Why I Really Like This Book (people-watching)
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.
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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.

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

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Watch the First World War happen to a small village in Essex, and the household of Mr Britling, Everyman pundit and writer, with a son and friend who have just joined up, and very mixed feelings about what this awful war was for anyway. Published in 1916 when nobody knew what would happen, and fearing the worst was too likely, Mr Britling Sees It Through by H G Wells is an outstanding novel of reportage, reflection and empathic invention. For readers who like thier history on the edge of their comfy seat.

Direct download: H_G_Wells_and_Mr_Britling_-_Stuff_That_Really_Happened_4.mp3
Category:people-watching -- posted at: 1:30am CET
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Core sampling from the world of book publishing and book festivals in the 30th year of the Edinburgh Book Festival. With extra coverage of The Sorries at The Fringe.

Direct download: 2013_Edinburgh_Book_Festival.mp3
Category:people-watching -- posted at: 4:00pm CET
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Hugh Walpole's Fortitude is a weighty epic of London literary life, Cornish Gothic, Victorian anarchists and the necessity of a public school background for getting on in life. it also contains the kindest boarding house written in the Edwardian period. For readers who like a long book to go with their comfy chair.

Direct download: Hugh_Walpole_and_Fortitude_-_Novels_of_1913.mp3
Category:people-watching -- posted at: 1:30am CET
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Three stories of a girl growing up in Ohio, in Connecticut, and travelling in Europe, which make a wonderful picture of 19th-century Victorian America. Susan Coolidge's What Katy Did, What Katy Did At School, and What Katy Did Next, are about natural, normal, delightful people, and the way they lived then. Charming, and totally absorbing. For readers who have fallen off a swing.

Direct download: Suan_Coolidge_and_the_What_Katy_Did_books_-_Really_Randoms_5.mp3
Category:people-watching -- posted at: 1:30am CET
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It's not at all what you think it is, although a lot of Rosy Barnes's novel Sadomasochism for Accountants takes place in a fetish club. Half of the characters are sweeties, the other half are vile: watch their comeuppance and enjoy the freeing of lonely, fettered souls. Great fun for all the family.

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It;s the 1950s and Monica Dickens is a very junior reporter on a very local paper. It's always her turn to make the tea. She bicycles everywhere. She lodges with the landlady from hell. Her stories about post-war life for ordinary people are heart-breaking and appalling. This is proper reportage.

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It's the late 1930s, and the newspaper industry is not so much a trade as a profession for gentlemen. Lord Cropper knows so little about how his empire works that he sends the wrong man to a war zone. In Waugh's Scoop, a fine satire on newspaper mayhem, an unknown nobody learns how to be a journalist in north Africa while waiting for the Russians to invade, but he would far rather be writing nature essays. For old hacks with time to kill.

Direct download: Evelyn_Waugh_and_Scoop_-_Five_Fictions_about_Newspapers.mp3
Category:people-watching -- posted at: 1:30am CET
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Wigs, flounces, fans, sprites, epic card games, and the calamitous consequences of the cutting of a lock of hair: Alexander Pope's satire on the heroic epic, The Rape of the Lock, is neo-classical fun and games. it's also a sly social commentary on women's lives and the wasted days in the lives of the rich and bored. For those who like to take counsel as well as tea.

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One of the great satires of the 1930s, in which a Scotsman wanders through English society after the First World War, and marvels at the English and their ways. A G Macdonell was laughing at his own society too, since he was a journalist and a literary critic in the world he parodied. He is one of the great forgotten comic writers of the interwar years, and England, Their England was his masterpiece. If you enjoy reading about cricket, like to see modernism mocked, and take pleasure in the English gentleman revealed in all his stuffed shirt glory, this book is for you.

Direct download: A_G_Macdonell_and_England_Their_England.mp3
Category:people-watching -- posted at: 1:30am CET
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The anthropology of the English: what they do when they aren't thinking. A podcast about Kate Fox's brilliant book on the instantly recognisable characteristics of that small island race. If you know even just one English person, or a Brit, this podcast on Watching the English is for you. Class, cars, the English sense of humour, even the passion for queueing: it's all here.

Direct download: Kate_Fox_and_Watching_the_English.mp3
Category:people-watching -- posted at: 8:36pm CET
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