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?


The TV Book Club 2010

I recently mentioned the new TV Book Club, launched to replace the Richard and Judy Book Club on More4 and Channel 4 in the UK.

The TV Book Club has now announced it’s selection for 2010:

The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters (Featured on 17th January)


Blacklands – Belinda Bauer (Featured on 24th January)

Sacred Hearts – Sarah Dunant (Featured on 31st January)

Juliet, Naked – Nick Hornby (Featured on 7th February)

Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese (Featured on 14th February)

The Rapture – Liz Jensen (Featured on 21st February)

Brixton Beach – Roma Tearne (Featured on 28th February)

The Way Home – George Pelecanos (Featured on 7th March)

Wedlock: How Georgian Britain’s Worst Husband Met His Match – Wendy Moore(Featured on 21st March)

The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick (Featured on 28th March)

Unsurprisingly they look exactly like selections from previous Richard and Judy years (Amanda Ross picked the books for both clubs). Last year I enjoyed reading the complete list, but I don’t think I’ll do that again this year. I have already read The Little Stranger (see my review here) and have had Cutting for Stone on my wish list for a while, as I have heard so many great things about it. I’m not sure how many of the others to attempt – they all appeal to some extent, but I’m not sure I want to squeeze them in to my already massive TBR pile.

Have you read any of these books?

Which do you think I’d enjoy the most?

Other Richard and Judy Book Club

The Richard and Judy Book Club 2010

Richard and Judy are back!

Richard and Judy left our screens last July, leaving a big hole in the publishing industry. Their book group boosted sales for those lucky enough to be selected, with the average book selling 250, 000 copies.

It has recently been announced that Richard and Judy plan to revive their book club in 2010. They are going to place their famous stickers on a selection of books and run the book group online, through the Richard & Judy website.

UPDATE: 24th June 2010

Richard and Judy have announced that their book club will run in partnership with WHSmith. The couple will promote one book every fortnight via stickers in WHSmith stores. 6 books will be chosen later this year and then another 8 books will be promoted in the Spring/Summer of 2011. The books will also be discussed on their new website. I’m looking forward to seeing which books they choose!

UPDATE: 28th August 2010

The 2010 Richard and Judy book list will be launched on September 2nd.

UPDATE: The Richard and Judy books have bee revealed!! 

CLICK HERE to see my post about the eight Richard and Judy books which have been selected. 


New: TV Book Club

Channel 4 have also revealed that they plan to launch The TV Book Club in 2010. The TV Book Club will follow the old Richard and Judy format, but use a series of celebrity presenters including Jo Brand and Gok Wan.

Edited to add: The TV Book Club has now announced its book selection.

I will be keeping an eye on both book clubs and will be interested to see which is the most successful. I think it will be hard to maintain an interest in an online only book group, but I wonder how successful those stickers will be. How many of the people who bought Richard and Judy’s selection in the past actually watched the program?

Will you be following either of these book groups?

Which do you think will be the most successful?

2009 Richard and Judy Book Club

Stalking Richard & Judy – Valentine Honeyman

I am a massive fan of Richard & Judy, so when I saw this book I knew I had to read it. The central character is Jeremy Canty, an author who has written many critically acclaimed novels, but has failed to sell many copies and so is struggling with his finances. Richard & Judy announce their latest book club choices and he is shocked to discover that one of his biggest rivals has been selected, and so will no doubt end up topping the fiction charts and securing his future. Jeremy is incredibly jealous and so decides he’ll do anything to ensure his book ends up on the next Richard and Judy list.

I loved the first chapter of this book. I was crying with laughter as I read the descriptions of Richard and Judy. The gentle parody was spot on, and the descriptions of their affect on the publishing industry was fantastic.

Now imagine this. Every so often, two fairies fly round the country. From time to time they pick a cleaner out of the blue and touch their polyester pinny with their magic wands. And lo! Those cleaners become millionaires. Millionaires! Can you imagine what that would be like? Well, that’s exactly what happens to a starving writer when he or she gets on the R&J book list. Richard and Judy are those fairies, and when they touch a lucky writer with their magic wands, she casts off her polyester pinny and goes out to buy a new one. At Versace.   

