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Summer bookshelf • Episode #162

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Laura’s on a flying visit to London, and so of course we took the opportunity to get together and swap notes on our recent reading. Regular guest Phil Chaffee dialled in from New York to add his picks to the mix. Find out what we thought of summer it-book The Ministry of Time by Kaliane […]

Listen in as we catch up with our summer reads, including book-of-the-season The Ministry of Time and an unputdownable art world memoir, All That Glitters.

Books that Make Us Laugh podcast episode

Books that Make us Laugh • #161

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Inspired by the folk at the New York Times article ‘22 of the funniest novels since Catch 22’, join me (Kate), Phil and Laura as we consider the books that make us laugh. Listen in as we explore the NYT suggestions and add in a few of our own. Find out the author we can’t […]

Inspired by the recent New York Times article ‘22 of the funniest novels since Catch 22’, join Kate, Phil and Laura for their favourite funny reads.

Non-fiction recommendations podcast with Tom Rowley of Backstory

Talking Non-Fiction with Tom Rowley of Backstory • Episode #160

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Listen in to our non-fiction book recommendations as we explore literary worlds outside of the fiction shelves. Join Kate as she heads to South London to visit Backstory, a distinctive indie bookstore founded by former journalist Tom Rowley. Rowley shares his journey from journalism to opening a bookshop, the challenges and joys of running a […]

Exploring literary worlds beyond fiction: a dive into non-fiction with Tom Rowley of indie bookshop Backstory

Browsing the So Many Damn Books bookshelf, with Christopher Hermelin • #159

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So Many Damn Books podcast creator and host Christopher Hermelin joins Kate to swap book recommendations and discuss the magic of book club, recent book discoveries, bookish pet peeves and more… Listen via the media player above, or your preferred podcast player with this Podfollow link. Book list The Eyes & The Impossible by Dave […]

So Many Damn Books podcast creator and host Christopher Hermelin joins Kate to swap book recommendations and discuss the magic of book club, recent book discoveries, bookish pet peeves and more...

The New Life podcast episode

Book club: The New Life by Tom Crewe • #158

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Two marriages, two forbidden love affairs, and the passionate search for social and sexual freedom in late 19th-century London. Publishers Penguin call The New Life by Tom Crewe ‘A brilliant and captivating debut, in the tradition of Alan Hollinghurst and Colm Tóibín’ but what did our book club make of it? Kate is reporting back, […]

Two marriages, two forbidden love affairs, and the passionate search for social and sexual freedom in late 19th-century London, but what did our book club think? Kate and Phil report back.

Mild Vertigo book club podcast

Mild Vertigo, and Japanese literature

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What did our podcast book club make of Mild Vertigo, Japanese author Mieko Kanai’s 1997 novel, recently translated into English by Polly Barton and published by Fitzcarraldo. A ‘modernist masterpiece’ written in sentences that go on for pages with hardly any paragraph breaks might not seem like an obvious book club winner; listen in to […]

We explore Mild Vertigo, modernist Japanese masterpiece by Mieko Kanai, newly translated into English by Polly Barton. But did it make for a good book club read? Kate's joined by two special guests to discuss it.

Books podcast episode

Early Spring Bookshelf • Episode 156

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Join me (Kate) and Laura as we go through our bookstacks and discuss our recent reads. Find out what why Laura can’t put down The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. Meanwhile I’ve discovered Mrs Miniver, a comfort read from the 1930s that still has a message for us today, Laura’s made a discovery of her […]

From the literary London of Charles Dickens to 21st century Romantasy with sex and dragons, listen in to our recent reads

Books in 2024 podcast episode

Future Reads 2024, with Chrissy Ryan • Episode #155

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We’ve put our 2023 reading lists behind us, and now it’s time to look ahead to 2024. Who better to guide us through all the new titles coming our way than Chrissy Ryan, owner of North London’s buzziest bookshop and social space, Bookbar. New books by favourite authors, a non-fiction page-turner that will have you […]

The books to look out for in 2024, with Bookbar's Chrissy Ryan, plus some tips for avoiding feeling overwhelmed by your TBR

Best Books of 2023

Best Books of 2023 • Episode #154

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What were the best books of 2023? Listen in to our review of the year to find out our absolute favourites. Join me (Kate), Laura and Phil as we look back over a year of reading – over 300 books between us, from new releases to backlist gems. Find out our overall book of the […]

What were the best books of 2023? Listen in to our review of the year to find out our absolute favourites. Join Kate, Laura and Phil for a look back over a year of reading – over 300 books between them, from new releases to backlist gems, and over 50 recommendations.

The Booker Prize 2023

The Booker Prize 2023 • Episode #153

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The Booker Prize 2023: We read all six shortlisted books. Join us as we evaluate them and try to second-guess the Booker judges, before finding out the winner, and so keep listening for our hot take. ‘A novel is a mirror carried along a high road’ says Chair of the Booker judges Esi Edyugan, quoting […]

The Booker Prize 2023: We read all six shortlisted books. Join us as we evaluate them and try to second-guess the Booker judges, before finding out the winner, and so keep listening for our hot take.

Lonesome Dove podcast

Lonesome Dove • Episode #152

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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry has sold over 2 and a half million copies worldwide since publication in 1985, and won a Pulitzer Prize. With prose as ‘as smooth as worn saddle-leather’, USA today writes ‘If you read only one Western novel in your life, read this one . . . no other has ever […]

With prose as ‘as smooth as worn saddle-leather', USA today writes 'If you read only one Western novel in your life, read this one . . . no other has ever approached the accomplishment of Lonesome Dove'. What did Laura's book club make of it? Listen in for the discussion and our other book recommendations.

So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan book podcast episode

So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan • Episode #151

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Irish author Claire Keegan is generally considered to be one of the finest writers working today. ‘Every word is the right word in the right place, and the effect is resonant and deeply moving’ said Hilary Mantel, of her work, while for Colm Toíbín ‘Claire Keegan makes her moments real – and then she makes […]

What did our podcast book club think of So Late in the Day, the short story from Booker shortlisted author (and Irish national treasure) Claire Keegan? We also catch up on our recent reading, listen in to find out our hits and misses.

