Book Chat

Book Chat

By Pandora Sykes

A monthly podcast hosted by Pandora Sykes and Bobby Palmer, who bring a book each to chat about. The one rule: the books have to be more than 2 years old.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episodes

11. Stoner & The Unbearable Lightness of Being

A bittersweet episode of Book Chat has Pandora and Bobby discussing two fittingly bittersweet books: Stoner by John Williams and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Also, “some news”, a hearty goodbye, and a look back on some of our Book Chat faves from episodes past.You can get in touch bookchatpod@gmail.com Books/articles mentioned:Stoner and Butcher’s Crossing by John WilliamsThe Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan KunderaLand of Milk and Honey by C Pam ZhangThe Science of Storytelling by Will StorrEmily, Bella, Harriet, Octavia, Prudence and Imogen by Jilly CooperThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldMy Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth StroutOne Day by David NichollsBlack Butterflies by Priscilla Morris Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-AknerThe Greatest American Novel You’ve Never Heard Of by Tim Kreider for The New Yorker – https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-greatest-american-novel-youve-never-heard-of Stoner: the must-read novel of 2013 by Julian Barnes for The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/13/stoner-john-williams-julian-barnes  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
30/01/24·57m 48s

10. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret & The Bluest Eye

We bring two books both published in 1970 to the table. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by “the poet laureate of puberty” Judy Blume, and The Bluest Eye, by the legendary Toni Morrison. You can get in touch bookchatpod@gmail.com Books/articles mentioned:Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Forever and Deenie by Judy BlumeThe Bluest Eye, Beloved, Tar Baby and Paradise by Toni MorrisonMona of the Manor by Armistead MaupinFirst Love and My Phantoms by Gwendoline RileyFever Dream by Samanta SchweblinEmpire of Pain by Patrick Radden KeefeThe Wolf Hall Trilogy by Hilary MantelDemon Copperhead by Barbara KingsolverBooks for episode 10:Stoner by John WilliamsThe Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan KunderaSound by Joel Grove and production by Pandora SykesHosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
02/10/23·51m 41s

9. Augustown & Home Cooking

After last month’s crowd-pleasers, Bobby and Pandora sink their teeth into two very different, equally meaty books. In Augustown by Kei Miller, a “dismal little valley” in Jamaica becomes a boiling pot of tension when a young boy’s dreadlocks are cut off. And in Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin, the boiling pots are a little more literal – and Pandora shares an all-timer of a kitchen horror story.You can get in touch bookchatpod@gmail.com Books/articles mentioned:Augustown by Kei MillerHome Cooking by Laurie ColwinThe Pisces and Milk Fed by Melissa BroderWhen I Sing, Mountains Dance by Irene SolàGood Material and Everything I Know About Love by Dolly AldertonWhen We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd BanwoBig Fish by Daniel WallaceLife of Pi by Yann MartelTrespasses by Louise KennedyHome Fire by Kamila ShamsieThe Bread The Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-AgostiniHeartburn by Nora EphronMidnight Chicken by Ella RisbridgerTakeaway by Angela HuiPRE-ORDER SMALL HOURS by Bobby PalmerAugustown by Kei Miller Review by Natasha Tripney for The Observer“Augustown”: A Novel of the Sacred and the Profane in Jamaica by Laura Miller for The New YorkerScalding oil, racist prank calls and endless ‘lid duty’: growing up in a Chinese restaurant by Angela Hui for The GuardianFind out more about the ShelterBox Book ClubBooks for episode 10:The Bluest Eye by Toni MorrisonAre You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy BlumeSound by Joel Grove and production by Pandora SykesHosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/09/23·36m 47s