Unfortunately Richard and Judy weren’t present in the majority of the book – Jeremy stalks the person responsible for creating the list, and not R&J themselves (as the title suggests). This is probably more realistic, but far less entertaining to read about. There were a few funny moments, but I found that much of the book was light and fluffy, lacking that special spark present in the first chapter. There were also a few times when I thought it over stepped the mark – the abuse of Gillian McKeith, in particular, went a bit too far.

It was nice to see that the Jeremy was gay, as I have seen very few books with a gay central character and some of his antics were quite amusing! This book does contain a lot of sexual references and swearing, so should be avoided by anyone who is sensitive to that sort of thing.

Overall, this was a light, entertaining read and I recommend it to all Richard and Judy fans.


Are you a fan of Richard and Judy?

Do you follow Oprah?

2008 2009 Memoirs Richard and Judy Book Club

Fathers and Sons – Richard Madeley

I love Richard and Judy, as you’ve probably already guessed from the number of Richard and Judy books I’ve read! For those of you who don’t know, Richard and Judy are the UK equivalent of Oprah and have been on our screens for over 20 years now. I have been a fan ever since I was a child, and since the launch of their book club in 2006 I have read the majority of the books they’ve suggested.

Fathers and Sons is the true story of Richard’s family. Richard’s entertaining, chatty interview style transfers well to paper, and I connected well with all the people in the book. The book begins with the fascinating story of Richard’s Grandfather, who as a child woke one morning to discover that his parents had emigrated to Canada without him. The anecdotes were touching, at times almost unbelievable, and written with great skill and passion.

I found the more modern section of the book much less interesting, although this may be because I already knew most of it’s contents from being an avid viewer of their shows and from reading Richard and Judy: The Autobiography. Richard is clearly a skilled writer though, and I hope that he writes more books in the future.

Fathers and Sons is essential reading for all fans of Richard and Judy, but even if you aren’t a fan the first section about Richard’s Grandfather is fascinating.


I have read very few memoirs, but am beginning to think that this needs to change.

Can you recommend some good ones for me to start with?

Orange Prize Recommended books Richard and Judy Book Club

Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Read-along Complete!

Winner of the Orange Prize 2007





The second half of this book was very different from the first. I actually found it quite difficult to read in places, as it was so emotional. The suffering of the Biafran people, as they were murdered, abused and starved was heart breaking to read. This book really highlights the horror of war, the way people abuse their power, and the depths they will stoop to in order to survive.

Sometimes it was the simplest of quotes which conveyed the strongest message:

“How have you been, my brother?”
“We did not die,” he said.

If any further explanation had been given, it would have in some way belittled the events they experienced. If the only good thing you can say is that you did not die then, the magnitude of the devastation is enforced.

In my first post, many of you said that you thought my high opinion of Ugwu would change when I read the final section of the book. I don’t want to give anything away, as I realise that there are still lots of you out there who haven’t read this yet, but Ugwu remains my favourite character. I know he did a terrible thing, but I can understand how peer pressure and war can make people do things they would never normally do. Ugwu felt immense guilt and remorse afterwards, and because of this I will forgive him. It actually makes me feel more compassion for him, as I think he will suffer from the guilt of his actions for the rest of his life.

In my first post I also stated that the female characters didn’t come across very strongly. I have to say that in the second half of the book they came into their own. Each and every one of them showed an inner strength that I admire. By the end of the book I loved every single character in some way. Perhaps it is just that everyone who has had to endure the horrors that they did gains sympathy in my eyes, and are stronger because of the things they have gone through. Is this wrong? Or do you think that war can turn everyone into better people?

The one thing I didn’t like was the way they referred to the six-year-old girl as Baby. For a long time I assumed she was a baby, and it really threw me when I first realised how old she was. This is probably some symbolism I just don’t understand – so please bear with me!

I can’t say that I ever really enjoyed reading this book. I am really pleased that I read it, but the subject matter was so distressing that I don’t feel I can recommend it to everyone. The fear oozes from every word:

The first explosion sounded distant. Others followed, closer, louder, and the earth shook. Voices around her were shouting, ‘Lord Jesus! Lord Jesus!’ Her bladder felt painfully, solidly full, as though it would burst and release not urine but the garbled prayers she was muttering.

This really is an incredible book though, the writing is powerful, the characters realistic and multi-layered – the only thing this book is lacking is happiness.

It will become a classic. Highly recommended.




What did you think of this book?

Will it still be read 50 years from now?

Did you find it distressing to read?