2010 TV Book Club

The Radleys by Matt Haig

The Radleys

I haven’t had any success with vampire related entertainment in the past and so avoided this book for a long time. Even when people with similar aversions started to rave about it I ignored them – there was no way I’d be convinced to try another disappointing vampire book. But slowly the positive reviews started to mount and I became increasingly curious about this book. I wasn’t convinced enough to buy a copy, but when I spotted it in my local library I couldn’t resist reading the first page – if only to confirm my belief that it would be terrible. I’m almost sad to admit that my 100% failure with vampires is over. I fell in love with this book from the very beginning and enjoyed this fast paced, entertaining romp all the way to the end.

The Radleys is set in a small Yorkshire town and focuses on one family who are desperately trying to live a normal life. The problem is that they are vampires with an almost uncontrollable urge to drink blood. I admit that the premise sounds just like any other vampire book, but this one is different in that it is almost a satire of the others. It doesn’t try to scare you, but entertains with witty observations about British life and realistic descriptions of the relationships between different family members.   

The blood drinking can also be taking for a metaphor for almost any desire that we have trouble controlling. A book about giving up smoking wouldn’t have been as interesting, but the lessons about impulse control are just as relevant.

The Radleys is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a lighter read. It is an original idea that has been cleverly executed. Recommended.


The thoughts of other bloggers:

(I couldn’t find a negative review)

The writing is funny and the story is so real! Leeswammes Blog

Some of the cultural references feel quite UK-focused, so I hope that doesn’t impact how it translates elsewhere. Novel Insights

…. a great pleasure to read. Follow the Thread

Other Richard and Judy Book Club TV Book Club

Richard and Judy v The TV Book Club: Which has picked the best books this Summer?

Richard and Judy  and The TV Book Club and have both revealed their latest book club choices recently, but are either of them worth following and who is winning the battle of the book club?

Richard and Judy’s 2011 Summer Reads

The Confession of Katherine HowardThe Return of Captain John EmmettThe Novel in the ViolaEvery Last One

When God Was a RabbitThe Poison TreeThe Summer of the BearThe Death Instinct

After attempting to read Richard and Judy’s last selection of books I stated that I would no longer be following their suggestions with the dedication that I used to. So the big question is: Have they improved?

I was disappointed to see that Richard and Judy are continuing to come up with unoriginal choices; both Jed Rubenfeld and Bella Pollen have had previous books on the original TV show (Bella Pollen’s Hunting Unicorns in 2004 and Jed Rubenfeld’s The Interpretation of Murder in 2007). I didn’t find either of these books particularly entertaining and so I’m not very excited about reading The Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeldor The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen. -2

The only book from the list that I’ve read is When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman which I found original and entertaining. I think this is a fantastic choice and I am really pleased that this debut novel will reach a wider audience. +1

 The Novel in the Viola by Natasha Solomons sounds like an interesting read, but I think it will be too charming for me and so I won’t be reading it. 0

I have wanted to read The Poison Tree by Erin Kellyever since I first heard about it on Steph and Tony Investigate. I have a copy here and so will read it next time I’m in the mood for a thriller. +1

The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn sounded interesting and so I attempted to read a few weeks ago. Unfortunately the writing style grated on me so I gave up very quickly. -1

The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller is another book that I’m interested in reading. I have a copy here, but it hasn’t quite made it to the top of the pile yet. +1

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen is the only book that I hadn’t heard of when the list was announced. I still know very little about it, but for now I’ll take that as a positive. +1

Total score: +1

The TV Book Club 2011 Summer Reads

The LanternThe Hidden ChildMoonlight MileA Visit From the Goon Squad

Night RoadThe RadleysThe Book of Human SkinGrace Williams Says it Loud

I don’t normally enjoy books containing vampires but numerous positive reviews have added The Radleys by Matt Haig to my wishlist. This is a book I plan to try before the TV series begins. +1

I wasn’t a big fan of Grace Williams Says it Loud by Emma Henderson, but it is an original debut so I’m happy to see it on this list. +1

