Radio 2 Book Club – Emma Hooper

Etta and Otto and Russell and JamesIt must be great minds think alike, because we posted  a review about Emma Hooper’s debut novel Etta and Otto and Russell and James this week and it’s Simon Mayo’s next Radio 2 Drive Time Book Club choice on Monday 9th on at the February usual time.

You can download a sample of the book from the BBC website



Book programmes on TV and radio

An officer and a spyRobert Harris, author and chair of the Costa Book Awards judging panel, has said that the BBC should show more programmes about books. What do you think?

He said. “In the 1970s, when this prize was launched, there were two books programmes on British television: The Book Programme with Robert Robertson and Read All About It with Melvyn Bragg. If I remember rightly, The Book Programme was on BBC Two and Melvyn Bragg was on BBC One. Imagine that: a books programme on BBC One! Both were running at the same time when we only had three channels. We now have 300 channels but we don’t have any dedicated books programmes. It’s a serious point. I do wish the BBC would fulfil that bit of its charter remit and give books what they used to, because there’s nowhere to go. Is it too much to ask?”

Robert Harris is a best-selling author himself, as well as being a former journalist with the BBC. His books include-Fatherland, Pompeii, The Ghost and Archangel which was adapted as a BBC drama starring Daniel Craig.


He also made a joke about rival Man Booker Prize, saying that the Costa was “not a prize for books that people think they ought to read, but for books that people want to read. Some winners of other literary prizes are books that “the public don’t quite get…This is a book that I think everyone will like. The judges’ brief is to select a well-written, enjoyable book that they would strongly recommend anyone to read. It’s not the Booker Prize, it has its own particular stamp. It goes for good quality writing.”

The BBC say they have programmes like Radio 4’s ‘A Good Read’ and BBC Four’s The Secret Life of Books, run the BBC National Short Story Award, and introduce millions to new books through adaptations like Wolf Hall, the Casual Vacancy and Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime.

Radio 2 Book Club

The next book to be discussed on the Radio 2 Book Club will be Bitter Water by Gordon Ferris.

It’s a crime novel set in Glasgow, and to give you an idea of what to expect, Ferris has been likened to Ian Rankin. You can find out more about the book, and download an extract, from the Book Club website.

You can catch the book club on Monday 30th April from 18.00,  as part of Simon Mayo’s 17.00 – 19.00 Drivetime show.

If you missed previous shows, including discussion of  Charlotte Rogan’s The Lifeboat, and Luck: what it means and why it matters by Ed Smith.  you can catch up via the Radio 2 Book Club website.

“Blokey Book Club” takes to the airwaves

The Men’s Hour show returned to BBC Radio 5 Live this weekend, bringing with it the  “Blokey Book Club”, which aims to encourage men to read more fiction.

The club will ask listeners to recommend and comment on their favourite fiction through the programme’s website, in the hope of “creating a dialogue” about books.

Every week a well-known man, such as a politician, footballer, author or actor, will feature on the programme to recommend and discuss a good read.

On the first programme, author David Baddiel spoke about his own novels, and recommended American novelist John Updike’s Rabbit series.

Men’s Hour presenter Tim Samuels said he wanted to feature books to encourage more men to read because it was generally perceived that men do not consume as much fiction as women and most book clubs have only female members.

Not sure if this is statistically the case! We’d love to hear whether this reflects your experience of reading groups.

You can hear Men’s Hour, including the Blokey Book Club, on Sunday evenings from 9pm on Radio 5 Live. The latest episode is available on the BBC iPlayer, if you missed it first time round.

The Radio 2 Book Club

Simon Mayo used to host an excellent book discussion and review strand as part of his afternoon show on Radio 5 Live, and we’re pleased that the book club concept has moved with him over to Radio 2.

The Radio 2 Book Club runs from 18.00 on Monday evenings, and each week features a different author in discussion with Mayo.  Listeners are encouraged to get involved by reading the book, and sharing their thoughts via the show’s website.

If you don’t want to commit to reading the book choice every week, you can usually download a free copy of the first chapter to get an idea of what it is about, and how it is written. If you can’t listen live, the author interviews are available for download.

The choice of titles is varied, and in the past year has included novels, biographies and histories, poetry and children’s books. There is a Best of 2010 feature by poet Ian Macmillan on the website at the moment, if you want to get an idea of the scope of the programme.

Recent selections have included More Than You Can Say by Paul Torday, Sugar Island by Sanjida O’Connell and Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch.

The featured book for the next programme on 21st March is The Gallow’s Curse by Karen Maitland, author of Company of Liars and The Owl Killers.

Well worth a listen.

Welcome to the Leeds Reads blog

Welcome to the first post on Leeds Reads. We’ll be using this blog to share news and information about books, reading, events and activities in Leeds Libraries and beyond.

There’s a fair bit of coverage for books in the media at the moment.

Channel 4’s TV Book Club is up and running again, every Sunday at 7.30pm on More4. Jo Brand and guests discuss and review ten books from ‘new and emerging’ writers. All of the books are available in Leeds Libraries, and you can reserve a copy via our online catalogue.

Meanwhile, the BBC are inviting you to Free Your Imagination in 2011 with their ‘Year of Books’. Books on the BBC promises new drama productions on both TV and radio, discussion programmes, documentaries and film premiers. The season kicked off last week with Faulks on Fiction, a four part series in which author Sebsatian Faulks takes a personal look at the history of the British novel. You can find out more on the BBC website.

BBC2 will also be offering an evening of programmes devoted to World Book Night, which is now approaching fast. On the evening of  5th March 20,000 volunteer ‘book givers’ will hand out copies of their favourite book, chosen from a list of 25. We know that quite a few people in Leeds have been accepted as givers, so don’t be surprised if you’re out and about, and a complete stranger walks up to you and tries to hand a book to you!