Jonny Thomson of Mini Philosophy for podcast episode

Fiction and Philosophy, with Jonny Thomson • Episode #150

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Is there any point in doing a nice thing if you can’t flaunt it on social media? Can we ever know what it’s like to be a bat? If we know Cinderella isn’t real, why do we care about whether or not she marries the prince? In this episode Kate is joined by Jonny Thomson, […]

We're feeling philosophical this back-to-school season, with Jonny Thomson, author of Mini Philosophy and Mini Big Ideas. Listen in as we discuss Tolstoy's morbid novella The Death of Ivan Illyich, Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov and international bestseller Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

late summer reading podcast episode book stack

Late Summer Reading, with Bookbar • Episode #149

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Late summer reading – the best kind of reading? Whether you’re after fly-through-them page-turners or immersive long-reads, or perhaps you’re after a challenge, or the perfect discussion book, we’ve got the list for you. Find out our expert picks from indie-bookshop Bookbar’s Chrissy Ryan, a woman at the centre of a hub of reading recommendations […]

Late summer reading – the best kind of reading? Whether you're after fly-through-them page-turners or immersive long-reads, or perhaps you're after a challenge, or the perfect discussion book, we've got the list for you. We compare notes with Bookbar's Chrissy Ryan and find out the books not to miss for late summer and early Autumn.

Book Club podcast episode The Years and Super Infinite

The Years by Annie Ernaux and Super-Infinite by Katherine Rundell, plus recent reads • #148

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If you’ve been wondering whether or not to tackle the work of Nobel-prizewinner Annie Ernaux, and in partiular The Years, generally considered to be definitive, listen in and find out what Laura’s book club thought (you might be surprised). We’re also generally delighted by how interesting the life of 17th-century poet John Donne is in […]

Find out what our book clubs thought of The Years by Annie Ernaux, and Super-Infinite by Katherine Rundell (both winners of more prizes than you can shake a stick at) plus the hits and misses from our recent reads.

Books on the Hill bookshop podcast episode

Bookshopaholics • Books on the Hill • Episode #147

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Join Kate in the historic market town of St. Albans, home to a cathedral, some impressive Roman ruins and one of Kate’s favourite independent bookshops. Books on the Hill is owned and run by a mother and daughter duo who launched it just before the pandemic. Listen in and find out what makes it so […]

Come book-shopping with us to the historic market town of St. Albans, home to a cathedral, some impressive Roman ruins and one of Kate's favourite independent bookshops, Books on the Hill.

Fiction Prescriptions podcast episode with Ella Berthoud

Fiction Prescriptions with Ella Berthoud • Episode #146

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Join us as professional book-recommender and Bibliotherapy queen Ella Berthoud helps us figure out how to overcome life’s essential problems (if you’re a reader, that is), namely how to cope with all the books there are in the world, what to do when you feel stuck in a reading rut, and the ultimate question, if […]

Join us as professional book-recommender and Bibliotherapy queen Ella Berthoud helps us figure out how to overcome life’s essential problems (if you’re a reader, that is).

The Women's Prize 2023

The Women’s Prize 2023 • Episode #145

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The Women’s Prize 2023, one of our favourite episodes to read for and discuss. We’re joined by old friend Sarah Oliver and new to the pod Nina Davies: listen in as we share our thoughts this year’s list. As ever, you’ll hear our frank opinions about the books, but we won’t spoil the plots for […]

The Women's Prize 2023 episode is here. Listen in for full and frank opinions on the shortlist, but no plot spoilers. Find out our picks to win and the best book club reads. With Sarah Oliver and Nina Davies.

Summer reading podcast episode

Bookshelf: Summer vibes • Episode #144

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Summer reading is in the air. Listen in as Kate and Laura swap feel-good early summer reads. Much to their relief after Rodham, the sex in Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest novel ROMANTIC COMEDY turns out to be as good as the rest of it. Meanwhile Kate is surprised and entertained by Monica Heisey’s REALLY GOOD, ACTUALLY. […]

We're feeling the summer feels in this latest Bookshelf episode and reaching for feel good reads. Listen in to hear some of our recent favourites.

So Many Damn Books interview with Christopher Hermelin

So Many Damn Books • Episode #143

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So Many Damn Books is a show that aims to celebrate reading in all its forms, and to do so with a cocktail in hand. For over 200 episodes now Christoper Hermelin has been chatting to authors and crafting them bespoke drinks. From George Saunders and Ruth Ozeki to lesser-known but no less interesting authors, […]

So Many Damn Books is a show that aims to celebrate reading in all its forms, and to do so with a cocktail in hand. Kate catches up with host Christopher Hermelin to discuss crafting the perfect cocktail, all-time favourite reads and how to stay on top of the TBR.

Victory City by Salman Rushdie book club podcast episode

Victory City by Salman Rushdie • Episode #142

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Victory City by Salman Rushdie is the subject of this book club episode. Victory City has been hailed by fellow author Hari Kunzru as ‘Salman Rushdie at his most virtuosic, a wondrous tale of medieval India which is also, as ever, a fable about the triumph of life – in all its joyous messy excellence – […]

We discuss Victory City by Salman Rushdie, hailed by critics as a masterpiece, but what did Laura's book club think of it? We're joined by Philip Chaffee and Charlie Chichester to find out. Listen in for full and frank discussion of the book, plus our recommendations for follow-on reads and the books we're currently reading.

book club book reviews

Bookshelf: Easter reads • Episode #141

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Our bookshelf episodes are the ones where we compare notes on the books we’ve been reading outside of book club. In this episode Laura has been reading the latest from Animal Life, the latest novel from podcast favourite, Icelandic author Audur Ava Olafsdottir. A short, quiet novel, but one that struck a chord. She’s also […]

Join us as we compare notes on the books we've been reading outside of book club lately, including smash hit Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, The Mirror Visitor Quartet, a fantasy epic from French author Christelle Dabos and the entertaining classic Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson.

Free and The Snow Ball • Book Club, episode #140

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We’re joined by friend and journalist Phil Chaffee to discuss FREE by Lea Ypi, a memoir of her Albanian childhood and of life amid the collapse of Communism. The book won the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje prize and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford non-fiction prize and was on many a best-book of 2022 […]

Join us as we read and discuss Lea Ypi's powerful memoir of her Albanian childhood, Free, and contrast this with the sensuous decadence of Brigid Brophy's New Year's Eve novel The Snow Ball. With Phil Chaffee.

Bookshopaholics: The Paperhound • Episode #139

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When in Vancouver, run to the coolest bookstore you can find and interview the owner. Such is the busman’s holiday I’ve recently been enjoying on a visit to Laura’s hometown. It also fits nicely into a new series we’ve been cooking up where we get to indulge our love of independent bookshops. First up is […]

Bookshopaholics is our new series of occasional episodes where we get to indulge our love of independent bookshops. Every episode we'll be visiting a different bookshop, chatting with the owners and pulling some gems off the shelves. This week, taking advantage of a sojourn in Vancouver, Kate visits iconic used and antiquarian bookstore The Paperhound.

Books podcast episode: Spring Reads

Bookshelf: Spring Reads • Episode #138

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Our bookshelf episodes are the ones where we kick back and talk about the books we’ve been choosing for ourselves outside of our book club reading. And so join us as we get swept away by the French Revolution and Hilary Mantel’s spellbinding book A PLACE OF GREATER SAFETY, consider myth and storytelling with a […]

Our bookshelf episodes are the ones where we kick back and talk about the books we’ve been choosing for ourselves outside of our book club reading. And so join us as we get swept away, from Salman Rushdie's latest to a lesser-known work by Hilary Mantel.

