Discussion, debate, even a little dispute – expect it all on The Book Club Review. Every month hosts Kate and Laura bring you a new episode. That could be Book Club where we chat about the book read most recently by one of our book clubs. It could be Bookshelf, an episode dedicated to the books we’re reading outside of book club – the ones we get to pick and choose. Or it could be an interview with a book club, bookshop or book lover. Whatever the topic, every episode features lively and frank reviews and recommendations.
The Thursday Murder Club • Episode #135
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 that is The Thursday Murder Club, the cozy crime novel set in a retirement community by TV-producer and presenter-turned-author Richard Osman.
Join us as Kate and two very special guests give The Thursday Murder Club the book club treatment. Our first guest is author and friend-of-the-pod Colleen Hubbard, whose debut novel Housebreaking was published by Hachette last year and is out in paperback April 2023. She joined Kate over Zoom and brought along her friend Sue, a pilates instructor and keen reader, to help give us more insight into how older readers are responding to this book.
Then it's back to Kate and Laura for a stack of our favourite follow-on crime reads, cozy or otherwise.
If you haven't yet read The Thursday Murder Club don’t worry, we will not spoil the plot for you. What we will do is take a friendly but critical overview to see if we can fathom the secrets behind the book’s appeal
The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
The Wych Elm by Tana French
Death in the Stocks by Georgette Heyer
The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne
Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie
Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession.
The Thursday Murder Club is published by Penguin.
Find out more about Colleen and her novel Housebreaking (Hachette) at Colleenhubbard.com
The Thursday Murder Club audiobook is produced by Penguin Audio
Whenever you listen to this episode if you have thoughts on it we’d love to hear them. Comment anytime on the episode page on our website https://thebookclubreview.co.uk, where you’ll also find full shownotes, book recommendations and a transcript. Comments there go straight to our inboxes so drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you. You can also sign up there for our bi-weekly-ish newsletter for extra reviews and recommendations.
If you’d like to see what we’re up to between episodes follow us on Instagram or Facebook @BookClubReviewpodcast, on Twitter @bookclubrvwpod or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re not already, why not subscribe to us wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to support us please do take a moment to rate and review the show, which helps other listeners find us.
Best Books of 2022 • Episode #134
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.
As snow falls gently around the shed, the fairy lights twinkle, the mulled wine is warm, and we discuss our favourite reads of 2022 with regular special guest, journalist Phil Chaffee. Books mentioned are listed below, but if you want to be surprised look away now.
Book recommendations for Best Books of 2022 Favourite new release: Laura loved TRUST by Herman Diaz, Phil’s favourite (with also-rans The Marriage Portraitby Maggie O’Farrell and Love Marriage by Monica Ali) was THE SECRET LIVES OF CHURCH LADIES by Deesha Philyaw, while Kate loved SEVEN STEEPLES by Sara Baume (with honorable mentions Housebreaking by Colleen Hubbard and Briefly: A Delicious Life by Nell Stevens)
Favourite backlist title: Phil picked THE BETROTHED by Alessandro Manzoni (with also-rans The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toíbín, and Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig). Kate loved The Homemaker by Dorothy Canfield-Fisher but her favourite was O CALEDONIA by Elspeth Barker. Laura went for WIVES AND DAUGHTERS by Elizabeth Gaskell.
Favourite non-fiction reads: For Kate it was THE PALACE PAPERS, Tina Brown’s engaging examination of the British royal family and our collective fascination with (or indifference) to them. Kate’s also-rans were Fall by John Preston (did Robert Maxwell fall or was he pushed?), 4,000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman (if we did but have the time to discuss it) and Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake (book everyone says is great turns out to be great). Laura only reads non-fiction when her book club forces her too, but luckily she did end up reading CASTE by Isabel Wilkerson, a book that changed her view of the world within the first fifty pages. Phil loved Putin’s People by Catherine Belton and Not One Inch by M.E. Sarotte, but his overall favourite was THE RED PRINCE by Timothy Snyder.
