Elizabeth Strout is our author this episode – and we also dip a toe in the worlds of Canadian and Irish literature. Spoilers: we know a lot less than we should. Suggestions welcomed, please!
I’m off to Canada shortly, which is why we chose the first topic – and nothing much links Canada and Ireland other than the fact that I’ve thought they’d be interesting nations’ literature to talk about. In the second half, we turn to an American writer – a modern one, no less! – Elizabeth Strout. She’s literally still alive, guys. That modern.
Check out our iTunes page – rate/review through iTunes and all that – let us know which you’d pick in each category, and any other topics or authors you think we should cover in future episodes.
Look out for an inelegant bit where I sub in a clip because I got the title of a Stef Penney novel wrong. #Professional.
Here are the books and authors we mention:
Silas Marner by George Eliot Ulysses by James Joyce Paradise Lost by John Milton Middlemarch by George Eliot The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot The Folded Leaf by William Maxwell Jacob’s Room is Full of Books by Susan Hill Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill
Agatha Christie Another Part of the Wood by Beryl Bainbridge Sweet William by Beryl Bainbridge Injury Time by Beryl Bainbridge Abigail’s Party by Mike Leigh I Follow But Myself by Frank Baker Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker
Molly Keane / MJ Farrell Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Carol Shields The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney Over the Footlights by Stephen Leacock Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery Translations by Brian Friel
George Bernard Shaw The Gingerbread Woman by Jennifer Johnston My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Anne Tyler Crow Lake by Mary Lawson (who is Canadian!) Oliver Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout A Compass Error by Sybille Bedford A Favourite of the Gods by Sybille Bedford Pleasures and Landscapes by Sybille Bedford
A heated conversation about literary prizes AND Vita Sackville-West. Roll up, roll up for episode 45!
In the first half of this fortnight’s episode, we try to determine whether or not literary prizes affect our reading – which wanders off into a broader discussion of what we’re looking for from book prizes. It might get a bit controversial. And in the second half, we’re comparing two novels we love by Vita Sackville-West – The Heir and All Passion Spent.
Do let us know how you’d vote in each half, and rate/review if you would like to. Our iTunes page is over here, and we’ll back in about a fortnight with a couple of novels by Elizabeth Strout.
Here are the books and authors we mention in this episode:
Where Poppies Blow by John Lewis-Stempel The Semi-Attached Couple by Emily Eden The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Americanah by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie Purple Hibiscus by Chimanada Ngozi Adichie That Thing Around Your Neck by Chimanada Ngozi Adichie Autumn by Ali Smith Swing Time by Zadie Smith 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund Exit West by Mohsin Hamid Elmet by Fiona Mozley Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
Elizabeth Taylor The Hothouse by the East River by Muriel Spark The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
Hilary Mantel The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton Harvest by Jim Crace Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling Lady Into Fox by David Garnett
Siegfried Sassoon Miss Mole by E.H. Young South Riding by Winifred Holtby
L.P. Hartley The Far Cry by Emma Smith
Rose Macaulay Ulysses by James Joyce The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride Eva Trout by Elizabeth Bowen The Heir by Vita Sackville-West All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West Orlando by Virginia Woolf No Signposts in the Sea by Vita Sackville-West The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett Greengates by R.C. Sherriff Samson Agonistes by John Milton Knole and the Sackvilles by Vita Sackville-West The Easter Party by Vita Sackville-West Grand Canyon by Vita Sackville-West Dragon in Shallow Waters by Vita Sackville-West Heritage by Vita Sackville-West My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
After a bit of a hiatus, we’re back with an episode about Marghanita Laski and whether we read one book at a time or many books at once. And because that’s a bit of a mouthful, I’m calling it monogamous vs polygamous. Sorry if you’ve come to this podcast hoping for something else – but stay! We have books.
We’ve really missed doing the podcast, so it’s great to be back! Do get in touch to let us know which you’d pick in each category, and any topics you’d like us to cover in future episodes. Our iTunes page is here, and we love reviews from those willing to go through the hoops required to leave them!