Books podcast: Future Reads 2023 episode with Chrissy Ryan from Bookbar

Future reads 2023: Episode #137

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Future reads! It’s always good to have things to look forward to in life, and the books we can see coming up on the horizon are no exception. In this episode we’ll be finding out the books that Chrissy Ryan and her team at Bookbar are excited about. Whether it’s new books from authors we […]

Come with us for a look into the future as we hear from Chrissy Ryan and her team at Bookbar and find out the must-read books coming up in 2023.

Books podcast: winter reading podcast episode

Bookshelf: Winter reads • #136

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It’s Bookshelf time here at The Book Club Review podcast, when we talk about the books we’re reading outside of book club, the ones we get to pick and choose for ourselves. And so listen in to find out what Laura thought of The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd, a lesser-known backlist gem, A Place […]

Catch up with us and the books that have been keeping us company through the winter months, the ones we've been reading outside of book club.

Books podcast: The Thursday Murder Club podcast episode

The Thursday Murder Club • #135

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The Thursday Murder Club: When a book sells upwards of five and a half million copies and film rights are snapped up by none other than Steven Spielberg it seems to us a special episode is in order. And so join us as we dive into, and attempt to make sense of, the publishing phenomenon […]

Join us as Kate and two very special guests give The Thursday Murder Club the book club treatment. No spoilers, just lots of good discussion as we try to understand just what it is that so many people love about this book. Plus a range of recommendations for your next read.

Best Books of 2022 podcast episode

Best Books of 2022 • Episode #134

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It’s our best books of 2022, one of our favourite episodes to record as by this point we’ve done all the hard work of reading, now it’s time to sit back and consider which, of all the books we read in 2022, were our very favourites. That might be a new release or it might […]

It's our best books of 2022, one of our favourite episodes to record as by this point we've done all the hard work of reading, now it's time to sit back and consider which, of all the books we read in 2022, were our very favourites. That might be a new release or it might be a backlist gem. We've also got the books that got us through difficult moments, the books that made us laugh or cry, and the ones we recommended and gave to friends. As we're nothing if not critical we've got some books that didn't quite live up to our expectations before we finally crown our top three books of 2022.

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, My Phantoms and Eight Months on Ghazzah Street book podcast episode

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, My Phantoms and Eight Months on Ghazzah Street • Episode #133

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We catch up with 2022 Booker Prize winner The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka. Kate may have loved it, when she read it for our Booker Prize special episode, but what did the rest of her book club make of it? And we catch up with two recent reads for Laura’s book […]

We catch up with not one, not two, but three recent book club reads this episode, plus follow-on book recommendations. Listen in to find out how the Booker prizewinner, a recently released novel and a backlist gem fared in book club debate, and whether or not we think you should seek them out.

Books podcast: Fitzcarraldo editions podcast interview

Fitzcarraldo Editions, with Jacques Testard • #132

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This episode is a celebration of the joy we find in Fitzcarraldo Editions, an independent publishing house that makes no concessions towards mass appeal but instead offers up books that are consistently ambitious, imaginative and innovative. Their hallmark is their plain typographic covers that allow the words inside to speak for themselves. The editorial line […]

Join us as we deep-dive into Fitzcarraldo Editions, the independent publisher started by Jacques Testard and now publishing four Nobel prizewinners. Which of their books are our favourites? Which do we recommend? And why are they all so sad? Important questions, and we’re joined by Sam MacAuslan, keen Fitzcarraldo reader, to help answer them and uncover some particular gems from the list. Listen here or via your favourite podcatcher at this link, or go to the episode page for full show notes.

Books podcast: Rob Delaney A Heart That Works podcast episode

A Heart That Works, with Rob Delaney • #131

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In episode #131 we’re joined by comedian, actor and author Rob Delaney to talk about his book A Heart That Works. As so often with books that pack a powerful emotional punch this deals with a difficult subject as Rob tells the story of the death of his young son Henry, and considers his own […]

We’re joined by comedian, actor and author Rob Delaney to talk about his book A Heart That Works, in which he tells the story of the death of his young son. We discuss the wisdom and solace to be found in books with some great recommendations along the way.

Bookshelf: Autumn Reads • #130

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As the clocks change and darkness falls in the UK, what books are we turning to? Listen in for our latest selection, including the mushroom book that has Kate spellbound, Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake. Laura meanwhile has been reading the ‘questionable’ Run by Ann Patchett and has more than a few things to say about […]

Listen in as we run through a stack of recent reads, including Merlin Sheldrake's Entangled Life and let us help you decide whether or not to bother with Ann Patchett's novel Run

Books podcast: The Booker Prize 2022

The Booker Prize 2022 • #129

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The nights are drawing in, the leaves are on the ground, summer reading seems but a distant memory, it must be time for The Booker Prize 2022. Our most demanding, but possibly also our favourite episode of the year as we’re joined by bookshop owner Chrissy Ryan of Bookbar, and journalist and pod regular Phil Chaffee to […]

Listen in to find out which books we loved, which ones we wished we could have avoided, and which one we think should win the 2022 Booker Prize.

The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi book podcast episode

The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi • #128

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  Since publication in 2019 The Hummingbird, by Italian Sandro Veronesi (translated into English by Elena Pala), has wowed readers and fellow-authors alike. ‘A gripping masterpiece’, ‘a life-affirming triumph’ ‘unforgettable’… Just what is all the fuss about? Marco Carrera is ‘the hummingbird’, a man with the almost supernatural ability to stay still as the world […]

The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi: 'A gripping masterpiece', 'a life-affirming triumph' 'unforgettable'... Just what is all the fuss about? Join us as we find out, with Phil Chaffee and Jo Norman.

