Talking Bookshelf

  • Munich by Robert Harris - August 2018
    Regular reviewer Terry Prince tells Rob Pearman why he chose the latest spy/thriller by Robert Harris, author of a series of novels based on actual events or periods in history. 'Munich' adds layers of fiction to the critical negotiations in 1938 between UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and Nazi Fuhrer Adolf Hitler. Did Hitler want war even after taking over the Sudetenland? Was Chamberlain fighting for 'peace in our time' or stalling for a year in which to re-arm?

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  • The Dry by Jane Harper - February 2018
    Camilla Chester returns to the studio to discuss Jane Harper's highly successful first novel with Rob Pearman. Set in the arid landscape of drought-afflicted Australia, this is a 'murder mystery' with a difference. The discussion includes audio extracts courtesy of Calibre Audio.

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  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - January 2018
    Terry Prince explores the continuing attraction and contemporary resonance of one of Dickens' most dramatic novels. This discussion with Rob Pearman includes - once again - audio extracts courtesy of Calibre Audio.

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  • Halloween Party by Agatha Christie - December 2017
    Deborah Heath discusses one of Agatha Christie's 'murder mysteries' and sets it in the context of the author's many other works of fiction, and tries to persuade Rob Pearman to overcome his previous lack of interest in such a famous writer.

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  • The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent - November 2017
    Sitting in the 6.27 train each day, Guylain Vignolles recites aloud from pages he has saved from the jaws of the monstrous pulping machine. When he discovers the diary of a lonely young woman, Julie - who feels as lost in the world as he does - his journey truly begins.

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  • Alone in Berlin by Hans Falada – September 2017
    Hans Falada wrote ‘Alone in Berlin’ immediately after the Second World War when living in what had become East Germany, but it was only available in translation much more recently. Val Page explains to Rob Pearman why she was so impressed by this tale of an ordinary couple of Berliners and their fight back against the Nazis.

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The Warden by Anthony Trollope – September 2017

The Warden’ is the first of the six ‘Chronicles of Barsetshire’ written by Anthony Trollope in the second half of the 19th century. Val Page tells Rob Pearman why she enjoyed the characters and the humour in this novel and also how the issues raised in this novel still have contemporary relevance.

Length 17 minutes
All the light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – May 2017
Jill Burridge discusses Anthony Doerr’s 2015 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction award with fellow book group member Jan Fielden. This heart-warming, sad and fascinating page-turner – with a story line set in both France and Germany – is one not to be missed.
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Length: 17 minutes
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern– May 2017
Deborah Heath – in conversation with Rob Pearman – finds ways to describe the indescribable: the magical, mysterious, astonishing first novel by American writer Erin Morgenstern, narrated in the audio version by Jim Dale.
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Length: 19 minutes

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“The Power and the Glory” by Graham Greene – April 2017
Graham Greene’s powerful novel – one of many by this Berkhampstead-bred writer – is set in anti-clerical, socialist Mexico in the 1920s. Val Page tells Rob Pearman why she chose this title.
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Length: 19 minutes

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The Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans – March 2017
Val Page discusses Lissa Evens’ wartime novel, much of which is set in St Albans, with occasional trips into London.
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Length: 18 minutes

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‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier – February 2017
Deborah Heath provides an intriguing introduction to Daphne du Maurier’s famous novel “Rebecca” (without giving away the ending – which is NOT the same as the one Alfred Hitchcock used in his film) in discussion with Rob Pearman. This discussion includes extracts from the audiobook read by Anna Massey.
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Length: 18 minutes

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‘At Risk’ by Stella Rimington – January 2017
Local author of children’s fiction, Camilla Chester, discusses with Rob Pearman “At Risk” the first spy/crime thriller written by Stella Rimington, former Head of MI5. In this novel, Liz Carlyle, MI5 intelligence officer, faces a terrorist threat as well as the patronising sexist attitude of her MI6 partner… This discussion includes extracts from the audiobook read by Maggie Mash.

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Length: 18 minutes

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‘Boy’ by Roald Dahl – November 2016
Local writer, musician and performing arts educator, Deborah Heath, discusses with Rob Pearman the first part of the autobiography of the author of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and of many more tales, poems and short stories for all ages.
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Length: 18 minutes

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‘The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox’ by Maggie O’Farrell – October 2016
Local writer of children’s fiction, Camilla Chester, tells Rob Pearman why this novel is one of her all-time favourites.
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Length: 18 minutes

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Short story competition for young writers – June 2016
Competition organiser, Deborah Heath, introduces the winning stories in the short story competition for local junior school pupils (recorded by young volunteer readers Holly Greatorex and Kit Swift). Deborah is joined by Camilla Chester, local author of children’s’ fiction and one of the judges in the competition.

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Length: 20 minutes

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Interview with Camilla Chester and Deborah Heath – June 2016
Local author of children’s’ fiction, Camilla Chester, discusses her work and the art of writing fiction. She is joined by Deborah Heath, one of the team of volunteers that put together a programme of events and activities for younger people as part of the St Albans Literary Festival (July 2016).