Here are the books and authors we mention in this episode (fewer than usual, which either means I forgot to write them down while editing the podcast, or we’ve lost our touch!):
Reading the Rocks by Brenda Maddox Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley Contested Will by James Shapiro The Village by Marghanita Laski The Osbornes by E.F. Benson Middlemarch by George Eliot
Henry James The Road to Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell Three Fevers by Leo Walmsley The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot The Boat by L.P. Hartley Marching With April by Hugh Charteris And Even Now by Max Beerbohm Secrets of a Woman’s Heart: Later Life of Ivy Compton-Burnett by Hilary Spurling The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books by Martin Edwards Vanity Fair by W.M. Thackeray To Bed With Grand Music by Marghanita Laski The Village by Marghanita Laski The Provincial Lady in Wartime by E.M. Delafield Put Out More Flags by Evelyn Waugh The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski Love on the Supertax by Marghanita Laski
Richmal Crompton One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes
Dorothy Whipple Mrs Miniver by Jan Struther The Heir by Vita Sackville-West All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West
We’re popping in between holidays to record an episode about clergymen and scientists in novels – doubtless missing plenty of them, but thank you for everyone who tweeted in with your suggestions. We’d love to hear more!
In the second half, we discuss Helen Thomas’s memoir As It Was (1926) and H.E. Bates’ novel Fair Stood the Wind for France (1944) – which turn out to have more in common than we feared (and less than we initially thought). It’s quite the rollercoaster, guys.
Do check out our iTunes page, and you should be able to rate and review through iTunes apps and maybe podcast apps and one day I’ll work out how this happens. Below are the books and authors we mention in this episode:
Poldark series by Winston Graham The Brother Gardeners by Andrea Wulf The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys The Chateau by William Maxwell The Boat by L.P. Hartley The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley A Perfect Woman by L.P. Hartley Instead of a Letter by Diana Athill The Warden by Anthony Trollope Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope Emma by Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen Mansfield Park by Jane Austen Gilead by Marilynne Robinson As For Me and My House by Sinclair Ross The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield Frost at Morning by Richmal Crompton The Rector’s Daughter by F.M. Mayor The Vicar’s Daughter by E.H. Young The Clergyman’s Daughter by George Orwell Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte Under the Rainbow by Susan Scarlett Clothes-pegs by Susan Scarlett A Room With a View by E.M. Forster Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy The Pastor’s Wife by Elizabeth von Arnim Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier To The River by Olivia Laing Appius and Virginia by G.E. Trevelyan Hackenfeller’s Ape by Brigid Brophy Dangerous Ages by Rose Macaulay
Oliver Sacks Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson Middlemarch by George Eliot The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Margaret Atwood Famous Five series by Enid Blyton As It Was by Helen Thomas Fair Stood The Wind for France by H.E. Bates
Edward Thomas World Without End by Helen Thomas The Darling Buds of May by H.E. Bates Love for Lydia by H.E. Bates Under Storm’s Wing by Helen Thomas To Bed With Grand Music by Marghanita Laski The Village by Marghanita Laski
Trains! Boats! Anita Brookner! Ann Bridge! This episode has it all.
Books set on trains vs books set on boats – Rachel didn’t want us to do it but it happened. And… it was a roaring success? Right? Well, I had fun. We’re back on more stable ground with Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge vs Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner. And it’s only now that I’ve realised that both of those authors have the initials AB. Coincidence? Maybe, I don’t remember.
I’d love to hear more thoughts about trains and boats, and perhaps some defence from Anita Brookner aficionados… either way, give us a review on iTunes through your apps or whatnot, see our page on iTunes, and grab copies of As It Was by Helen Thomas and Fair Stood the Wind For France by H.E. Bates if you’d like to read ahead for the next episode.