Book Club Review Podcast episode 127

Bookshelf: Autumn book report • #127

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Back together again after the summer, we’re catching up on all the books we’ve been reading. So listen in for our reactions to summer buzz book Tomorrrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. We also cover three from the 2022 Booker Prize longlist, Trust by Hernan Diaz, The Trees by Percival Everett and After Sappho by […]

Back together again after the summer, we're catching up on all the books we've been reading. We're also celebrating our five-year anniversary with some new theme music and we're sharing our plans and projects for the pod

Young Bloomsbury podcast episode

Young Bloomsbury, with Nino Strachey • #126

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Step back in time with us as Kate visits Charleston home of Vanessa Bell and important gathering place for the members of the Bloomsbury Group, that collection of writers and artists including Virginia Woolf that coalesced around Gordon Square in London. Undaunted by the ghosts of her relatives Nino Strachey, author of a new book, Young […]

Step back in time with us as Kate visits Charleston home of Vanessa Bell and important gathering place for the members of the Bloomsbury Group, that collection of writers and artists including Virginia Woolf that coalesced around Gordon Square in London. Undaunted by the ghosts of her relatives Nino Strachey, author of a new book, Young Bloomsbury, joins us to discuss the up-and-coming younger generation.

women's prize podcast episode

The Women’s Prize 2022 • #125

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“How any woman with a family ever put pen to paper I cannot fathom.’ Virginia Woolf wrote, ‘Always the bell rings and the baker calls.’ It did indeed prove almost impossible to get four women into the same room to discuss all six books on the 2022 Women’s Prize shortlist, but after much postponement and […]

Listen in for our full and frank take on the winner of the 2022 Women's Prize for fiction: The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki and the other five books on the shortlist. Does Ozeki's book hold up against the competition? Maybe you don’t have time to read them all and just want to read one? Let us help you decide.

The Inseparables podcast episode

The Inseparables, with Anna Baillie-Karas • #124

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Les Inseparables, or The Inseparables is a novel that was never published in Simone de Beauvoir’s lifetime. The story goes she showed it to Jean-Paul Sartre and he held his nose. It tells of the intense childhood friendship between Sylvie and Andrée, who were Beauvoir’s fictional models for herself and her real-life friend Zaza Lacoin. […]

Join Kate and books podcaster Anna Baillie-Karas, in town taking short break from her own podcast Books on the Go to discuss The Inseparables, a 'lost' novel from Simone de Beauvoir, recently translated into English by Lauren Elkin. But what did we make of it? Should you add it to your reading pile? And would it be a good one for book club? Listen in and find out, plus catch our follow-on book recommendations.

Mrs Dalloway • #123

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Dull account of one woman’s day or rich and resonant masterpiece? Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf has divided readers since it was published and continues to spark debate today. In London, one day in June, 1923, society hostess Clarissa Dalloway sets out to buy flowers for a party she is giving that evening. Returning home […]

Dull account of one woman’s day or rich and resonant masterpiece? Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf has divided readers since it was published and continues to spark debate today. Join Kate and special guest, prolific reader and Instagram book reviewer Charles Pignal as they dive into Dalloway and debate the results. Plus a host of other book recommendations on a London theme.

summer reading books podcast

Summer Reading 2022 • #122

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Whether you’re soaking up Nutcrackers on Rockaway beach like Kate’s book-reviewing heroine Molly Young, throwing down a picnic rug in your garden or the local park, fighting your way through airport chaos with the promise of a trip abroad or cosying up with a warm blanket in the Southern Hemisphere, we’ve got the Summer Reading […]

Whether you’re soaking up Nutcrackers on Rockaway beach like Kate’s book-reviewing heroine Molly Young, throwing down a picnic rug in your garden or the local park, fighting your way through airport chaos with the promise of a trip abroad or cosying up with a warm blanket in the Southern Hemisphere, we’ve got the Summer Reading show for you. It’s packed full of recommendations including our own favourite beach reads and tips from booksellers, authors and other friends of the pod.

Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland

Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland • #121

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Join us as we venture into the far north in the company of Tété-Michel Kpomassie, or Michel the Giant, whose life was changed as a boy in the 1950s when he came across a book about Greenland in a bookshop in his hometown in Togo, West Africa. Realising that this was a country where it […]

Join us as we venture to the frozen north in the company of Tété-Michel Kpomassie, an adventurer from Togo, West Africa who became transfixed by the idea of living in a country so different to his own. We discuss his travel-memoir and find out what Laura's book club make of it, plus recommend more books on a polar theme.'

The Year I Stopped to Notice by Miranda Keeling

The Year I Stopped to Notice, with Miranda Keeling • #120

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We fly through books pretty fast here at The Book Club Review. And so we were delighted to be joined by Miranda Keeling, whose book The Year I Stopped to Notice showed us the delights of slowing down and noticing the little things happening all around us. She joined us in the shed to talk […]

We fly through books pretty fast here at The Book Club Review. And so we were delighted to be joined by Miranda Keeling, whose book The Year I Stopped to Notice showed us the delights of slowing down and noticing the little things happening all around us. We've also got some fabulous related book recommendations so listen in and let us help you choose your next read.

Bookshelf podcast episode book covers

Bookshelf: From a page-turning literary thriller to a guilty pleasure fantasy read • #119

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Join us as we catch up on our recent reads outside of book club, the books we’re picking and choosing for ourselves. Laura enjoys The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting, declaring it ‘unputdownable’, and  a good antidote to the brilliant but rather more serious novel The Sympathiser by Viet Thanh Nguyen (her Vancouver book […]

Join us as we catch up on our recent reads outside of book club, the books we're picking and choosing for ourselves, from historical thriller The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting to the fantasy writer Kate currently can't put down, V.E. Schwab.

the country of others by Leïla Slimani podcast episode

The Country of Others by Leïla Slimani • #118

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Join us as we deep-dive into Ferrante-esque family saga The Country of Others by Leïla Slimani. Critics and fellow authors have been impressed: Salman Rushdie called it ‘an exceptional novel’ while Claire Messud ‘didn’t want it to end’ but what did Laura’s book club make of The Country of Others (translated into English by Sam Taylor), […]

Join us as we discuss bestselling author and Prix Goncourt winner Leïla Slimani's latest novel, The Country of Others (translated by Sam Taylor), the first in a planned trilogy. Captivating family drama or 'tedious misery lit'? Listen in to find out what Laura's book club thought of it, plus we're joined by a special guest for a Moroccan reader's perspective.

book club podcast episode

Bookshelf: The books we’re reading outside of book club • #117

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Our bookshelf shows are the ones where we get to cut loose and follow our own preferences, so listen in as Kate tries to figure out the best way to show up for her life after reading Oliver Burkeman’s 4,000 Hours. Meanwhile Laura is drawn into ’A dark world of desire and fantasy’ with French prizewinner […]

Join us as we discuss the books we've been reading recently outside of book club, from Sunday Times bestsellers to a philosophical French page-turner.

Motherhood podcast ident

Motherhood • With Claire Lynch • #116

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It’s Mother’s Day here in the UK and as there’s nothing Kate loves more than a special episode we’ve put together a show on the theme of motherhood. We’re joined by Claire Lynch, author of Small: On Motherhoods, her literary memoir of her own unusual journey into motherhood. Elizabeth Morris of Crib Notes book club […]

Join us as we explore the theme of motherhood with Claire Lynch, author of Small: On Motherhoods, and Elizabeth Morris of Crib Notes book club – who better to help us pull together our essential reads on the topic. Listen in to discover our favourites.

