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Society & Culture

World Book Club

Updated 3 days ago

Society & Culture
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The world's great authors discuss their best-known novel.

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The world's great authors discuss their best-known novel.

iTunes Ratings

212 Ratings
Average Ratings
167
22
6
10
7

Love the format and the book it selected.

By 真人媳妇 - Dec 25 2017
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Love the format and the book it selected.

I love this show.

By bbc sport READER - Oct 15 2017
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Wish it could be more frequent tho.

iTunes Ratings

212 Ratings
Average Ratings
167
22
6
10
7

Love the format and the book it selected.

By 真人媳妇 - Dec 25 2017
Read more
Love the format and the book it selected.

I love this show.

By bbc sport READER - Oct 15 2017
Read more
Wish it could be more frequent tho.
Cover image of World Book Club

World Book Club

Latest release on Feb 03, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 3 days ago

Rank #1: Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou answers listeners questions about her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Presenter: Harriett Gilbert.

Oct 07 2005

26mins

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Rank #2: Garrison Keillor - Lake Wobegon Days

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In the First ever Meridian Writing World Book Club, Harriett Gilbert talks to American writer Garrison Keillor on his book Lake Wobegon Days.

Aug 13 2002

23mins

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Rank #3: World Book Club: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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Part stunning literary thriller, part gothic novel, the book The Shadow of the Wind is a page-turning exploration of obsession in literature and love, and the places that obsession can lead.
It is a potent mix of a coming-of-age novel and a tragic love story set in Barcelona's post-war years. Harriet Gilbert puts questions from the audience to the author Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Jul 03 2010

52mins

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Rank #4: JD Salinger - The Catcher In The Rye

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Harriet Gilbert discusses JD Salinger's classic novel The Catcher in the Rye with a studio audience, including questions from BBC World Service listeners as far afield as Nepal and the Czech Republic. She's in New York's Algonquin Hotel, long-time hangout of our reclusive writer, and answers your questions with the help of authors David Gilbert and Joanna Rakoff. JD Salinger wrote the book in 1951, and died in 2010.

(Photo: JD Salinger)
(Credit: AP)

Apr 04 2015

50mins

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Rank #5: Toni Morrison - Beloved

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World Book Club celebrates the 25th anniversary of the publication of that modern classic novel Beloved with another chance to hear the programme with American writer Toni Morrison.

In 2009 Toni Morrison came to the South Bank Arts Centre beside the River Thames in London to talk to a packed audience about her Pulitzer Prize-winning, international bestseller Beloved.

Having lost none of its power to shock a quarter of a century on, Beloved stares unflinchingly into the abyss of racism and transforms history into a poetic chronicle of slavery and its terrible, unending aftermath.

(Image: Toni Morrison. Credit: Peter Devlin)

Apr 07 2012

52mins

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Rank #6: Neil Gaiman

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Harriett Gilbert talks to the bestselling author Neil Gaiman, voted by listeners as the 'most wanted' guest for the programme.
Neil is a British writer, comic book author, a short-story writer, a science fiction and fantasy novelist, now living in the United States. And our chosen book American Gods tells the story of the gods brought by immigrants over the centuries, from Scandinavia, Ireland, Russia, Greece, Egypt, and what happens to them as the years pass and they get forgotten, and surpassed by the modern gods of technology – television, mobile phones and the media.
Join Harriett Gilbert, and an invited audience to hear Neil Gaiman talk about his book American Gods.

Sep 07 2013

52mins

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Rank #7: Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice

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This month in a very special edition, we’re celebrating that most English of novelists Jane Austen.
It’s two hundred years this month since the publication of Pride and Prejudice and we’ve invited bestselling British novelist and Jane Austen aficionado PD James, along with Anglo-Pakistani writer Moni Mohsin, also a great Austen fan and from Australia Susannah Fullerton, President of the Australian Jane Austen Society, all here to share with us their passion for this much loved classic English novel.
We’ll also be hearing from other writers from around the world – AS Byatt, Colm Toibin, Nii Parkes, Kamila Shamsie, to name a few, why the razor-sharp wit of Elizabeth Bennet and the cool hauteur of the gorgeous Mr Darcy are still drawing in more readers than ever across the globe in the twenty-first century.
Susannah Fullerton is the author of Happily Ever After: Celebrating Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Image: Jane Austen, Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Jan 05 2013

52mins

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Rank #8: World Book Club: David Mitchell

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Harriett Gilbert talks to David Mitchell about his novel Cloud Atlas.

Jun 05 2010

52mins

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Rank #9: Maya Angelou - I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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Maya Angelou reflects on some of her earliest and most difficult memories and talks about her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in this special commemorative edition of World Book Club from our archive.

May 31 2014

26mins

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Rank #10: Richard Dawkins

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Richard Dawkins answers questions from an audience and sent in by BBC listeners about his international best-seller, The Selfish Gene. Presenter: Harriett Gilbert.