The books and authors we mention in this episode are…
The Masters by C.P. Snow The Warden by Anthony Trollope Resurrection Year by Sheridan Voysey Mansfield Park by Jane Austen The Girl on the Train by Paul Hawkins The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome Famous Five series by Enid Blyton The Railway Children by E. Nesbit The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie 4.50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Elizabeth Gill The Pleasure Cruise Mystery by Robin Forsythe Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie Mystery in White by Joseph Jefferson Farjeon The Girl on the Boat by P.G. Wodehouse Mrs Harris Goes To New York by Paul Gallico The Provincial Lady in America by E.M. Delafield All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus Mills All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque The Train in the Meadow by Robert Nathan Portrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan The Enchanted Voyage by Robert Nathan Mr Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood No Signposts in the Sea by Vita Sackville-West Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome Three Men on a Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome 253 by Geoff Ryman The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
Andrew Martin The English Passengers by Matthew Kneale Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian Journey’s End by R.C. Sherriff The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner Peking Picnic by Ann Bridge All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor Family and Friends by Anita Brookner
Barbara Pym As It Was by Helen Thomas Fair Stood The Wind for France by H.E. Bates
John Galsworthy! Elizabeth Jane Howard! Circadian novels! Find out what that means, and much more, in episode 41.
Guys, it was SUPER hot when we were recording this podcast. It’s rather cooler now that I’m editing, but I rather worry that I wasn’t making much sense in this episode… forgive any heat-induced nonsense. And potentially wavering audible quality. So hot. I have cunningly edited out the bits where I went to get more cold water.
(Blame that for me saying ‘Alan Bennett’ when I mean ‘Arnold Bennett’.)
In the first half, we look at the length we like books to cover – from books where all the action takes place in one day to those where it’s over many years. And, for the second half, we’ve read more than ever this time – two chunksters, albeit only the first books in their respective series. We’re comparing A Man of Property by John Galsworthy and The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard – the openers to the Forsyte Saga and the Cazalet Chronicles.
Thanks for the new reviews, by the way! Feel free to add them through iTunes app, or you can explore our iTunes page. Let us know which you’d choose, and any recommendations!
The books and authors we mention in this episode are, as always, below:
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi Another Time, Another Place by Jessie Kesson One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes One Day by David Nicholls London War Notes by Mollie Panter-Downes Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf Can Jane Eyre Be Happy? by John Sutherland Ulysses by James Joyce Saturday by Ian McEwan Seize the Day by Saul Bellow Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day by Winifred Watson The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Jodi Picoult The Corner That Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner Weatherley Parade by Richmal Crompton David Copperfield by Charles Dickens The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton Life and Death of Harriett Frean by May Sinclair Alas, Poor Lady by Rachel Ferguson Us by David Nicholls The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Marcel Proust The Year of Reading Proust by Phyllis Rose
Shakespeare Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Catherine Cookson The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard A Man of Property by John Galsworthy The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks A Pin To See The Peepshow by F Tennyson Jesse The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett
H.G. Wells Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
Alphabetical or thematic shelving? Miss Mole vs Chatterton Square? Episode 40 of ‘Tea or Books?’ continues answering the important questions that others don’t dare to.
In the first half of this episode, Rachel and I address the pressing issue of how books are ordered on our shelves – alphabetical order, arranged thematically, or something else completely? We have fun with this one (thanks for the suggestion, Imogen!) and would love to know what any of you do with your shelves.
In the second half, we turn to the novelist E.H. Young and pit Miss Mole (1930) against Chatterton Square (1947), and I use the word ‘obfuscatory’. Buckle in. And suggestions for other Young novels to try would be very welcome!
Visit our iTunes page, leave us a review through iTunes if you’d like, and below are the books and authors we discussed in the episode. Fewer than usual!
Letters to Max Beerbohm and a few replies by Siegfried Sasson Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man by Siegfried Sassoon A Curious Friendship by Anna Thomasson
M.J. Farrell Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon Hackenfeller’s Ape by Brigid Brophy The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill Phantoms on the Bookshelves by Jacques Bonnet A Wreath of Roses by Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth von Arnim Miss Mole by E.H. Young Chatterton Square by E.H. Young
Matty and the Dearingroydes by Richmal Crompton Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day by Winifred Watson William by E.H. Young The Misses Mallett by E.H. Young The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard A Man of Property by John Galsworthy
Special guest Jenny joins us for episode 39 – discussing children’s classics and spoilers!
I was SO excited that Jenny agreed to join me and Rachel on ‘Tea or Books?’ while she was visiting England – her podcast, Reading the End, was one of the two book podcasts that inspired me to start my own, so it seems like a perfect circle that she joins us as we’re nearing our second anniversary.