What to read and when podcast episode

What to read and when, with Francesca Beauman • #115

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Book recommendations galore from author Francesca Beauman, who is also publisher and bookshop proprietor of Persephone Books. In her latest book, The Literaray Almanac, Francesca aims to guide readers in choosing books that chime with moments in the year – from hopeful books to read in March to school-curriculum classics not-nearly-as-boring-as-you-remember them in September. We […]

Join us as we learn how to pick the right book at the right time, with Francesca Beauman, author of The Literary Almanac and publisher and bookseller at Persephone Books.

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Bookshelf: from prizewinning literature to beachy bestsellers • #114

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Join us as we discuss Benjamín Labatut’s Booker International Prize shortlisted novel When We Cease to Understand the World, 2021 Baillie Gifford prizewinner One, Two, Three, Four: The Beatles in Time by Craig Brown and 2021 Costa Biography prizewinner Fall: A Life of Robert Maxwell by John Preston, The Outlander by Gil Adams, The Invisible Life of […]

Let us help you find your next great read as we catch up on the stand-out books from our reading piles. We might not always agree, but we guarantee you'll hear our honest responses. So listen in for everything from literary prizewinners to bestselling thrillers.

Long books podcast episode

Long reads • #113

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  We’ve all felt the lure of the short, sweet read, one of those slim books you can finish in a few hours, maybe over a hot cup of tea. But what about the books that may take weeks, even months, to read? The door stoppers, the heavy weights, the long reads. Think Dickens, Tolstoy, […]

Join us as we discuss The Magic Mountain, and recommend our favourite doorstop books from Proust to Olga Tocarczuk's Books of Jacob. We're joined by Phil Chaffee and Toby Brothers of the London Literary Salon.

Books in 2022

Upcoming reads: books to get excited about in 2022 • #112

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Wondering what books 2022 has in store for you? What will be your next great read? We’re joined by friends of the pod and bookworld insiders Chrissy Ryan of bookshop and bar Bookbar, and Elizabeth Morris of Crib Notes to talk what’s hot and what to look forward to. We’re looking months ahead to new […]

Wondering what books 2022 has in store for you? What will be your next great read? We're joined by friends of the pod and bookworld insiders Chrissy Ryan of bookshop and bar Bookbar, and Elizabeth Morris of Crib Notes to talk what's hot and what to look forward to.

The Promise podcast episode

The Promise by Damon Galgut: a quietly powerful family epic • Episode #111

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Join us for our latest book club episode on The Promise by Damon Galgut. Dazzling, original, heartfelt and exhilarating, or bleak, depressing, incoherent and unrealistic? What did Kate’s book club make of The Promise, Damon Galgut’s Booker-prize-winning novel, which tells the story of one white South-African family, and the promise made to their black servant, […]

Dazzling, original, heartfelt and exhilarating, or bleak, depressing, incoherent and unrealistic? What did Kate's book club make of The Promise, Damon Galgut's Booker-prize-winning novel. As ever we also have some great follow-on book recommendations.

Lolly Willowes and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter book covers

Lolly Willowes and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter • #110

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Charmingly eccentric tale with a sharply feminist point of view or a ‘hot mess’ – what did Laura’s book club make of Lolly Willowes by Silvia Townsend Warner? Meanwhile in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Carson McCullers explores loneliness, the human need for understanding and the search for love. What did Kate’s book club […]

Charmingly eccentric tale with a sharply feminist point of view or a 'hot mess' – what did Laura's book club make of Lolly Willowes by Silvia Townsend Warner? Meanwhile The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers explores loneliness, the human need for understanding and the search for love. What did Kate's book club think?

Kate and Laura best books of 2021

Best Books of 2021 • Episode #109 Part 2

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It’s time for our best books of 2021. In Part 2 of our special end-of-year double-episode we’re looking back over the books we’ve read outside of book club this year. The ones we got to pick and choose for ourselves. The ones that didn’t feel like homework (although don’t get us wrong, we love our book […]

It's time for our best books of 2021. In Part 2 of our special end-of-year double-episode we're looking back over the books we’ve read outside of book club this year. Listen in for over 70 book recommendations from us, our book clubs and our special guests.

Best book club books of 2021

Best Book Club Books of 2021 • Episode #109 Part 1

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It’s time for our best book club books of 2021. In Part 1 of our two-part end-of-year special we look back over our book club reads. Which ones have stayed with us? Which ones sparked debate? And which will we crown our book club book of the year? We also hear from Gary Wigglesworth, author […]

In Part 1 of our end-of-year special episode we look back over the book club books we've read this year. Which have stayed with us? Which were our favourites? And which is our book club book of the year?

Kate Sawyer author

The Stranding with Kate Sawyer • #108

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Join us as we talk all things books, whales and the 2021 Costa Prize shortlist with Kate Sawyer, author of The Stranding. It’s a novel about a woman who survives the end-of-the-world by hiding inside the belly of a whale. Listen via the media player above or your favourite podcast app. ‘Ruth lives in the […]

Kate Sawyer, joins us, author of the Costa shortlisted novel The Stranding, in which a woman survives the end of the world by hiding inside a beached whale. We also consider the broader canon of apocalypse novels, we've got three brilliant book-club recommendations from Kate (see below) plus follow-on reads from us, and we get a sneak peak into Kate's reading pile as she lets us in on some of her recent favourites.

Matrix by Lauren Groff book cover

Matrix by Lauren Groff • #107

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Join us as we dive into Lauren Groff’s latest novel, Matrix. This short, unusual novel is a fictional account of the life of 12-century poet Marie de France, a cast-off from Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine’s court, exiled to be Prioress at a run-down abbey inhabited by starving nuns. Devastated and grieving the young Marie thinks […]

Join us as we dive into Lauren Groff's latest novel, Matrix, a fictional account of the life of 12-century poet Marie de France. It's a bold vision of female love, devotion and desire and has been a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist and a hit with fellow authors like Brit Bennett and Madeleine Miller. But did it make for a good book club read? Listen in as we're joined by Phil Chaffee and Sarah Oliver to discuss it.

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The 2021 Booker Prize episode • #106

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Join us as we discuss the 2021 Booker shortlist in typical book club style, with returning guest, journalist Phil Chaffee, and new-to-the-pod Chrissy Ryan, owner of Bookbar, our favourite bookshop / bar. We livestream the Booker ceremony so you can catch our immediate reactions as winner Damon Galgut is announced. Did we agree? Was there […]

Join us as we watch the livestream of the 2021 Booker Prize ceremony and discuss all the books on the shortlist. Listen in to find out if we loved them or loathed them. And if you haven't dived into the shortlist yet, we've kept it spoiler free.