8. Bridget Jones’s Diary & High Fidelity

It’s a bumper episode 8, with Pandora and Bobby tackling two million-copy-bestselling, much-loved-movie-inspiring titans of the nineties. In Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding, Pandora finds a surprisingly feminist heroine who’s no less funny 25 years on. And in Nick Hornby’s beloved High Fidelity, Bobby meets his match in a perpetually depressed man-boy who needs to love himself before anyone else can love him back.Books/articles mentioned:Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen FieldingHigh Fidelity, Fever Pitch and About a Boy by Nick HornbyOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia MarquezThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovA Life Of One’s Own by Joanna BiggsShark Heart by Emily HabeckMen Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John GrayQueenie by Candice Carty-WilliamsMe Before You by Jojo MoyesOne Day and Us by David NichollsLess by Andrew Sean GreerHeartburn by Nora EphronTales of the City by Armistead MaupinMating in Captivity by Esther PerelBooks for episode 9:Augustown by Kei MillerHome Cooking by Laurie Colwin Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/08/23·56m 47s

7. Close Range & A Girl’s Story

Book Chat is back, and episode 7 pits a Pulitzer-winning author against a Nobel-winning author. But not really: in the battle of the Annies whose name ends in ‘X’, both Bobby and Pandora are winners. Discussing Close Range by Annie Proulx, Bobby feels the need to make apologies for the unapologetic bleakness of rural Wyoming – while Pandora is transported back to the excruciating experience of Catholic boarding school girlhood in Annie Ernaux’s A Girl’s Story.You can get in touch bookchatpod@gmail.comSound by Joel Grove and production by Pandora SykesBooks/articles mentioned:Close Range and The Shipping News by Annie ProulxA Girl’s Story, The Years, A Man’s Place, A Woman’s Story, Happening, Getting Lost and Simple Passion by Annie ErnauxThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle ZevinOrdinary Human Failings and Acts of Desperation by Megan NolanDifferent Seasons by Stephen KingStoner and Butcher’s Crossing by John WilliamsThe Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/07/23·56m 25s

6. When I Hit You & A Visit from the Goon Squad

Episode 6 takes on one little known book and one very, very well-known book. Pandora finally reads A Visit from the Goon Squad and falls in love with Jennifer Egan's entire canon, while Bobby has mixed feelings about one of Pandora's absolute favourite books of recent times, When I Hit You, about a woman's violent marriage to a communist professor in South India.You can get in touch bookchatpod@gmail.comSound by Joel Grove and production by Pandora SykesBooks/articles mentioned:When I Hit You, The Gypsy Goddess and Exquisite Cadavers by Meena KandasamyA Visit from the Goon Squad, Emerald City, Look At Me and The Candy House by Jennifer EganBirnam Wood by Eleanor CattonBurning Questions by Margaret AtwoodGirlfriend on Mars by Deborah WillisOpen Throat by Henry HokeOn Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean VuongDiary of a Bad Year by J.M. CoetzeeJennifer Egan on Radio 4 Book ClubStephanie Sy-Quia reviews Meena Kandasamy for LARB Books for episode 7:Close Range by Annie ProulxA Girl’s Story by Annie ErnauxPlease note, we will be taking a seasonal break for June, and will be back on July 1st. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/05/23·45m 3s

5. Memorial & The Virgin Suicides

Welcome to episode 5! On the menu today is Memorial by Byran Washington, which just slips over our '2 years old' threshold - the hype is arguably still hyping - and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, which was written 30 years ago and yet still, the hype hypes (StudioCanal just released a sparkly new version of the film.)We discuss Memorial's literary take on the 'meet the parents' romcom, the 'traumedy' genre, and why Mitsuko is one of the best characters ever written; and why The Virgin Suicides' big themes - adolescent mental health, the male gaze, the American Dream - still feel as prescient today.You can get in touch bookchatpod@gmail.comSound by Joel Grove and production by Pandora SykesBooks/articles mentioned:Memorial by Bryan WashingtonThe Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey EugenidesBewilderment by Richard PowersRomantic Comedy by Curtis SittenfeldSuch A Fun Age by Kiley ReidWhite Noise by Don DeLilloMemorial review by Maria Marchinkoski for The Harvard ReviewMemorial review by Tash Aw for The TLSMemorial review by Ron Charles for The Washington PostJeffrey Eugenides interview at The Strand bookstoreDoes The Virgin Suicides still hold up 25 years later? By Emily Temple for LitHub Pre-order Isaac and the Egg in paperbackBooks for episode 6:When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/04/23·41m 1s

