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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

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

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

 

 

Nov 10, 2016

Christmas time is approaching and so is the Mr B’s Christmas catalogue. Tom’s favourite book of the year, featured in the catalogue, is a novel set in Spain, written in Swedish and translated into English. Breat Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs is an inventive, edgy and darkly humorous tale in which the protagonist doesn’t get a voice of her own, and in which everyone is always telling a story about someone else. Lina Wolff, its author, came to the shop earlier in the year and sat down to chat to Jess about brilliant girls in literature, Spanish gossip, and why there are no Swedish characters in her novel.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs by Lina Wolff

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes

The Saga of Gösta Berling by Selma Lagerlöf

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Music by The Bookshop Band

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