Second Place by Rachel Cusk book cover

Second Place by Rachel Cusk • #105

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It’s our latest Book Club episode, and we’re discussing Rachel Cusk’s latest novel, Second Place. A woman invites a famous artist to use her guesthouse in the remote coastal landscape where she lives with her family. Powerfully drawn to his paintings, she believes his vision might penetrate the mystery at the center of her life. […]

Laura's book club tackles Second Place, the new novel by Rachel Cusk. It was longlisted but not shortlisted for the 2021 Booker – did they miss a classic? Sally Rooney has called it ‘masterful’, saying it ‘achieves a kind of formal perfection’, but did Laura's group agree? We also have four follow-on book recommendations for your next book club read.

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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.

Adam Ashton and Adam Jones

‘What You Will Learn’ with Adam Ashton and Adam Jones • #103

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We love book discussion here at The Book Club Review, the more books the better, so we were interested in two Australians who devour books on everything from self-improvement to business and marketing for their weekly podcast What You Will Learn. Adam Ashton and Adam Jones have recently launched their own book, The Sh*t They […]

Listen in to find out the books that can help you improve your life from Adam Ashton and Adam Jones, two Australians who have turned reading improving books into an art form with their weekly podcast What You Will Learn.

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.

Like A Sword Wound by Ahmet Altan book cover

Like a Sword Wound by Ahmet Altan • 101

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Looking for something a little off the beaten path for your reading pile? Join us as we discuss Like A Sword Wound by renowned Turkish writer Ahmet Altan (translated by Brendan Freely and Yelda Türedi). It’s the first volume in a quartet and traces not only the social currents of the final years of the […]

Looking for something a little off the beaten path for your reading pile? Join us as we discuss Like A Sword Wound by renowned Turkish writer Ahmet Altan and end up feeling a little wiser, a little more intellectual, with our cultural horizons nicely enlarged. And then, as ever, we have some follow-on book recommendations. In this episode we're joined by journalist and friend-of-the-pod Philip Chaffee.

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Kate and Laura get personal • #100

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For our 100th podcast episode we turn the spotlight on ourselves a little more than usual to answer listeners’ questions. From our favourite childhood reads to the books that shaped us as adults, from books which kept us up all night to books we disagree on (with a shocking mid-show revelation from Laura that threatens […]

For our 100th podcast episode we turn the spotlight on ourselves a little more than usual to answer listeners' questions. From the books we love to the ones we don't and everything in-between.

the women's prize shortlist episode

The 2021 Women’s Prize episode • #99

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It’s here. After weeks of reading, tons of post-it notes and a smokin’ WhatsApp group busy with thoughts flying back and forth we proudly present our 2021 Women’s Prize episode. We’re joined by returning podcast guests Elizabeth Morris and Sarah Oliver to review all six shortlisted titles. You’re in safe book club hands so expect […]

It’s our 2021 Women’s Prize shortlist episode. We’re joined by guests Elizabeth Morris and Sarah Oliver to discuss every book on the shortlist. But did we love them? Did we loathe them? Most importantly who do we think should win. Listen in to our spoiler-free show and feel inspired to pick up one or all six of these amazing books.

Seb Emina The Happy Reader

The Happy Reader, with Seb Emina • #98

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A magazine that has always been dear to our hearts is Penguin’s Happy Reader, an occasional publication that takes inspiration from the idea of a book club. In the early days of the podcast we were delighted to interview its editor Seb Emina. To celebrate the launch of The Happy Reader‘s latest edition we’re releasing […]

To celebrate the launch of the latest issue of our favourite magazine, Penguin's Happy Reader, we're happily re-releasing our interview with its editor, Seb Emina. Listen in for his best book discoveries, find out what goes into creating the perfect bookish magazine and if you're thinking of starting a book club, Seb has some interesting suggestions for meet ups.

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The Remains of the Day • #97

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Join us as we turn our attention to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Booker winning novel The Remains of the Day, which follows Stevens, butler to Lord Darlington and manager of a large stately home as he looks back on a life spent in service. Taking an opportunity from his new employer, a wealthy American, Stevens sets out […]

Laura adopts a less than reverential attitude towards Kazuo Ishiguro's Booker winning novel The Remains of the Day but does Kate agree? What did her book club think? Listen in to find out if this one is worth adding to your TBR pile, plus we've got some more great recommendations for your next book club read

Chrissy Ryan of Bookbar bookshop

Bookbar, with Chrissy Ryan • #96

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We got together with Chrissy Ryan, founder of new North London bookshop and bar Bookbar to talk about her vision for a social space where people feel welcome whether they read a book a day, a week, a month or a year. You know when you walk into an independent bookshop and the selection is […]

Combining bookshop and bar seems almost too good to be true. Join us as we live the dream chatting to Chrissy Ryan of Bookbar, a bookshop and events space that embraces the social side of reading. Listen in for a dose of Chrissy's joyous enthusiasm for books, her essential selection of books she loves right now and her hot picks of the ones that are coming soon.

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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.

Book cover Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden

94. Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden

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Or listen via your favourite podcast player here: Join us as we tackle this unusual book that mixes prose with poetry and a play script, in which Death is embodied in the form of an old black woman. Mrs Death befriends a young writer, Wolf, who agrees to ghost-write her memoirs. Mrs Death has had […]

Join us as we tackle this highly original book that mixes prose with poetry and a play script, in which Death is embodied in the form of an old black woman. Mrs Death befriends a young writer, Wolf, who agrees to ghost-write her memoirs. Why read a book about a subject most of us would prefer not to think about? Listen in to find out.

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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.

portrait of Ella Berthoud

92. Ella Berthoud and The Art of Mindful Reading

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Or listen via your podcast feed: https://pod.fo/e/c5bc5 Bibliotherapist and author (with Susan Elderkin) of classic books about books The Novel Cure and The Story Cure, Ella Berthoud’s most recent work is The Art of Mindful Reading, a practical guide that promises to help people to read more mindfully, bringing their lives to books and books […]

We're joined by Bibliotherapist Ella Berthoud whose book The Art of Mindful Reading promises to help us engage more deeply with the books that we read. Expect lots of book recommendations in this show, plus advice on everything from how to keep a successful book journal to what to do when you’re not enjoying your book club book. Listen in and learn how to make the very most of your precious reading time, and even find out how to carve out more of it.

book cover The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey

91. The Mermaid of Black Conch

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Or listen on your podcast app. Join us as we discuss the winner of the 2020 Costa Book of the Year, an award that seemed to surprise booksellers and publishers Peepal Tree Press alike, who had to scramble to print new copies to meet demand. Even Margaret Atwood got excited about this ‘fishy tale of […]

Join us as we discuss The Mermaid of Black Conch, winner of the 2020 Costa Book of the Year, an award that seemed to surprise booksellers and publishers Peepal Tree Press alike, who had to scramble to print new copies to meet demand. Did it make for a good book club book? Was Kate able to cope with reading all the sex? If you buy a book about a mermaid is it then ok to complain it’s unrealistic? Listen in to find out.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 RECOMMENDATIONS In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener Morning by Allan Jenkins West with the Night by Beryl Markham A Drop […]

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.