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Length: 19 minutes

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Interview with Leigh Russell-May 2016
Crime writer, Leigh Russell, on a visit to speak at Harpenden Library, discusses the seventh novel in her series featuring Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel, ‘Murder Ring’. The first in her series featuring DS Ian Peterson (‘Cold Sacrifice’) is available as an audio book.

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Length: 20 minutes

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Interview with J Paul Henderson-May 2016
Yorkshire born author J Paul Henderson, on a visit to speak at Harpenden Library, talks about his latest novel ‘The Last of the Bowmans’, a (blackly) humourous tale of a family on the run from itself. It all begins when Lyle Bowman pops out to buy a Cadbury’s Double Decker chocolate bar.… Paul also discusses his previous novel: ‘Last Bus to Coffeeville’ and his next (soon to be published).

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Length: 18 minutes

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April 2016
Rob Pearman chats with Talking Newspaper volunteer reader Val Page about Markus Zusak’s novel “The Book Thief”. Extracts by courtesy of Calibre Audio.

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Length: 19 minutes

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March 2016
Jill Burridge discusses Kate Atkinson’s novel “Life after Life” with Talking Newspaper listener Dr Marie Freeman. Extracts by courtesy of Calibre Audio.

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Length: 20 minutes

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February 2016
Rob Pearman talks with Val Page about the strangely titled novel “The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonassan (with an extract from the CD narrated by Terence Hardiman and with kind permission of Calibre Books).
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Length: 15 minutes

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January 2016
Jill Burridge chats with Nick Strudwick, editor of the Talking Newspaper’s regular News Extra programme, about one of his favourite titles: Laurie Lee’s “Cider with Rosie”.
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Length: 14 minutes

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May 2015
In the first in our new series of  single title ‘Talking Bookshelf’, Val Page and Rob Pearman discuss the latest novel by Robert Harris (‘An Officer and a Spy’) – a fictional account (though based on the facts) of the whistleblower whose determination and courage led to the release of Alfred Dreyfus from Devil’s Island.
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Length: 15 minutes

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April 2015
Jill Burridge chats with Helen Pecout about ‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’ by Hilary Mantel (reader: Jane Carr – 4 CDs – 4hrs 30 mins); ‘Sidney Chambers and the problems of evil’ by James Runcie (reader: Peter Wickham – 8 CDs); ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by Rachel Joyce (reader: Jim Broadbent – 8 CDs – 8 hrs); and ‘Emma’ by Alexander McCall Smith (reader: Georgina Terry – 9 CDs – 10 hrs 45 mins). (There is a musical interlude half way through.)
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Length: 27 minutes

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November 2014
Jill Burridge chats with Isabella Martin about ‘Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts’ by Mary Gibson (reader: Anne Dover); ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by Emma Healey (reader: Anna Bentinck); ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ by Robert Galbraith (reader: Robert Glenister); and ‘To Kill a Mockingbrid’ by Harper Lee (reader: Sissy Spaceck).
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Length: 35 minutes

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August 2014
Rob Pearman chats with Jane Williams about ‘Balancing Act’ by Joanna Trollope (reader: Julia Franklin); ‘Oxygen’ by Andrew Miller (reader: Gordon Griffin); ‘It’s all about Treo’ by Dave Heyho (reader: Malcolm Hamilton); and ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn (readers: Julia Whelan & Kirby Heyborne).
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Length: 24 minutes

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May 2014
Rob Pearman chats with Louise Conway about ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen (reader: Lyndsay Duncan); ‘A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian’ by Marina Lewycka (reader: Sian Thomas); ‘An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: or 2000 years of upper class idiots in charge’ by John O’Farrell (reader: John O’Farrell); and ‘Instructions for a Heatwave’ by Maggie O’Farrell (reader: Patricia Leventon).
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Length: 25 minutes

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January 2014
Jill Burridge chats with Sheila Sampson-Bunce about ‘An Uncommon Reader’ by Alan Bennett (reader: Alan Bennett); ‘Great Expectations’ by Chares Dickens (reader: Anton Lesser); ‘Churchill’s Bunker’ by Richard Holmes (reader: John Telfer); and ‘When will there be good news?’ by Kate Atkinson (reader: Steven Crossley).
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Length: 21 minutes

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Herts Library Services for Talking Books
Jill Burridge chats with Helen Pecout about how those with visual impairment can access the Talking Book service provided by Hertfordshire Libraries.
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Length: 4 minutes

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‘You Are’ Interviews
Singer/songwriter Emma Lawrence explains why she is donating all the profits from her new single “You Are” to the charity Living Paintings, which provides a free postal library service of specially adapted tactile books for blind and partially sighted children and adults. Emma is donating the profits to help blind children read.
Long Version:
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Length: 3minutes 30seconds

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Short Version:
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Length: 1minute 20seconds

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Download the single from iTunes
Watch the video: www.livingpaintings.org/homepage
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St Albans Talking Newspaper