Random Musings: Literary Podcasts

I am old school when it comes to book reviews, author interviews and literary discussions. I prefer reading to watching or listening. Mainly this is due to time constraints. I can read most articles in just a few minutes whereas audio and visual content demands a much longer time commitment. I prefer to devote that extended time to reading books.

Last year my favourite book prize, the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses, announced that it was starting a podcast. I was dismayed. Then, when I read of the books, participants and discussions being featured I grew curious.

The episodes released varied in length but required that a significant block of time be made available. To listen I had to find a space within my day. The obvious place, where I would benefit from a distraction, was the gym. After presenting my cost-benefit analysis my husband kindly gifted me a set of headphones. Many fruitless attempts to download episodes to my phone for offline listening later (I don’t use Apple products or have internet access at the gym) I found a means of carrying audio content with me (I use Castbox, available for android).

Listening to podcasts while cycling nowhere or working out on a cross trainer has proved effective at taking my mind off how tiring and tiresome these activities can be. I quickly worked my way through each of the Republic of Consciousness podcasts and sought out alternatives to supplement the time I have available each week. I now have a backlog of interesting book discussions to listen to, thereby working both my heart and mind.

The Republic of Consciousness Podcast for Small Presses

Click on image for link

“The Republic of Consciousness Podcast comes out about 3 times a month. It’ll be a bit different each time, but expect interviews, readings, and some regular features, such as our Book of the Month.”

Bookmunch Podcast

No dedicated page as yet but first two episodes may be found here:
Episode 1 – Emma Glass (Peach)
Episode 2 – Adam Foulds (Dream Sequence)

Why Why Why: The Books Podcast

Click on image for link

“We ask writers why they wrote the book they wrote, editors why they published the book, and readers why they picked up the book and read it.”

 

I realise that I am probably late to the party but I am enjoying these audio broadcasts given that they fill a time slot when reading would be difficult. It goes to show that trying new things can sometimes be worthwhile.

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Monthly Roundup – April 2018

April has been a busy month for family related activities. As my children grow older I see less of them so prioritise in their favour when we can be together. A local road closure and the ongoing engineering work on the GWR affected my ability to travel so I did not attend any literary events. Added to these issues I was working my way through an 800 page non fiction book which, although fascinating, proved more technical than expected and would not be rushed.

I posted reviews for 16 books in April and interviewed one author – links are below. However, the month opened with a random opinion piece that was inspired by some negative debates on social media around book blogging and negative reviews. You may read it here: Random Musings: Book love and negative reviews

On then to the books. As long time readers will know I have a particular fondness for the small presses and am always happy to discover a new one. Ampersand Publishing sent me four titles which I devoured. These included two poetry collections:

Recipe for being a Woman by Hermione Cameron
Echoing by Elliot Koubis

and two works of fiction:

Tumours by Chay Collins (nominated for the Saboteur Award for Best Novella)
The Goldberg Variations by Robert Hainault

I also reviewed a translated poetry collection from the fabulous Little Island Press:

Shortening the Candle’s Wick by Andres Ehin and Ly Seppel (translated by Ilmar Lehtpere)

Unusually for me there was only one book of translated fiction this month, although I did get to interview the author:

The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland by Nicolai Houm (translated by Anna Paterson), published by Pushkin Press
Author Interview: Nicolai Houm

I posted a couple of reviews originally written for Bookmunch

The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal
The One Who Wrote Destiny by Nikesh Shukla

In non fiction I posted reviews of a nature monograph that made me want to return to Ireland and revisit the places described, and a best selling memoir.

Eagle Country by Seán Lysaght, published by Little Toller
Educated by Tara Westover, published by Hutchinson

I also posted a review of the latest non fiction offering from Galley Beggar Press:

Wrestliana by Toby Litt

Other fiction reviews posted included the following:

The Sound of My Voice by Ron Butlin, published by Polygon
Claudia by Anthony Trevelyan, published by Sceptre

You by Phil Whitaker, published by Salt
Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill, published by Lightning Books

Mayhem and Death by Helen McClory, published by 404 Ink

Finally, I acquired a new hen enclosure this month which got me so excited I had to write about it: Constructing the Perfect Walk-in Run

 

As ever I wish to thank the publishers who send me their titles to review – the arrival of a book parcel makes my day.