70. The BritLit Podcast

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Lockdown kept us indoors, but in some ways it opened our horizons. With a little help from technology we crossed the Atlantic to catch up with Claire Handscombe, presenter and producer of BritLit, a fortnightly podcast that tracks what’s going on in the British publishing world. From Claire’s novel Unscripted to her favourite recent reads, […]

Claire Handscombe tells us about her mission to bring the best British books to America, plus what makes for the perfect beach read.

69. Where the Crawdads Sing

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A word-of-mouth sleeper hit, Where The Crawdads Sing stunned the publishing world when sales took off and the book shot onto bestseller lists. It was all the more surprising as the author was a 70-year-old scientist new to writing fiction. Barkley Cove is a quiet town surrounded by marshland on the coast of North Carolina. When a […]

One of our liveliest discussions yet. Beautiful writing, a suspenseful plot and an unforgettable heroine... Or poorly written, paper-thin characterisation and an ending you see coming a mile off. Which camp will you fall into?

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.

67. London Archives Book Club

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The London Metropolitan Archives collects, preserves, celebrates and shares the stories of London and Londoners. They also have a book group, open to all, that meets monthly to explore a range of London writing, fiction or non-fiction, for all periods in London history. Not only do participants get to discuss the book, they also get […]

Where history and literature combine, the London Metropolitan Archives book club tackles everything from Ben Judah's controversial This Is London to the surprisingly racy 18th-century journal of James Boswell. Archivists Charlie and Claire tell us more.

66. Lanny by Max Porter

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Part novel, part poem, Lanny evokes a typical English village whose residents are observed by an ancient spirit of nature – who in turn is taking a particular interest in one child. The Guardian called it ‘a fable, a collage, a dramatic chorus, a joyously stirred cauldron of words’, but what did Kate’s book club make of […]

With his debut Grief is the Thing With Feathers, Max Porter made a unique mark on the literary landscape. But did his second novel, Lanny, capture our hearts in the same way? We put it to the book club test.

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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.

64. Crib Notes

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The early days of motherhood might not seem an obvious moment to expand your reading horizons, but for Elizabeth Morris the combination of night-time wake-ups and heightened emotional sensitivity led her to a new appreciation of the printed word. After the birth of her son she decided to build on her career in the book […]

When all you have are stolen moments, you want to be sure you're spending them with the right book. Enter Elizabeth Morris, creator of brilliant books newsletter Crib Notes. Listen in to hear her recommendations for new and busy mothers – and meet guest star baby Rose.

63. Stories of Your Life and Others

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Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang clocked in at number 80 on The Guardian’s list of the 100 Best Books of the 21st Century. And Barack Obama’s a fan too. But what about Laura’s book club? What did they make of this collection of eight sci-fi short stories, one of which formed the basis for […]

Sci-fi sceptics, this is the book for you. Chiang's sharply intelligent speculative stories are in a league of their own. Yes, you'll need to switch your brain into high gear but trust us, it's more than worth it.

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.

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.

42. Books on the Go Podcast

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For a ton of great recommendations – most of which were new to us – we turned to Anna Baillie-Karas from Australian podcast Books on the Go. Listen in to hear about some books that might be new to you, or ones that you might have overlooked when they came out. And finally a book […]

We caught up with Anna Baillie-Karas, host of one of our favourite podcasts, Books on the Go, on a flying visit to London. Listen in for a ton of great book recommendations.

41. A Different Drummer + If Beale Street Could Talk

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What happens when all the black people in a Southern town decide to pack their things and leave? First published in 1962, A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley had been largely forgotten until rediscovered by journalist Kathryn Schulz. Her New Yorker article put it back on the map. Laura’s book club were intrigued by […]

What happens when one day every single black person in a Southern state leaves? That’s the startling premise of William Melvin Kelley’s forgotten 1962 classic. Much better known, James Baldwin’s 1974 novel is no less a classic, though the tragic injustice at its heart is all too familiar.

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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.

39. Book of the Year Club

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Too often in the reading world we chase the latest new release. So, it was a great pleasure to interview Simon Thomas who specialises in seeking out books from the past. We discuss his unusual take on a book club where he and like-minded book bloggers read and review books from a particular year in […]

Up for a spot of time travel? Then join Simon Thomas and his band of book bloggers as they transport themselves back in time by each reading a book – any book – published from a specific year.

38. Why We Sleep

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We discuss Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology, whose book offers us the chance to be more attractive, slimmer, happier and healthier – all thanks to a good night’s sleep. Critics have called this international bestseller ‘accessible’, ‘compelling’ and ‘enlightening’. But what did Kate’s book club make of it? […]

Sleep. It will make you healthier, happier, slimmer and even more attractive. Or so says Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology. Are we convinced?

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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.

36. The Mostly Harmless Book Club

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From Game of Thrones to Watership Down, via Haruki Marukami, Margaret Atwood, Frank Herbert and everything in-between, Mostly Harmless are a thriving book club devoted to sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comics. We interviewed founders Derek and Barbara about the hits and misses over the years. They shared a great set of expert recommendations for die-hard […]

From Game of Thrones to Watership Down, we talk to Derek and Barbara who run Mostly Harmless, a flourishing book club devoted to sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comics. They give us recommendations for everyone from die-hard enthusiasts to genre first-timers.

35. Normal People by Sally Rooney

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Normal People was named Waterstones book of the year, longlisted for the 2018 Booker Prize and most recently won the Costa Novel Award. Sally Rooney’s editor at Faber & Faber dubbed her a ‘Salinger for the Snapchat generation’, while praise has been heaped on the book by the critics. But did it make for a […]

‘Salinger for the Snapchat generation’, Sally Rooney has fans aplenty. Is this the love story of our time? Or just a case of two clever kids unable to use their words? Kate and Laura square off.

34. Simon Schama

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A special interview with Simon Schama, historian, academic, documentary maker, journalist, cultural polymath and keen fiction reader. Listen in to find out what sends him to sleep happy, how his reading informs his writing, his favourite bookstores, his views on the pleasure of imperfect books, and best of all a ton of book suggestions. Plus […]

Historian, academic, documentary maker, journalist, cultural polymath, Simon Schama is also a keen reader of fiction. Listen in to find out what sends him to sleep happy, his views on the pleasure of imperfect books, and best of all a ton of book recommendations.