4. All That Man Is & The Reluctant Fundamentalist

For Episode 4 of Book Chat, we travel back just a decade or so, to Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist and David Szalay's short stories in a novel, All That Man Is.We discuss Mohsin Hamid's ability to condense big ideas - what makes a fundamentalist? What biases are you bringing to the story? - into readable prose (and his other magical novels like Exit West) and David Szalay's attempt to condense modern masculinity from teen to OAP, as it roves Europe - in one book. You can get in touch bookchatpod@gmail.comSound by Joel Grove and production by Pandora SykesBooks/articles mentioned:All That Man Is and London and the South-East by David SzalayThe Reluctant Fundamentalist, Exit West and The Last White Man by Mohsin HamidGames and Rituals and Single, Carefree, Mellow by Katherine HeinyThe Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le CarréShuggie Bain by Douglas StuartThe Rachel Papers by Martin AmisIf on a winter’s night a traveller by Italo CalvinoHome Fire by Kamila ShamsieThe Runaways by Fatima Bhutto‘All That Man Is’, by David Szalay, review by Christopher Tayler for the Financial Times – https://www.ft.com/content/fe2db1c4-f797-11e5-803c-d27c7117d132 'All That Man Is,' and a Lot He Is Not, in David Szalay's View, by Dwight Garner for The New York Times – https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/07/books/review-all-that-man-is-and-a-lot-he-is-not-in-david-szalays-view.html I Pledge Allegiance, by Karen Olsson for The New York Times – https://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/22/books/review/Olsson.t.html Clip attributions:David Szalay on Radio 4 Bookclub, 2019Mohsin Hamid on Radio 4 Bookclub, 2011Subscribe to Books + Bits: https://pandorasykes.substack.com/ Our books for Ep 5:The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey EugenidesMemorial by Bryan Washington Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/03/23·42m 15s

3. Wuthering Heights & Orlando

It's episode 3 of Book Chat! And this month we are travelling hundreds of years back, to a book Pandora's always wanted to read (Orlando, by Virginia Woolf) and one of Bobby's all-time favourites (Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte.) Last episode, Pandora groaned at the prospect of Wuthering Heights, which she read - and loathed - for GCSE. So has she changed her mind? We discuss the two books and also the culture around the two authors: the upper-class, sexually liberal art collective, the Bloomsbury group, which Virginia Woolf was part of, and 'the Bronte myth' which has become part of the Wuthering Heights lore. How were the books received at the time - and do they stand up as modern reads? Other books/ articles mentioned:You Be Mother, by Meg MasonMan's Search for Meaning, by Viktor FranklJane Eyre, by Charlotte BronteMrs Dalloway, Jacob's Room, A Room of One's Own, The Waves and To The Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf Terrible literary wigs that I have known and loved, by Maddie Rodriquez for Book Riot https://bookriot.com/terrible-literary-wigs-i-have-known-and-loved/Who's Virginia Woolf afraid of? by Stephen Unwin for Byline Times https://bylinetimes.com/2022/12/22/whos-virginia-woolf-afraid-of/Emily, 2022 film https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/video/detail/amzn1.dv.gti.985aca68-2553-4b7e-83de-1b6465a3a8e4?autoplay=0&ref_=atv_cf_strg_wbOrlando, a play directed by Michael Grandage, on now at The GarrickOur books for Episode 4 are:The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin HamidAll That Man Is, by David SzalayYou can get in touch bookchatpod@gmail.comSound by Joel Grove and production by Pandora Sykes. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/02/23·48m 35s

