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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 

http://mrbsemporium.libsyn.com/rss

Nov 13, 2020

We've arrived at episode 5 of #MrBsJusticeSeason. Join us as we talk to journalist Maeve McClenaghan about her experience of a year investigating the homelessness crisis in the UK, and the book which emerged from this journey.

'No Fixed Abode' is a revealing and moving exploration of how very far the tragedy of homelessness has been allowed to develop, but also about the solutions which already exist. It began with one question, which Maeve asked after coming across a few news stories in 2018: how many people die in the UK while homeless? As it turned out, this piece of statistic just didn't exist.

Hosted by Jessica Gaitan Johannesson. Music by The Bookshop Band.

Have a look at our list of some good books on homelessness HERE.

Oct 27, 2020

The Justice Season of the podcast continues through the autumn 2020, a fortnight and many books at a time. For episode four, we're delighted to share a conversation with Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah about her latest novel 'Out of Darkness, Shining Light'. It's a story twenty years in the making which follows the last journey of David Livingstone in 1873, as he was carried by his African companions toward the coast, so that he could be buried in England.

Petina Gappah is the author of two short story collections, starting with 'Elegy for Easterley' which won the the Guardian First Book Award, and the novel 'The Book of Memory', which has been a firm favourite on the Mr B's shelves since its publication in in 2015. She's also an international-trade lawyer. Join Petina and Jess as they talk about choosing two characters out of almost a hundred, justice versus equity, and the teaching of colonial history in UK schools.

Hosted by Jessica Gaitan Johannesson. Music by the Bookshop Band.

Have a look at a reading list of all the books mentioned in this episode HERE.

Oct 12, 2020

In the third episode of our Justice Season, we talk to writer, poet, editor and all-round fantastic word- person John Freeman. Editor of the biannual Freemans, and former editor of Granta magazine, John is the author of books of nonfiction such as 'Dictionary of the Undoing', as well as two collections of poems: 'Maps' and 'The Park'. Since 2014 he's edited three anthologies of writing about inequality: 'Tales of Two Cities', focusing on New York, 'Tales of Two Americas', and this year, 'Tales of Two Planets'. The latter brings a plethora of climate-crisis realities, in essays, fiction and poems, to the reader, carried through by voices which are intimate, visionary, varied and essential.

In this episode, Jess talks to John about what the much used term climate justice means, the challenges of addressing the climate crisis in fiction, and what kind of writing moves us to take action.

Hosted by Jessica Gaitan Johannesson

Explore the books mentioned in this episode HERE.

Oct 1, 2020

Join us as we plunge deeper into versions and stories of justice in the second episode of our autumn 2020 season.</p>

Niven Govinden is the author of five novels, most recently 'This Brutal House', which was published in 2019. In this episode, Jess chats to Niven about the vogue culture of New York City, chosen families, community, and 'eco-systems of protest'. Niven also reads some mesmerising experts from 'This brutal House' throughout the episode.

This is such a special one. We hope you enjoy it!</p>

For more reading exploration, you can find a book list curated by Niven Govinden HERE. 

Oct 30, 2019

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.  

Hosted by Jessica Johannesson with music by The Bookshop Band

Take a look at our Between These Walls reading list.

Sep 6, 2019

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.

Hosted by Jessica Johannesson with music by The Bookshop Band

Take a look at our Climate Crisis in Fiction reading list.

Jul 12, 2019

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.

Hosted by Jessica Johannesson with music by The Bookshop Band

Have a browse through our Two Bs in a Pod reading list .

Apr 26, 2019

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.

Hosted by Jessica Johannesson with music by The Bookshop Band

If you like the sound of 'The Lost Children Archive' take a look at this reading list for more reading suggestions.

Mar 29, 2019

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

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

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