postal Book Club

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Or listen via your podcast app here. Before the internet you may remember people used to send letters to friends in the post. Well, book blogger and podcaster Simon Thomas came up with the wonderfully romantic idea of posting a book (with attached notepad for comments) from friend to friend around the world, eventually receiving […]

A book sent from friend to friend with attached notebook for comments, eventually returning to the original sender. A slow form of book club that makes for a charming antidote to our digital era. Listen in to hear more.

Picture of podcast hosts Kate and Laura to illustrate best books of 2020 text

85. Best books of 2020

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Or listen via your podcast app. What were the best, most unmissable reads of 2020? We bring you our biggest recommendations show yet, with over 50 books loved by us, our book clubs, and our three special guests.  But what were our most loved reads of 2020? Listen in for our six top books and […]

Join us for our biggest recommendations show yet featuring over 50 books as we run through our favourites from 2020, the best-loved reads from three special guests and top-picks from our book clubs. Listen in and make 2021 your best reading year yet.

cover of The Book Lover's Quiz Book by Gary Wigglesworth

84. The Book Lover’s Quiz

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Or listen via your podcast app here. Feeling quizzical? Missing your favourite pub quiz? Compete along with us as Gary Wigglesworth, author of The Book Lover’s Quiz Book, puts us through our literary paces in a special episode. Will you beat us?  We especially loved the way these books questions prompted lots of side conversations […]

Feeling quizzical? Missing your favourite pub quiz? Compete along with us as Gary Wigglesworth, author of The Book Lover’s Quiz Book, puts us through our literary paces in a special episode. Will you beat us? 

woman selecting book from self to illustrate book club book of the year article

83. Book Club Book of the Year 2020

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Or listen via your podcast app here. We look back over the ten books we read for bookclub in 2020. From Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s snappy take on contemporary relationships with Fleishman is in Trouble, to The Memory Police, Yoko Ogawa’s carefully considered look at memory and the objects that bring meaning to our lives. We read […]

Which book will we crown our 2020 book club book of the year? Listen in to find out.

photo of Kate Macdonald

82. Handheld Press publishers

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Or listen via your podcast app here. What’s it like to set up your own publishing business? What does it take to succeed? And how do you find the right books? We talk to Kate Macdonald of Handheld Press, who gives us some behind-the-scenes insights into running a small, independent publishers, and her mission to […]

Many readers may have dreamed of it, but what's it really like running your own publishing house? Kate Macdonald tells us about Handheld Press, and her mission to seek out forgotten fiction and authors who need to be rediscovered.

The Memory Police book cover on red background

81. The Memory Police

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Or listen via your podcast app here. We discuss The Memory Police, a haunting dystopian novel that explores questions of power, trauma and state surveillance written by Yoko Ogawa, one of Japan’s leading contemporary novelists.  Set on an unnamed island, the narrator of The Memory Police describes how every so often something in the inhabitants’ […]

We discuss Yoko Ogawa's haunting dystopian novel The Memory Police, an uneasy read, but one that may well be our book club book of the year! Also some great recommendations for your next book club read.

2020 booker prize covers montage with headline

80. The Booker Prize 2020

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Wondering which Booker shortlisted book should win? The ones to read? The ones to avoid? Look no further as we give a fulsome and frank  rundown of all six shortlisted titles. We’re joined by podcast guests Sarah Oliver and Phil Chaffee for a proper, no-holds-barred book club discussion. Listen in to find out the things […]

In true book club fashion, we deliver a no-holds-barred debate of the six shortlisted titles for the 2020 Booker Prize. Whether we loved them or loathed them, we can guarantee you're going to hear what we really think.

Bonjour Tristesse cover

79. Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan

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Bonjour Tristesse is a classic of French novella literature, a tour de force that took France by storm with its publication in 1954 – when its author Françoise Sagan was only 18 years old. But has it stood the test of time? Did it still have resonance for Kate’s book club? Teenager Cécile’s summer holiday with […]

Achieving bestselling literary success before she reached twenty, Françoise Sagan could at one point reasonably be said to have been the most fashionable author in the world. But how does her 1954 classic Bonjour Tristesse fare in book club discussion? Kate's book club finds out. Listen in for the debate plus our book recommendations for follow-on reads.

