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.
Young Bloomsbury, with Nino Strachey • #126
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, such as writer Julia Strachey, sculptor Stephen Tomlin and photographer Cecil Beaton, who followed in their footsteps. Nino considers the interplay of creative inspiration that flowed between the generations, but also the spirit of tolerance and acceptance of different gender identities and chosen families that allowed these young creatives to flourish.
Leave us a comment on our The Book Club Review website, where you'll also find more information on all the books mentioned, a transcript and our comments forum. Let us know your thoughts on the episode, or a Bloomsbury Group book that you love.
Follow us between episodes for regular reviews and book recommendations on Instagram @bookclubreviewpodcast, or on Twitter @bookclubrvwpod.
Find Nino on Twitter or Instagram @NinoStrachey.
Lytton Strachey by Michael Holroyd (Penguin)
Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey
Love Letters: Vita and Virginia (Penguin)
Orlando by Virginia Woolf (Penguin)
L.O.T.E. by Sheila von Reinhold (Jaracanda)
All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville West (Penguin), which we talked about on episode 12.
The Waves and To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (Penguin)
Sissinghurst: The Creation of a Garden by Sarah Raven
A Boy at the Hogarth Press by Richard Kennedy (Slightly Foxed)
Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh (Penguin)
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (Penguin)
Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood (Picador)
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (Virago)
The Women's Prize 2022 • #125
We love a prize and we love a special episode, and so we’re delighted to have an excuse to get together to discuss the 2022 Women’s Prize shortlist and its winner, The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki.
The Women’s Prize is the UK's annual book award that celebrates the best books written by women. Key criteria for the Prize are accessibility, originality and excellence in writing. Judges are asked to ignore the reviews, publicity spends, an author’s previous reputation, and any sense of ‘who deserves it’ to choose the novel that inspires them, moves them, makes them think – and that they admire and enjoy.
And so listen in to hear our frank but friendly take on the shortlist, Ozeki’s big win, and whether we agree with the judges. Maybe you don’t have time to read them all and just want to read one? Leave it to us, we’ve got you covered.
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
The Hand the Devil Knead by Lisa-Allen Agostini
The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
Have thoughts on this episode? Join us over on our website where you'll find the page for this episode, a transcript and our comments forum. Which of the shortlist was your favourite? Drop us a line and let us know.
Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @BookClubReview podcast, on Twitter @bookclubrvwpod or email email@example.com.
The Inseparables, Simone de Beauvoir's lost novel • 124
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. The translation is by Lauren Elkin, author of Flâneuse, and the book comes with an introduction by Deborah Levy, and an afterword by Sylvie le bon de Beauvoir, plus a captivating selection of letters and photographs from the Beauvoir archive.
For this episode Kate was joined by Australian books podcaster Anna Baillie-Karas, in town taking short break from her own podcast Books on the Go. The perfect excuse, then, to read and discuss this powerful short book. 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.
Unusually for us this episode does contain spoilers, so if you don't know anything about Simone de Beauvoir and want to read this without any foreknowledge bookmark this show for later and come back to it when you've read the book.
We also have four book recommendations inspired by The Inseparables we think you will love.
Petronille by Amélie Northomb, translated by Amelia Anderson
At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell
Last Summer in the City by Gianfrarnco Calligarich, translated by Howard Curtis
Parisian Lives by Deidre Bair
Don't miss the episode page on our website for full shownotes, a transcript and comments forum where you can let us know your thoughts on the episode or recommend us a book. Comments there go straight to our inboxes and we will read and respond so do drop us a line, we love to hear from you.
Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @bookclubreviewpodcast, on Twitter @bookclubrvwpod, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to Lauren Elkin and Deborah Levy discuss The Inseparables for the London Review of Books
Listen to the Literary Friction podcast episode Kate mentioned, with Lauren Elkin
Mrs Dalloway, with Charles Pignal • #123
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 later she is visited by an old friend, Peter Walsh, who rekindles memories and feelings from her youth. Meanwhile making his own path through London traumatised soldier, Septimus Smith, is finding everyday life a torment and his young Italian wife cannot help him. Although they never meet, the two stories interweave as Woolf captures her characters and London on the page.
Join Kate and special guest, prolific reader and Instagram book reviewer Charles Pignal as they dive into Dalloway and debate the results. Could Woolf have used a few less semi-colons? Can Kate talk about the book without weeping? If you haven’t read it, should you read it? Listen in for the answers to all these questions plus some great follow-on recommendations from Charles and from Kate and Laura picking up on the London theme. Whether you’re wondering what to read next for book club or just want some good additions to your own reading pile we have the book for you.
