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Bookshelf: back-to-school reads • #104

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Here in the UK we’ve got a petrol crisis, the days are getting noticeably shorter and the last two weeks of unbroken autumn sunshine seem to have come to an end. Things feel a little gloomy – but happily we have a new episode out to distract us. We’ve got heavy hitters, like David Diop’s […]

Listen in as we catch up with our latest reads, everything from this year's Booker International Prize winner to a fantasy romp about teenage wizards. Listen in and let us help you decide what to read next, whether for yourself or for book club.

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Summer Reading 2021 • #102

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It’s our 2021 summer reading episode! What are we looking for in our summer reading? We want books that are going to carry us away, books that are immersive and compelling, books that take us places and teach us things. Sometimes we want short reads to suit our mood, others we want long immersive books […]

What are we looking for in our summer reading? We want books that are going to carry us away, books that are immersive and compelling, books that take us places and teach us things. Sometimes we want short reads to suit our mood, others we want long immersive books that will last us through the summer. And as ever, we want books we can discuss and debate. Join us as we compile our essential list for Summer 2021.

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Bookshelf: From Paris to Iceland via an imaginary library • #95

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Or listen via your favourite podcast app here. In this episode we get Laura’s take on Matt Haig’s bestselling novel The Midnight Library, which Kate hasn’t yet read. Should she? Meanwhile Kate gets swept into literary Paris with Deidre Bair’s memoir of her time writing biographies of Samuel Beckett and Simone de Beauvoir, Parisian Lives. Laura […]

We're both in a travelling mood as our recent reads take us from an imaginary library to real life Paris, with stopovers in Iceland, India and Greece, not to mention Kate's exciting visit to a real-life bookshop for the first time in ages. It's all here in our latest episode of Bookshelf.

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93. Bookshelf: A little bit of Maas hysteria

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Listen above or via your favourite podcast player here. In this episode Kate gets tied up in existential knots over House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas and we consider the parallels between this 800-page fantasy bonkbuster and War and Peace. We explore the idea of ‘reading offsetting’ whereby we balance our guilty […]

Join us as we review the books we've each been reading outside of book club – the ones we get to pick and choose for ourselves. From otherworldly bonkbuster House of Earth and Blood to a memoir of an Arctic winter our books have certainly been taking us places this month.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

68. Bookshelf: Beyond Book Club

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We love our book clubs, but our Bookshelf shows are all about the books we get to choose for ourselves. From comfort reads to intellectual challenges, we run through our recent picks. In this show we have a particularly eclectic mix, incorporating everything from hot new releases to out-of-print childhood favourites. Just what it is […]

When the world shuts down, what books do we reach for? We share the books getting us through lockdown, including 2020 buzz books Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell and Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid.

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65. Bookshelf: Beyond Book Club

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Bookshelf is our regular show where we talk about books read in-between our book club books, the ones that we get to pick and choose. In this episode we begin in London with period drama Belgravia by Julian Fellowes, and urban fantasy Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. We escape to France, and sunny Provence with unreconstructed male-wish-fulfilment […]

What are the books getting us through lockdown? We may not be able to travel, but the books we're reading this month are certainly taking us places. Listen in as we run through our latest Bookshelf.

62. Bookshelf: Beyond Book Club

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It’s another Bookshelf episode where we discuss the books we’re each reading beyond book club – the ones we get to pick and choose! We discover the world of Tana French, and her literary psychological thrillers, laugh and cry with John Boyne’s Heart’s Invisible Furies, are underwhelmed by Philip Pullman’s Secret Commonwealth, venture into frozen […]

Our round up of our latest reads beyond book club sees us dip into the latest Philip Pullman and some dark Norwegian fiction from Hanne Østavik, plus books to make you smile, from John Boyne's Heart's Invisible Furies to comfort-read classic Cold Comfort Farm.

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.

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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.

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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.

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40. Bookshelf: Beyond Book Club

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From powerful fiction from Sarah Moss and Samantha Harvey, to the most engaging book about running you’re likely to come across, and reads to make you smile from Norah Ephron and Maria Semple, it’s an enjoyably mixed bag this week. Listen in to hear what we thought of them, the hits and misses and whether […]

Listen in to hear the books we sneak off to read when we’re not reading for book club. We have powerful fiction from Sarah Moss and Samantha Harvey; if you think you might like reading books about running Kate has the perfect title for you; and Norah Ephron and Maria Semple make us smile. It’s an enjoyably mixed bag this week.

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37. Bookshelf: What we’re reading beyond book club

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What do we read when not busy reading our book club books? Listen in to hear about the books we pick and choose when we’re left to our own devices. This episode it’s a wide-ranging list as we report in on Lily Allen’s My Thoughts Exactly, The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis, the provocative Poverty […]

What do we read when we're not reading our book club books? Listen in to hear about the books we choose for ourselves, as we declare our undying love for Michael Lewis, consider the hardships faced by people who have little to live on, venture out to the Orkney Islands, enjoy a French classic and dip into some parenting books and some literary fiction.

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32. Bookshelf: What we’re reading beyond book club

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Our Bookshelf shows are the ones where we talk about the books we’re each reading outside of book club, the ones we get to choose for ourselves. What do we turn to? This episode we’ve got memoirs, fiction, fantasy and Michael Lewis’s slightly uncategorizable Moneyball (it’s about the buying and selling of players in the […]

Our bookshelf shows are the ones where we talk about the books we're each reading outside of book club, the ones we get to choose for ourselves. Listen in as we've got a brilliant mixed bag from Dolly Alderton's memoir Everything I Know About Love to Michael Lewis's baseball page-turner Moneyball.

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26. Bookshelf: What we’re reading beyond book club

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What do we read when not reading book club books? The ones we get to pick and choose? This episode, we’ve got the usual eclectic mix. We discover the joys of sheep-farming with ‘Twitter’s favourite shepherd’ James Rebanks, wonder if it’s a good idea to go into hibernation with Otessa Moshfegh, brush up on our […]

What books do we reach for when we're not reading for book club? Listen in for an eclectic mix ranging from sheep-farming to literary prizewinners. What did we make of them? And have we discovered any gems for book club?