78. Bookshelf: Autumn Reads

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Our Bookshelf episodes are the ones where we get to let our hair down and talk about the things we’re reading outside of our book clubs, the books that we get to pick and choose. So listen in as Kate is bewitched by the new Susanna Clarke novel Piranesi, charmed by Shirley Jackson’s memoir of […]

Our Bookshelf episodes are where you find out the books we choose when our book clubs aren't directing us to worthy choices. So listen in for everything from hot new releases like Piranesi by Susanna Clarke to riveting backlist titles, like Peter Robb's Midnight in Sicily, and some guilty pleasure reads we don't regret for a second.

77. The Vanishing Half

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The Vanishing Half is the latest book read by both Laura and Kate’s book clubs, and tells the story of two black identical twins, Stella and Desiree, whose lives diverge dramatically when Stella leaves everything behind to pass as a white woman in 1950s America. 2019 Booker winner Bernadine Evaristo is a fan. ‘The Vanishing […]

The Vanishing Half by Brit Benett has been one of the most-talked-about recent releases, but how did it fare in book club debate? Both Kate and Laura's book clubs try it out. Will they agree?

76. Emily’s Walking Book Club

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A breath of fresh air in the form of Emily’s Walking Book Club. Join us as we wander the green spaces of London’s Hampstead Heath, coming up with book recommendations along the way.

A breath of fresh air in the form of Emily's Walking Book Club. Join us as we wander the green spaces of London's Hampstead Heath, coming up with book recommendations along the way.

75. Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

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What if Hillary hadn’t married Bill? That’s the attention-grabbing hook of Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest novel, Rodham, which duly sent it soaring into the bestseller charts. In real life, Bill Clinton asked Hillary Rodham to marry him three times before she finally said yes. The rest is history. But in Sittenfeld’s alternative world, Hillary says no, and their […]

One of the most talked-about books of summer 2020, Curtis Sittenfeld's speculative take on Hillary Rodham Clinton's story gets the full book club treatment. But did it live up to the hype? Expect lively discussion and some steamy scenes.

74. Summer Reading

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Whether you made it to a beach this year or staycationed at home we’ve got the perfect selection of options for your summer reading. Fiction, non-fiction, highbrow, lowbrow, we’ve got it all covered. Plus we asked a few friends of the show to join in, so expect recommendations from Emily Rhodes of Emily’s Walking Book […]

Summer reading for us is all about finding the perfect book to suit your mood. So listen in as we bring you a pile of handpicked book recommendations from us and a few podcast friends.

book cover montage

73. Bookshelf: Beyond Book Club

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It’s an eclectic mix in this episode as we work through what has been on our bookshelves recently, but we loved all of these reads. Listen in to find out why.BOOK RECOMMENDATIONSIn The Dream House by Carmen Maria MachadoUncanny Valley by Anna WienerMorning by Allan JenkinsWest with the Night by Beryl MarkhamA Drop of Patience by William Melvin KelleyThe Mirror […]

The books that have seen us through lockdown, from up-to-the moment read In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado to forgotten classic William Melvin Kelley's A Drop of Patience.

72. That Glimpse of Truth: 100 of the Finest Short Stories Ever Written

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Since the Covid Crisis went global, Laura’s book club has been working their way through That Glimpse of Truth: 100 of the Finest Short Stories Ever Written selected by the late literary agent David Miller. One short story, once a week, with a Zoom chat every Monday to discuss it. But what did Laura’s book club make […]

The short story. Sad sister to the novel? Or pinnacle of the literary form? Laura's book club delves into David Miller's compendium and discovers that even brief reading experiences can have a powerful effect on us.

71. The Beekeeper of Aleppo

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Sometimes the best thing about book club is that it prompts us to read things that we might otherwise turn away from. There are parts of the world that are in crisis, and it can be hard to know how to help. One thing we can do is to bear witness to the stories of […]

Sometimes we want books to take us out of our comfort zone. But that doesn't always make for easy reading. Listen in to decide if you should add this one to your reading pile.