Jun 07 2007

26mins

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Rank #11: Kurt Vonnegut

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Kurt Vonnegut joins an audience of World Service listeners to answer questions about his novel Slaughterhouse-Five

May 30 2006

26mins

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Rank #12: Nawal El Saadawi - Woman At Point Zero

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Harriett Gilbert talks to internationally acclaimed Egyptian writer Nawal El Saadawi about her classic novel Woman at Point Zero.Recorded in 2009.

Written over 30 years ago but still resonating clearly today Woman at Point Zero is a dark and powerful account of the life of a young woman awaiting execution in a Cairo prison for murdering her pimp. Her crime, borne of anger at her lifelong mistreatment at the hands of men, is one she confesses to with no shame. The urgency and passion of the writing in this book is more than matched by the author’s response to the questions posed by you, our World Book Club listeners, around the world.

(Photo: Nawal El Saadawi, 2012)
(Credit: MARINA HELLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Apr 30 2009

53mins

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Rank #13: John Le Carre

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Interview with special guest John le Carre about his recent novel “The Perfect Spy” Presenter: Harriett Gilbert.

Dec 25 2006

26mins

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Rank #14: Umberto Eco

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Italian author Umberto Eco discusses his novel The Name of the Rose, set in a 14th Century Franciscan monastery and answers questions from an invited audience.
(Photo: Umberto Eco)

Dec 25 2007

26mins

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Rank #15: Agatha Christie

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This month World Book Club comes from the Belgium capital Brussels for an Agatha Christie special.
The programme visits the Bibliotheca Wittockiana to discuss one of the bestselling crime novels of all time: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie in which that shrewdest of detectives Hercule Poirot hunts for a killer aboard one of the world’s most luxurious passenger trains.
To help untangle this fiendish puzzleknot and discuss the enduring popularity of the Queen of Crime are acclaimed crime novelist Sophie Hannah who has brought the renowned sleuth back to life again with her sequels, and James Prichard, great grandson of Agatha herself.
(Picture: Agatha Christie at an event in 1967. Photo credit: BBC.)

Jan 08 2018

49mins

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Rank #16: Jo Nesbo - The Redbreast

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Dysfunctional Norwegian detective Harry Hole navigates a World War Two ghost story. Voted the best Norwegian crime novel ever, Jo Nesbo's The Redbreast delves into neo-Nazi activity in Norway and ends up re-examining a crime that had its roots in the battlefields of the Eastern Front in World War II.

Hear how Jo admits that there’s more than a little of him in his dysfunctional detective Harry Hole and how his own parents ended up on opposing sides during the war, father fighting for the Nazis and his mother in the Norwegian resistance.

Jo Nesbo photo: Hakon-Eikesdal

Apr 02 2011

52mins

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Rank #17: Albert Camus - The Outsider

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One hundred years after his birth this month’s World Book Club, will be discussing Albert Camus' seminal novel The Outsider with his acclaimed biographer Oliver Todd, and Professor of French at Sheffield University, David Walker. And appropriately the programme comes from the heart of the Left Bank of Paris to hear from them – at the world famous bookshop Shakespeare and Company overlooking Notre Dame. Here an eager audience gathers in the upstairs attic room where aspiring novelists are regularly to be found sleeping off their exertions in quiet alcoves.
As well as questions from the audience in the bookshop and from our wider audience abroad World Book Club also hears from feted writers from around the world explaining why they think this most startling tale of sun, sea, sand and murder is still one of the great classic novels of our age.
To complement this edition of World Book Club you can listen to a BBC drama of The Outsider and also to The Insider, a new play imagining the story of the silent Algerian characters that appear in Camus’ novel.
Picture: Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Getty Images.

Nov 02 2013

53mins

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Rank #18: Zadie Smith

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Zadie Smith talks to an audience about her novel 'White Teeth'. Presented by Harriett Gilbert.

Feb 19 2005

26mins

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Rank #19: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Half of a Yellow Sun

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In this month's World Book Club Harriett Gilbert will be at London’s South Bank Arts Centre talking to internationally acclaimed writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about her bestselling novel Half of a Yellow Sun. Winner of the UK Orange Prize for fiction in 2007 Half of a Yellow Sun charts the stories of three intersecting lives turned upside down by the Biafran war in the late 1960s.

Village boy Ugwu comes to work for a charismatic professor. The professor’s glamorous girlfriend Olanna forgoes her life of luxury to live with him and Englishman Richard is in thrall to Olanna’s enigmatic twin sister. Meanwhile the shadow of this most horrific of civil wars, whose repercussions are still felt in Nigeria today, looms ever larger.

(Photo: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
(Credit: Jeff Overs/BBC)

Jun 04 2009

52mins

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Rank #20: Stephen King

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What makes Stephen King, not only the Master of Horror, but more than that?
(Image: Stephen King speaking in 2009. Credit: Mike Segar/Reuters)

Aug 27 2002

23mins

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