33.5 The Horror Book Club

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What’s it like to be in a book club that only reads frightening books? And what is fear anyway? It turns out it means different things to different people. Join us for a fascinating interview with Andy Russell, who runs London’s Horror Book Club, and find out why there may be much more to the […]

What's it like to be in a book club that only reads frightening books? And what is fear anyway? It turns out it means different things to different people. Join us for a fascinating interview with Andy Russell, who runs London's Horror Book Club, and find out why there may be much more to the horror genre than you think.

33. The Haunting of Hill House

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‘Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more.’ Andy Russell of London’s Horror Book Club joins us to discuss Shirley Jackson’s classic. A total terror? Or just the right side of thrilling? Listen in to hear what […]

A total terror? Or just the right side of thrilling? Andy Russell of London's Horror Book Club joins us to discuss Shirley Jackson's classic.

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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.

31. London Literary Salon

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Whether for book club or your TBR shelf, 2019 may be the year for a challenge. But what is it about classics such as Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, or Homer’s Iliad, James Joyce’s Ulysses or Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain that makes them seem more daunting than pleasurable? Fear not, we have just the […]

Whether for book club or your TBR shelf, 2019 may be the year for a challenge. But what is it about classics such as Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, or Homer’s Iliad, James Joyce's Ulysses or Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain that makes them seem more daunting than pleasurable? Listen in to find out how Toby guides her group through books that many struggle to finish alone.

30. Lullaby by Leïla Slimani

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‘The baby is dead. It took only a few seconds.’ So begins this bestselling thriller by French author Leïla Slimani, and the winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt. Unmissable? Unreadable? Listen in to hear Laura report back on what her book club made of Lullaby – and whether she made it out intact. With much, much […]

'The baby is dead. It took only a few seconds.' So begins this bestselling thriller by French author Leïla Slimani. Unmissable? Unreadable? It’s our most divisive episode yet.

29. Book Club Book of the Year

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We look back over our book club reads this past year and crown our favourite. But which one will it be? Book recommendations Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles Educated by Tara Westover Swing Time by Zadie Smith Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien […]

It’s been a cracker of a year for both our book clubs, but only one book can come out on top. We look back through the year considering the hits and misses to work out our Book Club Book of the Year.

28. The Paperbacks Book Club

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From hockey team to all-male book club with 50+ members, Jim West tells us how founding The Paperbacks revealed ‘the great undiscovered demographic’: men who read. Book recommendations Madness, Betrayal and the Lash: The Epic Voyage of Captain George Vancouver by Stephen R. Bown The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie by […]

From hockey team to all-male book club with over fifty members, Jim West tells us how founding The Paperbacks revealed 'the great undiscovered demographic': men who read.

27. The Unfinished Palazzo

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The story of three extraordinary women – Luisa Casati, Doris Castleross, Peggy Guggenheim – and the Venetian Palazzo that captivated them. Il Palazzo non finito was once an abandoned feature on Venice’s Grand Canal, a grand project that had fallen into decay with changing family fortunes. In the 20th-century, however, three extraordinary women would reinvent the […]

The Unfinished Palazzo is the story of three extraordinary women – Luisa Casati, Doris Castleross, Peggy Guggenheim – and the Venetian Palazzo that captivated them. Judith Mackrell's biography is unquestionably a fascinating read but did it make for a good book club book?

26.5 The Best New Book Club Books

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Wondering what to buy the book clubber in your life for Christmas? Here’s Claire Griffiths of North London bookshop Ink@84 with a brilliant rundown of new titles to catch your interest and inspire some great book club debates. Book recommendations Ghost Wall and The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi Fox 8 […]

We always love talking to booksellers because they have such a wide-ranging knowledge of books, it's the perfect way to dig out those gems you might have missed. Claire Griffiths of North London bookshop Ink@84 gives us her run-down of the best new titles and her picks for great book club reads.

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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?

25. Lesbian Book Club

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What do you do when your small start-up book club is so popular that you quickly become overwhelmed with new members? For Eléonore Pratoussy of the Lesbian Book Club in East London, it signalled a need for more lesbian book groups. Happily she has a plan to expand. Eléonore and fellow bookclubbers Caroline and Carina […]

What do you do when your small start-up book club is so popular that you quickly become overwhelmed with new members? For Eléonore Pratoussy of the Lesbian Book Club in East London, it signalled a need for more lesbian book groups. Listen in to hear the secrets of her success and a ton of great book recommendations.</strong.

24. Less + The House of Impossible Beauties

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We discuss Pulitzer-prize winning comic novel Less by Andrew Sean Greer, and Joseph Cassara’s The House of Impossible Beauties, a novel of drag queens and drag balls in 1980s New York. Both received rave reviews from the critics, but did they make for good book club books? Listen in to find out. Book recommendations Fair […]

We discuss Pulitzer-prize winning comic novel Less by Andrew Sean Greer, and Joseph Cassara's The House of Impossible Beauties, a novel of drag queens and drag balls in 1980s New York. Both received rave reviews from the critics, but did they make for good book club books? Listen in to find out.

23. The Faraway Nearby

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  We’re joined by US Vogue magazine’s culture editor Chloe Schama to consider The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit, the latest book read by Kate’s book club. We consider the genre of ‘anti-memoir’ (and if you’re unfamiliar with the term you will find yourself among friends) and come up with some light alternative reading in case it […]

US Vogue culture editor Chloe Schama join us to weigh in on Rebecca Solnit’s ‘anti-memoir’ and its meandering musings. A beguiling read, but did it make for a good book club book?

22. Educated by Tara Westover

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From no formal education before the age of seventeen to a PhD from Cambridge ten years later, Tara Westover’s transformation is the stuff of Hollywood. And that’s before you learn about the violence and brainwashing that tainted her upbringing within her Mormon survivalist family. Westover’s remarkable memoir, Educated, made Barack Obama’s summer reading list. But what did […]

From a perilous childhood with no formal education to a Cambridge PhD at 27, Tara Westover’s memoir is the stuff of Hollywood. Moving, memorable and shocking. Is it also the perfect book club book?

21. A Far Cry from Kensington

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A Far Cry From Kensington has many fans amongst the critics but what did Kate’s book club make of it? Did they fall in love with Muriel Spark’s genteel farce set in the postwar London publishing industry? Or did they need more convincing of Spark’s genius? For an informed opinion we interview Hannah Griffin of […]

Muriel Spark’s short, sharp farce set in the publishing world of 1950s London is much admired. But as former book editors ourselves, what did we make of her indomitable narrator and editor with a capital E, Mrs Hawkins?

20. Do Not Say We Have Nothing

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The New York Times called it a ‘powerfully expansive novel’ and it was shortlisted for the Booker, but what did Laura’s book club make of Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien? For our regular book club interview, we get radical with London’s Radical Reading Group. And we finish as always with some […]

A lyrical and ambitious novel that deftly weaves together a story of family, friendship and music across the tapestry of 20th-century Chinese history. Laura loved it.