Favourite Book Club reads. Top of the pile for Laura was MICHEL THE GIANT by Tété-Michel Kpomassie while Phil preferred EIGHT MONTHS ON GHAZZAH STREET by Hilary Mantel. Kate loved The Heart is a Lonely Hunterby Carson McCullers but her ultimate choice was LIGHT PERPETUAL by Francis Spufford
Favourite comfort reads: For Phil it was EITHER/OR by Elif Batuman; he now only wants to read books narrated by her protagonist Selin. Laura escaped to a creepy Swiss hotel with THE SANATORIUM by Sarah Pearse while Kate sank into the arms of old friend E.M. Delafield with THE DIARY OF A PROVINCIAL LADY.
A book that made us laugh or cry: For Kate it was A HEART THAT WORKS by Rob Delaney. Phil enjoyed THREE MEN IN A BOAT by Jerome K. Jerome (in audiobook form read by Hugh Laurie). Laura loved Small by Claire Lynch and The Sentence by Louise Erdrich, but her final choice was THE BREAD THE DEVIL KNEAD by Lisa Allen-Agostini
A book we pressed on a friend: Runner-up for Phil was We Don’t Know Ourselves by Fintan O’Toole but his favourite was THE FREE WORLD by Louis Menand. Laura’s pick was THE SIXTEEN TREES OF THE SOMME by Lars Mytting
Books we read that didn’t quite live up to our expectations: THE ABSOLUTE BOOK by Elizabeth Knox promised much for Laura but ultimately didn’t deliver. Phil really didn’t get on with A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanigahara (and has *really* thought about why) and for Kate LIBERATION DAY by George Saunders didn’t quite meet the soaring heights of his other books.
Overall Book of the Year: Laura’s st
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, My Phantoms and Eight Months on Ghazzah Street – what did our book clubs make of them?
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 group. The first is My Phantoms, the most recent novel from critics favourite Gwendoline Riley. What's all the fuss about? And did Laura's book club agree it was worth the read?
Next we consider Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, a lesser-known work from Hilary Mantel. The real question, it seems, when reading Hilary Mantel is 'why would you ever read anyone else?' Listen in to find out just what it was Laura's group loved so much.
We also have a range of recommendations for follow-ons to try, or to read with your book club.
Women and Power by Mary Beard
Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au
A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam
The audiobook of The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida is published by Bolinda Digital (P) Bolinda Publishing 2022, My Phantoms is published by Granta Audio and Eight Months on Ghazzah Street is published by W.F. Howes and all three are available via your preferred audiobook retailer or library app.
If you enjoyed this episode catch up with our original take on The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida when we discussed it as part of our Booker Prize special episode.
For reviews and recommendations between episodes come and find us over on Instagram @bookclubreviewpodcast, on Twitter @bookclubrvwpod, or email us at email@example.com, we always love to hear from you. If you'd like to support us, please do take a moment to rate and review the show, which helps us reach new listeners. And tell your book-loving friends, who might not have heard of us.
Fitzcarraldo Editions, with Jacques Testard
Today's 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 maintained by publisher Jacques Testard since the beginning has reaped rewards and he now publishes four Nobel Prizewinning authors as well as Booker international and Pulitzer prize winners and shortlistees. Not bad for a small publishing house that was started in 2014 on a tiny budget with just one employee, Jacques himself.
Listen in to hear the story of Fitzcarraldo - named after a film that celebrates a seemingly impossible endeavour - and how in only his second-ever Frankfurt book fair Jacques found himself negotiating a 12-way bidding war for the English-language rights to Secondhand Time by Nobel winner Sveltlana Alexievich.
And, because it’s us, you’ll also get to hear about the books. What are our favourites? Which do we recommend? Why are so many of them sad? We’re joined by Sam MacAuslan, keen Fitzcarraldo reader, to uncover some gems from the list.
Like all good things, this episode has been a while in the making but with Fitzcarraldo recently celebrating publishing their 100th book it seemed the perfect time to release it out into the world, we hope you enjoy it, and feel inspired to try a Fitzcarraldo or two.
