173 episodes

Literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith.

The Book Club The Spectator

    • Books

Literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith.

    John Carey: A Little History of Poetry

    John Carey: A Little History of Poetry

    This week's Book Club podcast features one of the great wise men of the literary world: Professor John Carey - emeritus Merton Professor of English at Oxford, author of authoritative books on Milton, Donne and Dickens as well as the subject-transforming broadside The Intellectuals and the Masses. (He's also lead book reviewer for a publication we shall call only the S****y T***s, but we pass over that.) In his new book, A Little History of Poetry, he sweeps us with his usual elan from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the backyard of Les Murray. I asked him (among other things) what constitutes poetry, why 'Goosey Goosey Gander' has it all, what he discovered in his researches, and why the so-called New Criticism got old.  
    Presented by Sam Leith.

    • 35 min
    Blake Gopnik: Warhol

    Blake Gopnik: Warhol

    On this week’s Book Club podcast, Sam is joined by Blake Gopnik — the author of a monumental new biography of Andy Warhol. Blake tells Sam how everything — fame, money, and other human beings — were 'art supplies' to Warhol, but that underneath a succession of contrived personae Warhol could be warm, generous and even romantic; that the affectlessness of his art was not the expression of an affectless man; and that if he’d lived on, Gopnik thinks, he could have produced something equal to the late work of Titian.
    Presented by Sam Leith.

    • 33 min
    Don Paterson: Zonal

    Don Paterson: Zonal

    Sam's guest on this week’s Book Club is the poet Don Paterson — whose new book Zonal finds him accessing a new, confessional mode, a longer line and a childhood interest in the spooky TV show The Twilight Zone. Don talks about the relationship between poetry and jazz, the split between 'page poetry' and spoken-word material, the shortcomings of Rupi Kaur, whether poems should include 'spoiler alerts', and lifts the lid on his vicious feud with the man he calls 'Alan Jacket'. 
    Presented by Sam Leith.

    • 26 min
    Hadley Freeman: House of Glass

    Hadley Freeman: House of Glass

    In this week’s Book Club, Sam's guest is the writer Hadley Freeman, whose new book House of Glass tells the story of 20th century jewry through the hidden history of her own family. The four Glahs siblings — one of them the writer’s grandmother — grew up in a Polish shtetl just a few miles from what was to become Auschwitz. They fled the postwar pogroms to Paris; and then had to contend with the rise of a new and still more dangerous antisemitism under the Vichy regime. Hadley traced their story through two wars and across continents, and tells Sam how the story reflects both on Jewish history and on urgent concerns of the present day. And she even offers an intriguing cameo of the teenage Donald Trump… 
    Presented by Sam Leith.

    • 34 min
    Christina Lamb: Our Bodies Their Battlefield

    Christina Lamb: Our Bodies Their Battlefield

    In this week’s Book Club podcast, Sam's guest is the veteran foreign correspondent Christina Lamb. Christina’s new book, Our Bodies Their Battlefield: What War Does To Women is a deeply reported survey of rape as a weapon of war, described in the Spectator's pages (https://beta.spectator.co.uk/article/-the-most-powerful-and-disturbing-book-that-i-have-ever-read-) by Antony Beevor as the most powerful and disturbing book he has ever read. From the fates of Yazidi and Rohingya woman at the hands of IS and the Burmese military, to the German victims of the Red Army and the Disappeared of the Argentinian Junta, Christina looks at the past and present of this phenomenon and talks to me about why it’s so little reported or discussed, let alone prosecuted, how it happens, what it means — and why it’s seemingly on the increase even as wealthy western liberals congratulate themselves on the success of the #metoo movement.
    Presented by Sam Leith.

    • 37 min
    Why 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything

    Why 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything

    Don’t Panic! Next month marks the 42nd anniversary of the first radio broadcast of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Joining Sam on this week’s podcast to discuss the genesis, genius and legacy of the show and the books it spawned are the literary scholar and science fiction writer Adam Roberts, and John Lloyd, the founder of QI and a close collaborator and lifelong friend of Douglas Adams. Do they let slip the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything? Nearly.
    Presented by Sam Leith.

    • 30 min

Top Podcasts In Books

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by The Spectator