2. White Teeth & Convenience Store Woman

Welcome back to Book Chat, a new monthly books podcast brought to you by novelist Bobby Palmer and journalist Pandora Sykes, which does what it says on the tin: we each bring one book, and we chat. Our one rule? The books have to be more than 2 years old. NB: this is a meaty book chat, not a book review show, so if you have not yet read the books, there will be spoilers.For our second episode, Pandora brings White Teeth by Zadie Smith (2000) and Bobby, Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (2016, trans. 2019). Both books were huge bestsellers and launched each woman as a "literary sensation". We discuss this tag as well as the books themselves: our favourite bits, how they've aged, and what we'd change.Other books/ articles mentioned:Vesper Flights by Helen MacdonaldDarling by India KnightOn Beauty, NW, Intimations, Swing Time and Grand Union by Zadie SmithLife Ceremony and Earthlings by Sayaka MurataThe Interestings by Meg WolitzerWhite Teeth seemed fresh and optimistic in 2000 - how does it read now? by Sam Jordison for The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2020/jul/14/white-teeth-2000-how-does-it-read-now-zadie-smithGeneration Why? by Zadie Smith for The New York Review of Books https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2010/11/25/generation-why/In Defence of Fiction, by Zadie Smith for The New York Review of Books https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/10/24/zadie-smith-in-defense-of-fiction/Zadie Smith interview: On Shame, Rage and Writing, for the Louisiana channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LREBOwjrrwFor Japanese novelist Sayaka Murata, odd is the new normal, by Motoko Rich for The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/books/japanese-novelist-sayaka-murata-convenience-store-woman.htmlThe future of sex lives in us all, by Sayaka Murata for The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/02/opinion/future-sex-society.htmlA Home at the End of the World by Michael CunninghamDarling by India KnightVesper Flights by Helen MacdonaldThe Interestings by Meg WolitzerThe Corrections by Jonathan FranzenCollected Works by Lydia SandgrenOpen Water by Caleb Azumah NelsonWhite Noise by Don DeLilloMy Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa MoshfeghLuster by Raven LeilaniThe Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey EugenidesGirl, Interrupted by Susanna KaysenOn Beauty, NW, Intimations, Swing Time and Grand Union by Zadie SmithEarthlings and Life Ceremony by Sayaka MurataYou can get in touch bookchatpod@gmail.com.Sound by Joel Grove and production by Pandora Sykes. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/01/23·42m 54s

1. Tin Man & Tales of The City

Welcome to Book Chat! A new monthly books podcast hosted by Pandora Sykes and Bobby Palmer, which does what it says on the tin: we each bring one book, and we chat. Our one rule? The books have to be more than 2 years old. For our inaugural episode, Bobby has chosen Tin Man by Sarah Winman, and Pandora has chosen Tales of the City, by Armistead Maupin. So join us for a meaty book chat and beware for those who have not read the books: there will be spoilers. Other books mentioned:The Happy Couple by Naoise DolanThe Arrest by Jonathan LethemNormal People by Sally RooneyGrief is the Thing With Feathers by Max PorterTomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle ZevinA Man Called Ove by Fredrick BackmanWhen God Was A Rabbit and Still Life by Sarah WinmanFurther Tales of The City, Babycakes and Michael Tolliver Lives, by Armistead MaupinClip attributions:Sarah Winman on Writer’s Bone podcast, 2018Armistead Maupin on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, 2007Ian McKellan reads Letter to Mama for Letters Live, 2017You can get in touch with us at bookchatpod@gmail.comSound by Joel Grove and production by Pandora Sykes. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/12/22·50m 31s

Welcome to Book Chat

Welcome to Book Chat, a new monthly books podcast hosted by Pandora Sykes and Bobby Palmer which does what it says on the tin: we each bring a book, and we chat. Our one rule? The books have to be more than 2 years old. First episode dropping 1 Dec. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
29/11/22·1m 40s
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