Things I Don’t Want to Know Deborah Levy
Attention: A Short History by Joshua Cohen
Limonov: The Outrageous Adventures by Emannuel Carrère
Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich (Bela Shayevich)
Minor Detail by Adania Shibley (Elizabeth Jaquette)
Fifty Sounds by Polly Barton
Flights by Olga Tocarczuk (Jennifer Croft)
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tocarczuk (Jennifer Croft)
The Books of Jacob by Olga Tocarczuk (Jennifer Croft)
Primeval and Other Times by Olga Tocarczuk (Antonia Lloyd Jones)
The Years by Annie Ernaux (Alison L. Strayer)
Exteriors by Annie Ernaux (Tanya Leslie)
Zone, Matthias Enard (Charlotte Mandell)
Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au
The Naked Don’t Fear the Water by Matthieu Aikins
Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor (Sophie Hughes)
Paradise by Fernanda Melchor (Sophie Hughes)
The Netanyahus, Joshua Cohen
Septology, Jon Fosse (Damion Searls)
The film Fitzcarraldo by Werner Herzog
Deborah Levy interview in The White Review
New Directions in the US
Giramondo in Australia
As for us
Follow us on Instagram @BookClubReviewpodcast, on Twitter @bookclubrvwpod or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Find shownotes, transcript and comments forum over on our website https://thebookclubreview.co.uk and drop us a line, let us know your thoughts on this episode, or tell us about a Fitzcarraldo book you love.
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A Heart That Works, with Rob Delaney
A special episode this week as 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 journey through the grieving process. It’s also a deeply moving, funny, thought-provoking and altogether wonderful read. Listen in as Rob and Kate share their stories, which to forewarn you, touch on the topics of death, still-birth and suicide, as well as joy and love and the importance of books as places of emotional refuge, sources of wisdom and pleasure.
A Heart that Works by Rob Delaney
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Lucia Berlin, try A Manual for Cleaning Women
One, Two, Three, Four by Craig Brown
Thunder Road by Jim Cummings
The Beatles: Get Back
The Rainbow Trust
Noah’s Ark Hospice
Rob Delaney’s website
Have thoughts on this episode? Whenever you listen you can always leave us a comment over at the episode page on our website, where you’ll also find a transcript and full show notes. You can also sign up to our bi-weekly-ish newsletter for book recommendations and what we’re reading between episodes.
You can also find us on Instagram @bookclubreviewpodcast and Twitter @bookclubrvwpod
Bookshelf: Autumn reads
A stack of books for Autumn nights: Laura dives in to the page-turning but ‘questionable’ Run by Anne Patchett, and is riveted by Gwendolyn Riley’s My Phantoms, while all Kate can think about is mushrooms thanks to Merlin Sheldrake’s Entangled Life. She’s also been dipping into Empire of Pain author Patrick Radden Keefe’s essay collection, Rogues.
Also discussed Amazon reviews vs. Goodreads, how ‘good but flawed’ is often quite a good sign in a book-club read, the marketing history of quorn, how lucky we are not to be Carpenter ants, how surprised to we were to learn that the Dutch have mobsters, the emotional perils of reading too much fiction, and more…
Run by Anne Patchett
Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
My Phantoms by Gwendolyn Riley
Rogues by Patrick Radden-Keefe
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
Keep up with us between episodes on Instagram @BookClubReview podcast, on Twitter @bookclubrvwpod or drop us a line at email@example.com.
On the episode page on our website you'll find a transcript, full shownotes and a comments forum – let us know your thoughts on any of the books discussed in this episode, comments there go straight to our inboxes and we will reply.
You can also browse our archive of past episodes, everything from Booker Prize specials to book club debates. And you can sign up to our bi-weekly ish newsletter for featured books, our tips for what to read next and our current reads.
Book club Review
I really enjoy this podcast. I currently don’t belong to a book group so listening to Kate and Laura chatting and discussing books is a real treat for me. I have discovered some great reads which I don’t think I would have come across if I hadn’t listened to this.
Great to find a specific podcast all about books. This is very much about current books, and I really like that. The concept is great, love the newsletter and show notes.
This is a great podcast if you love reading. Thank you ladies for all your recommendations.