My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your support is always appreciated.

Next month I have two short breaks planned with my family. It is therefore likely to be a quieter month on social media and on my blog, although there may be pictures of my adventures.

Jx

Monthly Roundup – February 2018

January on my blog focused on the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses, with just a few reviews of the books I was reading thrown in for good measure. This month saw a return to a more familiar format with a focus on new book reviews, although not all recent releases as I kept my New Year promise to myself and also plucked titles from further down my TBR pile.

These included a number of medical themed books. The announcement of the Wellcome Book Prize longlist reminded me that I still had several titles unread that I was eager to get to.

Click on the cover to find out more about the book from the publisher’s website – the links below will take you to my reviews.

  

  

 

I posted four book reviews originally written for other sites.

  

  

 

There were also original reviews of several new releases and books from my TBR pile.

Non-Fiction:

Fiction:

Poetry

 

I attended one book event, travelling to Manchester for

I will be posting more about the author and publisher panels and talks next week.

I posted one interview this month, with

Next month I have a number of literary outings to look forward to, including the winners event for the Republic of Consciousness Prize on the 20th. I also have more excellent books to read – thank you to the publishers who send me their titles for review.

My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your support is always appreciated.

Monthly Roundup – January 2018

We made it through January. I know illness has dogged a lot of us this month – if you are still suffering I wish you a speedy recovery.

I started the month with a few thoughts on the year just past. I have now been blogging for over five years and my site continues to evolve as I work out the ongoing direction I wish to take.

My first review of the year was for Alison Weir’s Six Tudor Queens: Jane Seymour – The Haunted Queen which is to be published by Headline in May. I had intended to include this as one of my end of year books to look forward to in 2018 but ran out of reading time over the festive season. My new Fitbit encouraged me to get out walking which was probably a good thing.

I then took a week’s break as I had a family holiday to enjoy and a big feature planned for the remainder of the month. These things take time to organise and prepare.

Those who follow my blog regularly will be aware that this month has mostly been about The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses, who last summer invited me to join their reader panel and help judge submissions for the prize. After the longlist was announced in November I contacted the longlisted publishers inviting them and their authors to answer a few questions or write a guest post for my blog. The before Christmas period is just about the busiest time of year for those who provide us with books so I am grateful for the positive responses received.

As part of this feature I posted author interviews with:

I included publisher interviews with:

I received guest posts from:

I am also grateful to my fellow judges, Graham and Paul Fulcher, who offered their carefully considered and detailed reviews to run alongside the content I received from authors and publishers. As I had already posted my reviews of the longlisted books I felt that these alternative thoughts added to the feature.

My bookish adventures took me along a new path when I participated in my first ever podcast, adding a few thoughts on one of the longlisted books – We that are young by Preti Taneja – alongside interesting interviews with the author and with the publisher. You may find out more about the podcast, created by The YYY Books Podcast, by clicking here.

As well as my Republic Of Consciousness Prize posts, I published a few reviews of other books I managed to read this month:

I attended two bookish events in January. The first was in Bristol, a stop on the New Voices of 2018 roadshow organised by Headline. The second was the Judges Dinner for the Republic of Consciousness Prize. Held in London this gave me the opportunity to meet my fellow judges offline, and to discuss the longlist with a view to whittling it down to the five or six titles that will go forward from here. I will be writing more about this event next month after the shortlist is announced in Manchester on 19th February.

I was privileged to receive a number of new titles from publishers which have been added to my TBR pile. For those interested, I post pictures of my book post on my Instagram feed. Thank you to all the publishers who send me books to review. Like most book bloggers my TBR pile is vast and enticing. If I have received your book I assure you I am doing my best to find time to read it.

Thank you also to the many readers, bloggers and publishers who share my words on their social media feeds. I very much appreciate your support. February will see a return to more personal book reviews. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts.