October really lends itself to thinking about atmospheric old houses, and this is what we’re doing in this episode of the podcast. We chat to Claire Fuller, whose latest novel takes place in an around Lyntons, a dilapidated country estate where its protagonist – the now dying Frances Jellico – spent the scourging summer of 1969. 'Bitter Orange' welcomes us to a house as full of secrets as the couple staying there at the same time as Frances, with whom she becomes increasingly obsessed.
We’re also joined by Liz Fenwick, Cornwall-based novelist and supporter of the crowdfunding campaign which made the expansion of Mr B’s possible earlier this year.
Take a look at our Between These Walls reading list.
As an increasing number of us wake up to the climate and ecological crises, it becomes clear that climate change is as much a question of narrative, storytelling, psychology and human behaviour as it is about science. How could it not be in the stories we read?
In the first of what will be a series of podcasts highlighting writing concerned with our time of crisis, writer Emma Geen, author of the novel 'The Many Selves of Katherine North', joins Jess and Henry to talk about novels which actively engage with climate change whilst looking beyond the apocalyptic, into possible new ways of thinking and being human. We also met up with prize-winning author Amitav Ghosh to discuss his new novel Gun Island, why he wouldn't classify his own writing as 'cli-fi' and the potential problem with dystopias.
Take a look at our Climate Crisis in Fiction reading list.
Sherlock and Watson may be the epitome of a mystery-solving duo, but when put to the task of finding others, the Mr B’s team went down some unexpected literary trails. Join Jess, Ed and Tom M as they discuss larger-than life characters in search for clues, characters who are like two sides of a coin, and why we struggled to find female detective pairs. We also chat to the wonderful Jess Kidd about her new novel 'Things in Jars', which not only features a ghost-boxer sidekick, but mixes state-of-the-art banter with stunningly lyrical passages describing Victorian London.
Have a browse through our Two Bs in a Pod reading list .
This month Jess talks to the Mexican author Valeria Luiselli about her most recent novel "The Lost Children Archive", a bold and wise book which is as much about protecting our children, and being children ourselves, as it is about the horrors of the refugee experience, as currently seen around the US-Mexico border.
'The Lost Children' archive is also fascinating in the way it deals with recordings of reality and everyday experience, including sounds. We talk to Valeria about the sounds which surrounded her during night-time sessions writing the book, finishing up with a sound experiment of our own.
If you like the sound of 'The Lost Children Archive' take a look at this reading list for more reading suggestions.
The Mr B's Podcast (we're so sorry!) has been on a winter break, but we had a good excuse: we were hard at work with our shop expansion. Suitably, we also thought that the first episode of 2019 should focus on things which are kind of the same but not quite. Not that our new space is a replica of the old one...but you get the picture.
Join us as we chat to authors Simon Garfield and Edward Carey, who both visited the shop at the end of last year. Simon Garfield's curious, insightful and entertaining book 'In Miniature' explores our ancient fascination with small versions of everyday things and the craftsmanship involved in making them. Edward Carey, a novelist very close to our hearts, has just published his first novel for adults - a superbly atmospheric fictional biography of the queen of replicas herself: Madame Tussaud.
Hosted by Jessica Johannesson with music by The Bookshop Band
Browse through our Same but Different reading list
A real person? As in a REAL person? The cheek of it!
This month we're looking at great (as in bold, irreverent, inventive, insightful...) examples of authors using real historical individuals as overt basis for their characters. We're not talking vaguely inspired by, but names and all, although - as we will see - a name can be deceiving. How much is ever real in fiction? And how much is ever made up?
Olivia Laing, author of art-memoir gems such as The Lonely City and The Trip to Echo Spring, joins us to talk about her first novel, Crudo, who uses the persona of artist/writer Kathy Acker as her narrator.
Now take a look at our Magpies of Fiction reading list
Autumn is here and we've had a busy summer indeed. At the end of July, a few members of the Mr B's team set off to sell books at WOMAD festival, where we built a tent, saw an array of fruit-shaped hats, and interviewed some fantastic authors, among them debut novelist Kim Sherwood. Her incredible first book "Testament", winner of the Bath Novel Award, left us thinking about the hazy territory between private and public in times of upheaval, be it because of a missing child, the loss of work, or the horrors of war. Recorded this past summer, Kim Sherwood talks about her journey of research into legacies of the Holocaust in Hungary, and the beginnings of 'Testament'. In the latter part of the podcast, Sam and Jess talk about some of their recent favourites.
Now take a look at our Worlds Turned Upside Down reading list
When it comes to addictions, books and coffee may not be among the more serious, but they're definitely cravings which abound in the Mr B's team. Inspired by the publication of Smoking Kills by Antoine Laurain, we gathered a little stack of moving, surprising and off-kilter writing on addiction. Listen to Jess and Lucinda as they take you from sleazy Los Angeles dives to Hemingway's letters, then hear Antoine Laurain chat to us about his own writing routines. With bonus material in French!
Now take a look at our Writing and Addictions reading list
Borrowing the title from the fabulous Jeanette Winterson novel from 1992, Jess and Lottie present a choice of books which make the human body strange and unfamiliar. Tattooed bodies, fed and starved bodies, bodies seen-through and examined, you'll find them all within these pages - in areas as varied as those of forensic science and a YA adventure. Our special guest this month is Jack Hartnell, art historian and author of a fascinating exploration of medieval views of the human body.
Now take a look at our Written in the Body reading list
In May 2018's podcast we look at the intrigues of ecosystems, and the books that delve right in to them. Which fury or winged inhabitants really belong in our cities, and who's to say if they don't? What happened to European rabbits under Henry VIIIs reign and do sea gulls qualify as wilderness? Also featuring an interview with the award-winning novelist Aminatta Forna about her new novel 'Happiness'.