Bookclub on Radio 4

If you’re looking for something new to read, why not give the Radio 4 Bookclub a try.

This is a monthly programme, with a website of hundreds of interviews. Led by James Naughtie, readers talk to acclaimed authors about their best-known novels. It is broadcast at 4pm on Sundays on BBC Radio 4 or you can listen online. You can also sign up to the podcasts and the monthly email on the Bookclub site.

You can find every author interview broadcast since 1998 in the Bookclub archive. Use the list and programmes to help you choose a book for yourself or your  book group. You’ll find authors such as Frank McCourt, Bill Bryson, Hanning Mankel and Carol Ann Duffy there.

The Bookclub author interviews feature a synopsis of the book and an interview with the author, with questions asked by a live audience. The interviews provide a fascinating insight into writing, ideas and words. If you are a member of a reading group, you can play the audio as part of your meeting. All rights are cleared for this.

The next programme will be broadcast on Sunday 4th September, and will feature The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. So,  just about enough time to borrow a copy from your nearest library and read it in time for the programme!

National Reading Group Day Saturday 25th June

This Saturday is the first ever National Reading Group Day. It’s an opportunity for people who are already reading group members to get together and celebrate, and for anyone who is interested in joining one to find out more.

More information on the Reading Groups for Everyone website.

Plans for the day include the launch of a competition to choose the books for the next World Book Night on 23rd April 2012, with entrants to suggest 10 books they would most like to give away. At the end of August, the 100 most popular choices will be revealed.

If you are interested in joining a library reading group in Leeds, get in touch with Enquiry Express on 0113 247 6016.

Book Review – Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre

Although it has been meticulously researched, this book reads like a war-time thriller. It gives a fascinating insight into covert operations, and the mixture of planning and chance that goes into them. You really couldn’t make some of it up. Discussion of the book led to some wide-ranging conversations about the war, other books and films, and the international situation today.

Reserve a copy online and collect from your nearest library.

Library Staff Reader’s Group


Book Review – Spilling the Beans by Clarissa Dickson Wright

The insight into the author’s unhappy childhood is interesting, but the meat of the book is her decade long descent into alcoholism. We had a lively discussion about whether the author is a sympathetic character, to be admired for turning her life around, or someone who wasted the many opportunities and large sums of money that she was blessed with.

Reserve a copy online, and collect from your nearest library.

Armley Reader’s Group

Book Review – The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale

What makes this book is the quality of the research that has gone into it. The result is a detailed and absorbing study of a crime, a family, and a rural community at the height of the Victorian period. There is an interesting debate to be had about the resolution of the case, and whether the whole truth has ever been uncovered.

Reserve a copy online and collect from your nearest library.

Bramley Reader’s Group

CWA Daggers – Shortlists Announced

The Crime Writers Association has revealed its Dagger shortlists.

The shortlist for the Dagger in the Library, which is awarded to an author for their body of work, and nominated by reader’s groups and librarians, is:

The shortlists in full can be found on the CWA website.

The winners will be announced at an event at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival on 22nd July.

Reading Groups for Everyone

There is a great new online resource for everyone who is a member of a reading group, and for anyone who would like to join one.

Reading Groups for Everyone launched on 15th March, and now has over 500 groups registered. It’s a great resource for existing reading groups, with books news and reviews, tips for running your group, and lots of free offers and promotions.

Be sure to register on the site if you organise a reading group, especially if you are looking for new members.

If you are thinking about joining a reading group, there is a ‘find a group near me’ option. The list of groups is not yet fully comprehensive, but it’s growing all the time.

Both reader’s and writer’s groups meet in libraries across Leeds. For more information, or to find a group near you, contact Enquiry Express on 0113 247 6016.