Why I Really Like This Book
These are podcasts about forgotten fiction, for curious readers, and for anyone who likes old books. Sometimes they're stories, sometimes they're not. Most of the authors write in English; and sometimes they don't. But all the books I talk about, I really really like. I hope you will too.
  iTunes . homepage . classes . past episodes . faculty page . more from Kate

Photobucket

My name is Kate Macdonald: I'm an English lecturer, and a lifelong browser in second-hand bookshops. I post weekly ten-minute podcasts on a Friday, on the books I really like which I think deserve new readers. You can find out lots more at the Facebook page here, and get these podcasts weekly by subscribing on the iTunes link above.

The music for the podcast intro is by The Tribe Band. Lucy Marsh did the drawing and Matthias Opsomer lettered it. Patrick Belk and Martin Fowler hold my tech safety net.

Miro Video Player

Questions? Send me a message by mailing me at kate [dot] brussels [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Archives

Past Episodes

Keyword Search

January

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
January

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

December
November
October
September
August

Categories

detective fiction
the great outdoors
anti-romance
memoir
cooking
general
extra information
people-watching
the life of the place
fantastical
private classes
thrills and spills
always amusing
getting educated
strong women
thinking too much
simply heaven
archives
nemesis and revenge

Syndication

RSS Feed

 

Cod-fishing, and a summer learning to sail off the Grand Banks, redeems a spoiled brat who fell into the Atlantic off an ocean-going liner at the end of the 19th century. Kipling's story of hard work and the democracy of the sea is a great read about sailing and fishing in the old-fashioned way. It's a record of a lost way of American life, and has a lot to say to modern readers about honesty and the virtues of earning what you receive. Be careful of what's at the end of that fishing line. For those who like fish guts in their tall stories.

Direct download: Rudyard_Kipling_and_Captains_Courageous.mp3
Category:the great outdoors -- posted at: 1:00am CET
Comments[0]

A simple life interrupted by a quest to to visit a lonely mountain, and come back again through terrifying dangers into safety. A spiky fantasy about tearing up notices and laughing at committees. Small creatures are found again, unhappy creatures are comforted, and Moominmamma makes pancakes while a comet is about to crash into the earth. The Groke breathes cold into the world. Moomintroll is given a birch-bark schooner on the first day of spring. Tove Jansson's immortal tales about the creatures of Moomin Valley also draw on the dark effects of the Second World War, and give life to Nordic mythology. For those who think adults can read children's books too.

Direct download: Tove_Jansson_and_the_Moomins.mp3
Category:fantastical -- posted at: 1:30am CET
Comments[0]

Freya Stark was a great woman traveller and explorer of the Middle East before the Second World War. During the war she worked in Intelligence and propaganda for the British in Cairo. After the war she settled into old age as a grand old lady of exploration, and became a national treasure. But many things had been left out of her own accounts of what she had done, and she left of a lot of bad feeling behind her triumphant exploits in the Middle East. Molly Izzard's biography of Freya Stark digs into her past, and shows us a better and not entirely nicer picture of this remarkable British traveller, that also asks what biography is for, and what we want to remember. For rule-breakers and iconoclasts.

Direct download: Molly_Izzard_on_Freya_Stark.mp3
Category:memoir -- posted at: 1:00am CET
Comments[0]

Imagine you're a poor and struggling scriptwriter working in an unheated New York brownstone in the 1940s. You long for the English books you can't get in the New York bookstores, and you start to write to a London antiquarian bookshop. A correspondence develops that shapes your understanding of what it's like to live in England after the war. Years later, you put these letters into a book, it becomes a best-seller, and suddenly everyone wants to know about your life, the life you thought was going to be in the theatre, but which ends up being perfect for a modern novel of letters: Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road. For listeners who are always the last to leave a bookshop when it's closing.

Direct download: Helene_Hanff_and_84_Charing_Cross_Road.mp3
Category:memoir -- posted at: 10:57am CET
Comments[2]

Imagine the excitement when the first road is built through the village, when actors come to town, when Miss Girzy dies in a fire with the symbols of her greed clutched in either hand. This podcast raves about John Galt's classic Scottish novel about a village that grows into a town at the turn of the nineteenth century. Annals of the Parish is about instantly recognisable people set against rapidly changing provincial society. For readers who like a good saga.

Direct download: John_Galt_and_Annals_of_the_Parish.mp3
Category:the life of the place -- posted at: 8:25am CET
Comments[2]

1