The Mr B's Bookshop

A mix of book chat and author conversations run from Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights, an independent bookshop in Bath, England. We begin with the books we're currently reading and let them guide us into the biggest and smallest of ideas: the niche, the essential, the wide-ranging.
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Welcome to the Mr B's Podcast: the audio-home of Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath. Read more about our different episodes, and the bookshop where they are all made here

Oct 26, 2017

Are you the kind of person who will spontaneously start chatting to the passenger next to you on the train? Or are you more comfortable reading about personality clashes and matches made in heaven in the safety of a book page? Jess, Nic and Lottie dig up some of their more extraordinary and thought-provoking 'odd encounter' reads. We also talk to the prize-winning author Julian Sayarer about his experiences hitchhiking through the US, and about the fantastic book that came out of it.

Find our Odd Encounters reading list here.

Sep 25, 2017

September 28th is National Poetry Day 2017. Listen to Jess and Lucinda dive into poetry which explores this year’s theme, Freedom, from the freedom of a lunch hour in Japan, to that of using two languages within one poem. We also hear from poets Marchant Barron, Beth Calverley and Rachel McCrum, whose work offer widely different takes on what it means to seek freedom. If you’ve been meaning to get back to reading poetry, this is the episode for you.

With contributions from Marchant Barron, Beth Calverley and Rachel McCrum

Hosted by Jessica Johannesson, with music by The Bookshop Band


Poems and collections mentioned in this episode: 

‘A Prison Evening’ by Faiz Ahmed Faiz from Being Alive ed. Neil Astley 

'Wild Geese' by Mary Oliver, from New and Selected Poems 

'Tanglefoot' and 'Hear This', both by Marchant Barron

'A Lesson in Drawing' by Nazir Kabani 

'The Tiger who came to Tea' by Beth Calverley

Ode to Bob by Helen Mort, from No Map Could Show Them 

‘The Marunouchi Building’ by Nakahara Chúya from The Penguin Book of Japanese Verse transl. by Geoffrey Bownas and Anthony Thwaite

The Tijuana Book of the Dead by Luis Alberto Urrea 

Vaginaland by Jen Campbell

'Last of the Late Great Gorilla-Suit Actors' by Patricia Lockwood from Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals

'My Underwear was Made of Iron' by Rachel McCrum, from The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate

Jul 17, 2017

The novel Dodgers was one of our favourite novels of 2016, a surprising and elegantly-tuned coming of age story disguised as a crime novel. Jess talks to its author Bill Beverly about the road trip at the centre of the story, and we recommend other superb reads which will take you off the beaten track, and unto the unending road.

Hosted by Jessica Johannesson

Music: 'Star of the River' by The Bookshop Band


Books mentioned in this episode:


Dodgers by Bill Beverly

Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson

Native Son by Richard Wright

Home by Toni Morrison

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson

Almost Heaven by Martin Fletcher

Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon

Butterflies in November by Audur Ava Olafsdottir

How's the Pain? by Pascal Garnier

The Shiralee by D’Arcy Niland

Jun 16, 2017

Some of us love being introduced to a plethora of characters in our fiction reads, whereas some can't think of anything better than being swept up by a single voice, and one experience of the world. We talk to Cynan Jones, whose novel Cove follows the joys and sorrows of one desolate man in a kayak, and recommend other favourite tales of isolation and loneliness.

Hosted by Jessica Johannesson

Music by The Bookshop Band


Books mentioned in this episode:

Cove by Cynan Jones

The Dig by Cynan Jones

I am Legend by Richard Matheson

A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume

Hummingbird by Tristan Hughes

Fire Season by Philip Connors

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing


Other Tales of Isolation recommended by the Mr B's team:


A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume

Hansen’s Children by Ognjen Spahic

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

Caribou Island by David Vann

Deep Country by Neil Ansell



May 19, 2017

We do love our lists at Mr B’s. In this episode, the books we chat about are themselves made up of lists. Nic, Sam and Jess discuss the why’s and why not’s of anthologies of all kinds, and we also hear about a true labour of love, the creation of an anthology of contemporary Venezuelan writing. As always, listen out for Bath's unavoidable background-gulls...