In this episode, inspired by her blog and podcast name, Jenny asked if we discuss whether or not we like hearing spoilers – and, in the second half, we debate Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery and Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster. Guys, this podcast was SO FUN to record.
We were crowded around one mic – the first time Rachel and I have ever recorded a podcast in person – so forgive any issues with the sound quality or variability.
Here’s our iTunes page, and here are the books and authors we mention in this episode:
The Pelicans by E.M. Delafield Country Notes by Vita Sackville-West Friends and Relations by Elizabeth Bowen The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien Miss Mole by E.H. Young Chatterton Square by E.H. Young Once a Week by A.A. Milne The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang Long Live Great Bardfield by Tirzah Garwood Not So Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout Persuasion by Jane Austen Emma by Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen Mansfield Park by Jane Austen Sunlight on the Lawn by Beverley Nichols Threads: the Delicate Life of John Craske by Julia Blackburn
Sylvia Townsend Warner A Footman for the Peacock by Rachel Ferguson We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Muriel Spark Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Enid Blyton Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery Dear Enemy by Jean Webster Hamlet by William Shakespeare On the Road by Jack Kerouac The Children Who Lived in a Barn by Eleanor Graham
Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Bailey, and a bit of a debate about male and female characters. Here’s episode 38 – which is unusually short, but hopefully fun nonetheless. I’ve left in an amusing moment of drama…
Many thanks to Kaisha for suggesting men written by women vs women written by me – we had fun discussing it, and very much welcome everybody’s feedback. For the second half, we debate two books about old people’s homes – Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor and At The Jerusalem by Paul Bailey, which have a sort-of connection that readers of Virago Modern Classics introductions might have cottoned on to.
Do let us know any topics you’d like us to discuss – and which you’d pick from each category. Check out our iTunes page over here – ratings and reviews through iTunes or podcast apps always much appreciated. And hopefully we’ll back with a special guest next time…
Books and authors we mention in this episode are as follows…
The Sleeper Awakes by H.G. Wells Ann Veronica by H.G. Wells The Time Machine by H.G. Wells Don’t Tell Alfred by Nancy Mitford Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford Pamela by Samuel Richardson Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
Ian McEwan Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden Gilead by Marilynne Robinson Mrs Harris series by Paul Gallico Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf Orlando by Virginia Woolf Provincial Lady series by E.M. Delafield Ian and Felicity by Denis Mackail
Charles Dickens Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope The Warden by Anthony Trollope Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope Sybil by Benjamin Disraeli Adam Bede by George Eliot The Professor by Charlotte Bronte Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
Elizabeth Gaskell Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw
V.S. Naipaul The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor At The Jerusalem by Paul Bailey
Ivy Compton-Burnett Memento Mori by Muriel Spark Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster
Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, and schooldays – we’ve got it all in episode 37 (depending on your definition of ‘all’).
In the first half of this episode, we meander around the topic of whether or not studying a book at school ruins them for us. The topic was suggested by Karen (thanks Karen!) and it was really fun to discuss from the perspective of student and teacher. We got a bit preoccupied by Shakespeare, but that’s true of all the best of people.
Rachel and I went to see an amazing production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Harold Pinter theatre – tickets here! – and it inspired us to compare it with Arthur Miller’s play from around the same time, A View From the Bridge.
Check out our iTunes page, listen above or via your podcast app of choice, rate and review if you so wish, and send us any suggestions you have for future episodes! Thanks for those who tweeted their responses to our school question.
The books and authors we mention in this episode are:
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
Alice Munro Gossip From Thrush Green by Miss Read
Dorothy Whipple Fairacres series by Miss Read
Richmal Crompton Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols
E.F. Benson A Case of Human Bondage by Beverley Nichols Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham The Three Sisters by May Sinclair Pink Sugar by O. Douglas Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Emma by Jane Austen Lord of the Flies by William Golding The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres Hard Times by Charles Dickens To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson The House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert DeJong Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee Beloved by Toni Morrison A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare Macbeth by William Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Molière Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams All My Sons by Arthur Miller
Noel Coward Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor At The Jerusalem by Paul Bailey