The Annotated Mrs Dalloway, with notes by Merve Emre
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman
The Waves by Virginia Woolf
Young Eliot and Eliot After the Waste Land by Robert Crawford
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
White Teeth and Intimations by Zadie Smith
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
On Golden Hill and Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford
The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street and 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks
Queenie by Candice Carty Williams.
For more from Charles including reviews, his weekly books quiz, and author interviews find him on Instagram @charleslangip
Have thoughts on this episode, or a book to recommend? Go to the episode page on our website where you'll find full show notes for all the books discussed, a transcript and a comments forum. Comments go straight to our inboxes so get in touch, we love to hear from you.
You can also keep in touch between episodes on Instagram @BookClubReview podcast, or Twitter @bookclubrvwpod or drop us a line at email@example.com.
Summer Reading special 2022
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.
So if you’re curious what show-regular Phil Chaffee is diving into this summer, what Emily Rhodes of Emily’s Walking Book Club is planning on reading, what Nadia Odunayo of book recommendations app The Storygraph thinks you should try, what onetime journalist now bookseller Tom Rowley is planning on reading when he gets a second off setting up his new bookshop, Backstory, and finally what one of our favourite authors, Ed Caesar, thinks might be the perfect page-turner for you, keep listening.
So whether you're inclined towards the hottest new releases or the tried and tested classics (including several our guests love so much they return to them again and again), grab a notepad and listen in.
If you enjoyed the show head over to our website to comment and let us know your favourite summer reads, we love to hear from you. Or follow us on Instagram @thebookclubreviewpodcast, on Twitter @bookclubrvwpod or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – want to help us out? Subscribe, drop us a review and tell your book-loving friends about the show.
Book recommendations Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
The Field by Robert Seethaler
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
Hot Milk by Deborah Levy
Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny
Lessons in Chamistry by Bonnie Garmus
You Made a Fool of Death with your Beauty by Akwake Emezi
A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin
A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr
Brother of the More Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido
The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn
News of the Dead by James Robertson
Free by Lea Ypi
Serious Money by Caroline Knowles
The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett
The House of Niccolo sequence by Dorothy Dunnet
We Don't Know Ourselves by Fintan O'Toole
Gallant by V.E. Schwab
Clockers by Richard Price
Virtue by Hermione Hobie
Neon in Daylight by Hermione Hobie
Essex Dogs by Dan Jones (published 15 September 2022)
Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland
Join us as we venture to the frozen north in the very enjoyable company of Tété-Michel Kpomassie, who left his home of Togo, West Africa to pursue his dream of living in Greenland. While we may not have been 100% sold on the cuisine, we were fascinated by his experiences and the unique perspective he brings to his observations about the society he encounters there. First published in English in 1981 the book was recently re-issued by Penguin as part of their Modern Classics series. But do we think it should have a place on your bookshelf? Listen in to find out. And because there are few things we love more than a polar book, we’ve got a stack of other suggestions for your reading pile, from previous pod favourites like A Woman in the Polar Night by Christine Ritter, to a new to us book called This Cold Heaven, by Gretel Erlich. So come, fix yourself a cup of coffee with reindeer fat, and let us tell you more.
The Northern Lights, The Amber Spyglass and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials trilogy, [Scholastic])
The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller (Hachette)
This Cold Heaven by Gretel Erlich (Harper Collins)
Prophets of Eternal Fjord by Kim Leine (and The Colony of Good Hope [Pan Macmillan])
Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg (Penguin).
A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter.
Keep in touch:
No matter when you listen to this episode you can always comment via the episode page on our website, thebookclubreview.co.uk (where you'll also find the episode transcript). Comments there go straight to our inboxes so let us know your thoughts and we'll reply.
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Lincoln In the Bardo
Just listened to your book club review of Lincoln in the Bardo. I agree with Kate. Also love your website. Thanks for all the work you put into it.
Oyinkan Braithwaite is not a poor writer, you just don’t get it.
So glad I found this podcast!
I have benefitted tremendously from Kate and Laura’s fun book discussions — discovered a handful of authors this year, all thanks to them! So grateful they take the time to share their thoughts in this monthly podcast — I now have a running list of must-read-books, not to mention lots of books to recommend to my own book club friends.