The Lantern by Deborah Lawrensonis a book I hadn’t heard of before this list was revealed. That is what shows like this are supposed to do. +1

Night Road by Kristin Hannahdoesn’t look like a very original book, but I haven’t read it so will give it the benefit of the doubt. 0

The Hidden Childby Camilla Lackberg is a book in translation – I can’t possibly complain about that! +1

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane seems like a fairly typical thriller, but I have always wanted to read some Lehane. I probably wont read this one, but I don’t feel I can deduct a point for its selection. 0

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer prize, but it hasn’t received that much attention here in the UK. It will divide opinion, but I think that will make a very interesting discussion on the show. +1

The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric captured my attention from the moment I read the title. I don’t know anything else about it, but I do know I want to read it. +1

Total Score: +6


Richard and Judy: +1

TV Book Club: +6

Richard and Judy do seem to have improved their selection, but they are still failing to pick titles that excite me. Time and again The TV Book Club are outshining them with lists that I am really interested in reading/discussing. I think both could benefit from picking some titles from smaller publishers and a wider range of books in translation, but I shouldn’t complain too much – anything that persuades reluctant readers to pick up a few extra books is a good thing.

Long may they continue to pick books that we can all read and discuss together!

What do you think of the book club selections?

Which is your favourite list?

Other Richard and Judy Book Club TV Book Club

The Spring 2011 Richard and Judy Book Club Titles Revealed

I wasn’t a big fan of Richard and Judy’s Winter reads, but they have just revealed their Spring collection and the selection looks much more promising.

The books are:

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley

This Perfect World by Suzanne Bugler

Room by Emma Donoghue

You’re Next by Gregg Hurwitz

Trespass by Rose Tremain

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

The Blasphemer by by Nigel Farndale

I have read three of the selection:

Room by Emma Donoghue 

My favourite read in 2010. I’m delighted to see it selected, but think it is a shame that The TV Book Club and Richard and Judy have chosen to highlight the same book.

The Blasphemer by Nigel Farndale 

I loved this book and am very happy to see it reach a wider audience. It is a fantastic book club choice as there is a lot to discuss. It also contains some of the best war scenes I have ever read. I highly recommend it.

Trespass by Rose Tremain 

I have loved Rose Tremain in the past, but this isn’t her best book. It is quite slow and thoughtful so don’t get it if you like your reads to be fast paced.

I have heard wonderful things about Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and The Postmistress, but I’m not sure they are for me. I worry that the word “charming” is used to describe  Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and I wonder if I’ve read too many war stories for The Postmistress to stand out. I haven”t heard of the other books on the list, but look forward to seeing what others make of them.

What do you think of the selection?

Do you think that I’d enjoy any of the other books on the list?

TV Book Club

TV Book Club 2011 Titles Revealed

The TV Book Club has just announced the titles which will be discussed on their new series which begins in January.

The ten books are:  



Room by Emma Donoghue

The Long Song by Andrea Levy 

The News Where You Are by Catherine O’Flynn

Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor

Bleed for Me by Michael Robotham

Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst

The Junior Officers’ Reading Club: Killing Time and Fighting Wars by Patrick Hennessey

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna

My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin

I’m quite impressed with the selection. I have already read three of the titles and enjoyed them.

Room – Emma Donoghue

The Long Song – Andrea Levy stars41

Even the Dogs – Jon McGregor stars41

Room is my favourite book of 2010 and so I am very happy to see that it has been selected.

I am quite surprised to see Even the Dogs on the list – it is a very dark book. There isn’t much plot, but there is a lot of drug abuse, alcoholism and depression. I don’t think the TV Book Club has ever picked a book like that before so I’ll be interested to see how it goes down on the show.

Which books should I read?

I loved What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn and so am looking forward to reading The News Where You Are. I already have a copy and hope to read it soon. I have seen lots of positive comments about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, but I’m not convinced it is for me. I haven’t heard much about the other books.

Have you read any of them?

Which ones do you recommend I read?