Spotlights new fiction and non-fiction, picks out the best of the paperbacks, talks to authors and publishers, and unearths lost masterpieces.
|Defying any attempt to pigeonhole her skills and talents Mariella combines her television and radio career with that of a prolific journalist. |
Over a fifteen-year TV career she has continued to impress both audiences and critics with her friendly, accessible and intelligent screen presence. Her projects run the gamut from current affairs to movies and the arts.
As a journalist she is currently the film critic for Harpers And Queen and has a weekly dilemma column in The Observer Magazine, while her book reviews and travel pieces appear regularly in the press. She has also been a member of the Booker-Mann Prize panel.
|Listen to Alexander McCall Smith interview.|
Listen to the clinic - reading block
The Reading Clinic
Do you have a problem that concerns books? If so Open Book's Reading Clinic wants to hear from you.
e.g. do you have a partner who never reads and you want some suggestions as to what might entice them in to the world of literature?
Are there some books, or genres that you have never managed to get your head round and would like an introduction?
What book do you give to the person who has read everything?
Where do I start with Proust?
What book should I take on a long train journey?
How do you get teenage boys to read?
If you want a full and frank discussion of your particular literary conundrum, then Open Book's Reading Clinic can prescribe the right book for you.
Please contact Open Book here with your literary ailment, giving as many details as possible including a daytime contact number where possible.
This week's programme
Mariella Frostrup talks to best selling author Alexander McCall Smith about his new detective series, "The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency", featuring Mma Precious Ramotswe, a feisty, size 22 lady detective - the only lady detective in Botswana. The books have sold over a million copies and count American Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Vice President's wife Mrs Dick Cheney amongst its fans. Despite the Mma Precious Ramotswe tours you can take in Botswana, how accurate a picture do they paint of life in an aids ravaged country?
And why do biographies like buses always come in twos? This month sees the publication of two biographies about a relatively obscure figure, Captain Fitzroy the man who founded the Met Office and captained the Beagle on its historic voyage with Charles Darwin. Double biographies are not a new phenomenon. In May 1791 Boswell's Life of Johnson was pipped to the publication post by a rival biographer, but why does it happen so often?
And strange as it may seem on a books programme, we give advice on how to get started if you are suffering from that most pernicious of reading problems, a reading block. For some there are too many books, for others not enough.
Hear how Welsh poet and author Gwyneth Lewis coped embarking on a four year round the world voyage with very limited space on board for her favourite thing - books.
Alexander McCall Smith
The No 1 Ladies Dectective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (Abacus)
Rival Biographies Feature
The Life of Johnson by James Boswell (Oxford World Classics)
The Life of Samuel Johnson by Sir John Hawkins
Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin (Penguin)
Jane Austen by David Noakes
Primo Levi: A Biography by Ian Thomson (Vintage)
The Double Bond: Primo Levi, a Biography by Carole Angier (Viking)
Evolution’s Captain by Peter Nichols (Profile Books)
Fitzroy by John Gribben (Review)
A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor (Penguin)
Siberia by Colin Thrubron (Penguin)
The Kindness of Women by JG Ballard (Flamingo)
Moon Palace by Paul Auster (Faber and Faber)
On The Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin (Vintage)
Makes me Wanna Holler by Nathan McCall (Vintage)
Touching the Void by Jo Simpson (Vintage)
Sweet Thursday by John Stienbeck (Penguin)
The Nice and the Good by Iris Murdoch (Vintage)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Penguin)
A Hero of our Time by Mikhail Lermontov (Penguin)
Harlequin by Bernard Cornwell (Harper Collins)
Archangel by Robert Harris (Arrow)
Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith (Pan)
Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy (Arrow)
Marrying the Mistress by Joanne Trollope (Black Swan)
Jumping the Queue by Mark Wesley (Black Swan)
Battersea Park Road to Enlightnment by Isobel Losada (Bloomsbury)
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (Hutchinson)
The Road Less Travelled by F Scott Peck (Simon and Schuster)
The Sacred History of Britain by Martin Palmer (Piatkus Books)
Gwyneth Lewis Column – Books on a world voyage by boat
Kierkergaard by Peter Vardy (Zondervan)
Ulysses by James Joyce (Oxford World’s Classics)
The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (Abacus)
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (New English Library)
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (Fourth Estate)
E-mail Open Book here with your comments and views.
Front Row Summer Reading Recommendations
Reading the Decades