Queen of the book podcast, Harriett Gilbert hosts the BBC’s A Good Read. Each episode, Gilbert and two guests share, mull, critique, laugh and debate their three ‘good reads’, and it is bookish bliss. It’s inspired my book-buying and reading beyond measure, from Roth’s infamous Portnoy’s Complaint to the more obscure, such as Steve Tesich’s Karoo. True, when the guests are pretentious and critical it can fall a little flat, but then you have moments such as Jeffrey Archer’s critique of Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop (Archer has concerns about the lead character’s business acumen…), which is the gift that keeps on giving. If you haven’t listened before, start with the Kathy Burke & Tom Allen episode; it is so so funny and the book recommendations are first class.
Most of my recent non-fiction reads have come from Pamela Paul’s author interviews for The New York Time Book Review podcast. In recent weeks, these have included Patrick Radden Keefe’s brilliant Say Nothing and Isabel Wilkerson’s Pulitzer Prize winning The Warmth of Other Suns. If author interviews aren’t your cup of tea, skip to the ‘what I’m reading now’ section for fiction recommendations straight from The New York Times Book Review team.
But my newest love is Daisy Buchanan’s You’re Booked. Buchanan is the book detective analysing the bookshelves of author friends and asking those key literary questions; what was the first sexy book you read (Spoiler: almost universally Forever by Judy Blume), do you dogear pages, will you lend books to friends, and what book do you most recommend. Based on Dolly Alderton’s recommendation I hunted down Good Girls Do Swallow by Rachael Oakes-Ash. I bought, read and loved Christina Patterson’s The Art of Not Falling Apart, and attended a reading by Sinead Gleeson for the launch of Constellations after listening to her and Buchanan’s wine-fuelled conversation. You’re Booked is comfort and inspiration rolled into one joy-filled podcast. Enjoy.