Hosted by Jessica Johannesson

Music by The Bookshop Band


Books mentioned in this episode:

A Convergence of Birds, Ed. by Jonathan Safran Foer (Penguin Books)

Invisible Planets: 13 Visions of the Future, Ed. by Ken Liu (Head of Zeus)

The Moth: all these Wonders (Profile Books)

True Tales of American Life, Ed. by Paul Auster (Faber & Faber)

Litmus: Short Stories from Modern Science, Ed. by Ra Page (Comma Press)

The New Granta Book of Travel, Ed. by Liz Jobey (Granta books)

Best American Sports Writing of the Century, Ed. by David Halberstam (Houghton Mifflin)

Lunatics, Lovers and Poets: Twelve Stories after Cervantes and Shakespeare, Ed. by Daniel Hahn, Margarita Valencia (And Other Stories)

Dime-store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell by Charles Simic (New York Review of Books)

In Sunlight or in Shadow: stories inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper, Ed. by Lawrence Block (Pegasus Books)

Crude Words: Contemporary Writing from Venezuela, Ed. by Katie Brown, Montague Kobbe, Tim Girven (Ragpicker Press)


Other anthologies we love:

A kind of compass: stories on distance, Ed. by Belinda McKeon (Tramp Press)

Refugee Tales, Ed. by David Herd & Anna Pincus (Comma Press)

New American Stories, Ed. by Ben Marcus (Granta Books)

Sisters of the Revolution, Ed. by Anna and Jeff Vandermeer (PM Press)

Apr 19, 2017

Ed, Emma and Jess tackle one of the toughest questions in literature since 'what comes after post-modernism' and 'are dog-eared pages ok': what makes a good Western? Prepare to be introduced to some cracking classics in full cowboy-regalia, as well as a range of genre-bending contemporary frontier tales. We also talk to novelist and short-story writer Donald Ray Pollock about his most recent novel The Heavenly Table.

Hosted by Jessica Johannesson

Music by The Bookshop Band

Books discussed in this episode (including those we talked about which didn’t make the final cut due to time constrains) 

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock

The Devil all the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock

The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge

Blood, Bone, and Marrow: A Biography of Harry Crews by Ted Geltner

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

St Agnes’ Stand by Thomas Eidson

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Far as the Eye can See by Robert Baush

Dog Run Moonby Callan Wink

True Grit by Charles Portis

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

The Far Empty Todd J. Scott

Mar 15, 2017

This month we talk literary peaks  and mighty vistas in some of our current favourites, starting with an interview with author Dan Richards. Dan is a long-time friend of Mr B’s and author of Climbing Days, a remarkable journey in the foot-steps of the pioneering mountaineer Dorothy Pilley. Our Juliette Bottomley and Lucinda Corby also share some striking examples of novels in which mountains represent the utmost freedom as well as the depths of the underworld.

Hosted by Jessica Johannesson

Music by The Bookshop Band


Books and authors mentioned in this podcast:

Climbing Days by Dan Richards

Down to the Sea in Ships by Horatio Clare

Trieste & The Meaning Of Nowhere by Jan Morris

A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler

Hell is Empty by Craig Johnson

Mountains of the Mind by Robert MacFarlane

Feb 15, 2017

The Mr B’s Podcast is back after its Christmas/New Year hiatus when we were all busy placing books into the hands of readers from dawn till dusk. It has returned with a slight difference.

From now on, each podcast will be based on a theme (think time travel, think revolutions and political upheaval, think the great tradition of letters written to people’s pets…we shall try!), and they will include a short author interview as well as one of our signature Mr B’s team book chats. Every episode is also accompanied by a unique reading list for your perusal.

 To start off the year, we’re chatting to S.E. Lister about her book The Immortals – a story where time is treated as place and the characters negotiate both in their attempts to find a home.  Jess, Nic and Emma also re-visit some time-bending favourites – novels where history does not work in the usual way.

Music by The Bookshop Band


Books mentioned in this podcast

The Immortals by S.E. Lister

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Demi-Monde series by Rod Rees (beginning with The Demi-Monde: Winter)

El complot de los romanticos (The conspiracy of the romantics) by Carmen Boullosa

11.22.63 by Stephen King

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall