Kate and Laura on the books that get you talking. Every episode we sit down to chat about the books read most recently by our book clubs. What did we make of them? Did they spark debate? And whether we loved them or loathed them, we always try to answer the big question: were they great book club books?
Bookshelf: Autumn reads
Listen in to our latest bookshelf as Kate is bewitched by the new Susanna Clarke novel Piranesi, charmed by Shirley Jackson's memoir of raising her children in Life Among the Savages, and has a guilty confession to make about To Calais in Ordinary Time by James Meek. In Laura's stack are supernatural thriller Himself by Jess Kidd, Midnight in Sicily by Peter Robb and The Observations by Jane Harris. Also some guilty pleasure reading of Georgette Heyer and Alison Croggon's fantasy series of Pellinor novels.
The Vanishing Half
Identical twin sisters Stella and Desiree Vignes grow up together in a small, southern black community where the inhabitants have noteably light skin. When they run away at the age sixteen they make very different choices. One will marry and then return to her hometown, the other will live her life passing for white, knowing she can never go back. What will happen, though, when the next generation of their families connects?
Emily's Walking Book Club
More than ever as we gradually emerge from lockdown we find ourselves appreciating the natural world and the joys of walking. The perfect time then to revisit our interview with Emily’s Walking Book Club to hear about the inherent pleasures of walking and talking about books. And picking up on the theme we have some handpicked recommendations for you, perfect for topping up your TBR pile.
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
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 lives diverge from there.
Sittenfeld deftly mines the ‘What if?” possibilities of her premise, but does the novel live up to the hype? Or is it just literary fan fiction? An exercise in wishful thinking? Journalist Phil Chaffee joins us to give Rodham the full book club treatment.
Summer Reading: Find your perfect 'beach read'
'Beach read', 'holiday read', 'summer read'. This year there’s another term in the mix: the ‘stay-cation read’. But whatever you call it, for us summer reading is all about choice. Reading what you want. Not reading what you should.
So, what do YOU feel like reading? We’re here to help you decide. Wish fulfillment romance. Genre-bending Whodunnit. Rollicking historical epic. Forgotten 1930s gem. We’ve got you covered. Listen in to find your perfect ‘beach read’ – even if you’re now
73. Bookshelf: What we're reading outside of book club
It’s a summer sizzler of a Bookshelf with rave reviews from both Laura and Kate for their eclectic books of choice. For Kate, it’s all about hot contemporary reads, including Carmen Maria Machado's In the Dream House, an eye-opening memoir about an abusive lesbian relationship. Whereas Laura’s enchanted by the African adventures of 1930s aviatrix Beryl Markham, and dazzled by William Melvin Kelley’s portrait of a black musician in Jazz Age America.
Listen in to hear what we made of…
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 of Patience by William Melvin Kelley
The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel
Also mentioned on this episode:
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
Out of Africa by Karen Blixen
Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou – listen in to episode 55 for a full discussion
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
Plot 29 by Allan Jenkins
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker – listen in to episode 38 for a full discussion
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