Podcast: Read Like a Writer

Read Like a Writer
Read Like a Writer
Read Like a Writer is the books podcast from Faber & Faber, Serpent’s Tail and Canongate, three independent publishers bringing the voices – and book recommendations – of their authors to your ears, hosted by Anna Fielding. In each episode, we’ll hear about the books they strongly recommend you read, their latest projects and learn a bit about their local indie bookshop too.
A very special episode, live from London Book Fair: host Anna Fielding is joined by three authors for a discussion of historical fiction, the genre that unites their latest books:Jess Kidd's Things in Jars is set in London in 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet: the kidnapping of a young girl. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist. As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times. (Canongate, April 2019)Meanwhile Claire McGlasson's The Rapture centres on Dilys, a devoted member of a terribly English cult: The Panacea Society, populated almost entirely by virtuous single ladies. When she strikes up a friendship with Grace, a new recruit, God finally seems to be smiling upon her. But Dilys is wary of their leader's zealotry and suspicious of those who would seem to influence her for their own ends. As her feelings for Grace bloom, the Society around her begins to crumble. Faith is supplanted by doubt as both women come to question what is true and fear what is real. (Faber & Faber, June 2019)And The Warlow Experiment by Alix Nathan takes the late eighteenth century as its setting. Inspired by a real document uncovered by Nathan, it tells the story of a semi-literatre labourer, John Warlow, recruited by a wealthy man of science to live, as an experiment, in the cellar of the main house, without human contact but with meals and luxuries provided, for a period of seven years. The experiment is, of course, a classic Enlightenment exercise gone mad, that promises unforeseen consequences for all included. In this seductive tale of self-delusion and obsession, Alix Nathan has created an utterly transporting historical novel which is both elegant and unforgettably sinister. (Serpent's Tail, July 2019)Listen to Alix, Claire and Jess discuss their novels with Anna, tell you about books they've loved or yearn to read, and about their favourite independent bookshops.
Carmen Maria Machado's genre-bending short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, has met with widespread acclaim. Shortlisted for the American National Book Award and the International Dylan Thomas Prize, it demolishes the borders between magical realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. Startling narratives map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited on their bodies, both in myth and in practice. It is a dark, shimmering slice of fiction, that reminded reviewers of Angela Carter.We caught up with Carmen in the summer of 2018 in Edinburgh, where she was appearing at the book festival, and asked her to tell us about books she loves and the bookshops she can't resist. Carmen responded with a brilliant selection of books with one thing in common: they are all retellings of myths.Her Body and Other Parties is published by Serpent's Tail and out now in paperback from all good bookshops.
Carmen Maria Machado,
Claire Adam was born and brought up in Trinidad, where her debut novel Golden Child takes place. She now lives in South London, where her favourite independent bookshop, Kirkdale Bookshop, is found. From Raymond Carver and Doris Lessing to the adventures of Ernest Shackleton, Claire Adam tells us her reading recommendations.Golden Child is published by Faber & Faber, out 17th Jan
6 – Claire Adam,
In our Read Like a Writer Christmas special, each of this season's five guests tells us which books they'll be giving and receiving this Christmas. With thanks to Matt Haig, E. Foley and B. Coates, Ambrose Parry (aka Chris Brookmyre & Marisa Haetzman), Shaun Bythell, Sarah Perry and of course to our wonderful host, Anna Fielding.Join us on Twitter @readlikeawriter and tell us your Christmas book recommendations.Wishing you a merry Christmas, a happy new year and abundant reading over the break from all of us at Faber & Faber, Canongate, Profile and Serpent's Tail.
Christmas Special 🎄,
Winner of Waterstones Book of the Year 2016 for The Essex Serpent, as well as the Book Industry Book of the Year Award, Sarah Perry lives in Norwich. Her latest novel Melmoth is a Gothic horror and a retelling of Charles Robert Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer. It tells the story of Melmoth, a mysterious figure who appears to those who refuse to bear witness, and entices them to follow her through time.Melmoth is published by Serpent's Tail and out now from all good bookshops.
5 - Sarah Perry,
Shaun Bythell runs The Bookshop, Wigtown, and is the author of The Diary of a Bookseller which documents, with wry humour, the realities of running a secondhand bookshop in Wigtown, western Scotland: the customers, staff and passersby who fill his pages are amusing, infuriating and all too real. He selects books to recommend across fiction and non-fiction, children's and cookbooks and explains why running your own bookshop means you rarely get the chance to browse in others' shops. The Diary of a Bookseller is published by Profile Books and is out now.
4 - Shaun Bythell,
Ambrose Parry is the pen name of Chris Brookmyre (award-winning author of the Jack Parlabane books) and consultant anaesthetist Marisa Haetzman. In this episode, Anna Fielding talks to the couple about their first book together: The Way of All Flesh, a story of murder in 19th century Edinburgh. They also discuss some of their favourite books and their love for the independent bookshop The Watermill in Aberfeldy. Books discussed in this episode:This Thing of Darkness by Harry ThompsonThe Alienist by Caleb CarrCryptonomicon by Neal StephensonThe Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson: Quicksilver, The Confusion and The System of the WorldLife After Life by Kate AtkinsonA God in Ruins by Kate AtkinsonAny Human Heart by William Boyd
3 - Ambrose Parry (aka Chris Brookmyre & Marisa Haetzman),
Remarkable women from history solve modern day problems in E. Foley & B. Coates's new book, What Would Boudicca Do? Think Frida Kahlo on style, Cleopatra on sibling rivalry and Boudicca on sticking up for yourself. Liz and Beth talk about their favourite feminist reads, their love for indie bookshop Foyles and books they can't wait to dive into.What Would Boudicca Do? is published by Faber & Faber, and is out now.
2 – E. Foley & B. Coates,
Matt Haig's most recent book, Notes on a Nervous Planet, is about how to stay human and sane in the ever more hectic age in which we live. In the first ever episode of Read Like a Writer, he talks mental health, City Books (his local independent bookshop in Brighton), and some of his own favourite books with Anna Fielding. Notes on a Nervous Planet is published by Canongate — order your copy from a UK independent bookshop here.
1 – Matt Haig,
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