Tea or Books?
By Simon and Rachel
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Simon (Stuck in a Book) and Rachel (Book Snob) debate the difficult decisions of reading and books.
||CleanTea or Books? #48: Sad Beginnings vs Happy Beginnings and The Semi-Attached Couple vs The Semi-Detached House||Emily Eden and the openings of books – we muddle our way through episode 48! First – do send any questions you have for episode 50 to simonthomasoxford[at]gmail.com. We’re quite excited about finding out what you’ll ask R||22 11 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #47: sequels vs new-author sequels, and A Compass Error vs Pleasures and Landscapes||Sybille Bedford and sequels by the original author vs sequels by a different author… we need to come up with snappier titles for these things. In episode 47, we start with a topic suggested by Karen via email –||1 11 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #46: Canadian vs Irish Literature, and My Name Is Lucy Barton vs Anything Is Possible||Elizabeth Strout is our author this episode – and we also dip a toe in the worlds of Canadian and Irish literature. Spoilers: we know a lot less than we should. Suggestions welcomed, please! I’m off to Canada shortly,||19 10 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #45: Do Literary Prizes Affect Our Reading and The Heir vs All Passion Spent||A heated conversation about literary prizes AND Vita Sackville-West. Roll up, roll up for episode 45! In the first half of this fortnight’s episode, we try to determine whether or not literary prizes affect our reading – which wanders||2 10 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #44: Monogamous vs Polygamous, and The Village vs To Bed With Grand Music||After a bit of a hiatus, we’re back with an episode about Marghanita Laski and whether we read one book at a time or many books at once. And because that’s a bit of a mouthful, I’m calling it monogamous||17 9 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #43: scientists vs clergymen, and As It Was vs Fair Stood the Wind for France||Scientists! Vicars! H.E. Bates! Helen Thomas! We’re popping in between holidays to record an episode about clergymen and scientists in novels – doubtless missing plenty of them, but thank you for everyone who tweeted in with your sugges||23 7 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #42: trains vs boats, and Illyrian Spring vs Hotel du Lac||Trains! Boats! Anita Brookner! Ann Bridge! This episode has it all. Books set on trains vs books set on boats – Rachel didn’t want us to do it but it happened. And… it was a roaring success? Right? Well, I had||11 7 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #41: novels set in one day vs many years, and The Forsyte Saga vs The Cazalet Chronicles||John Galsworthy! Elizabeth Jane Howard! Circadian novels! Find out what that means, and much more, in episode 41. Guys, it was SUPER hot when we were recording this podcast. It’s rather cooler now that I’m editing, but I rather||22 6 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #40: how do we arrange our bookshelves, and two E.H. Young novels||Alphabetical or thematic shelving? Miss Mole vs Chatterton Square? Episode 40 of ‘Tea or Books?’ continues answering the important questions that others don’t dare to. In the first half of this episode, Rachel and I address the pr||4 6 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #39: spoilers or no spoilers, and Anne of Green Gables vs Daddy Long-Legs||Special guest Jenny joins us for episode 39 – discussing children’s classics and spoilers! I was SO excited that Jenny agreed to join me and Rachel on ‘Tea or Books?’ while she was visiting England – her podcast, Readi||20 5 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #38: male characters by women vs female characters by men, and Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont vs At The Jerusalem||Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Bailey, and a bit of a debate about male and female characters. Here’s episode 38 – which is unusually short, but hopefully fun nonetheless. I’ve left in an amusing moment of drama… Many thanks to Kais||1 5 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #37: does studying books ruin them? and A View From the Bridge vs Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?||Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, and schooldays – we’ve got it all in episode 37 (depending on your definition of ‘all’). In the first half of this episode, we meander around the topic of whether or not studying a book||19 4 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #36: audiobooks (yes or no?) and two Furrowed Middlebrow novels||Ursula Orange, Elizabeth Fair, and audiobooks – it’s fair to say that people probably won’t know that much about the authors today, but they are both among the Furrowed Middlebrow reprint series published by Dean Street Press. Any fan of||2 4 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #35: do we want to meet our favourite authors, and The Magnificent Spinster vs The Rector’s Daughter||May Sarton and F.M. Mayor go up against each other, and we chat about whether or not we want to meet our favourite authors (living or dead!) Our episodes are getting a little more sporadic as we’re doing more||13 3 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #34: novels based on real life: yes or no?, and A Pin To See The Peepshow vs Messalina of the Suburbs||E M Delafield, F Tennyson Jesse, and novels about real people – that’s what’s on the menu for episode 34. It’s very nice to have Rachel back (hi Rachel!) and we’ve both been doing homework for this episode –||19 2 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #33: a Thomas twins crossover special!||C.S. Lewis, Meryl Streep, and Alfred Hitchcock! What do they have in common? They all appear in this special crossover episode – where Tea or Books? meets my brother’s podcast The C of Z of Movies. That’s right –||29 1 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #32: jobs in books, and Atonement vs On Chesil Beach||Ian McEwan helps us get dangerously modern in our latest ‘Tea or Books?’ episode, as we chat about Atonement and On Chesil Beach (along with a whole bunch of his other books) – while, in the first half, we discuss whether or||17 1 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #31: lists, yes or no? and The Fortnight in September vs Greengates||Happy new year! Rachel and I are back from a bit of a podcast break, and raring to go for the New Year. In this episode, we look at two novels by R.C. Sherriff, both published by Persephone, and||2 1 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #30: artists vs musicians, and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie vs A Far Cry From Kensington||Muriel Spark, artists, and musicians in our final episode of 2016 – it was a fun one to record. We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year, and fingers crossed for a wonderful 2017||11 12 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #29: short stories (yes or no?) and Bricks and Mortar vs Princes in the Land||Two more Persephones in this episode – Bricks and Mortar by Helen Ashton and Princes in the Land by Joanna Cannan – along with a discussion of short stories: which writers we like and don’t like, and whether or not we’d race||28 11 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #28: scary vs not scary, and The Home-Maker vs The Victorian Chaise-Longue||Two Persephone titles will help solace us in these bizarre post-election days. We’ve been away for a while because I lost my voice – sorry! – but Rachel (Book Snob) and I are back, talking about The Victorian Chaise-Longue by||10 11 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #27: cats vs dogs in literature, and Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward vs The Dover Road by A.A. Milne||Cats! Dogs! Noel Coward! A.A. Milne! I always start off these descriptions with exclamation marks, but seldom has it been more justified… In this episode, we pit literary cats against literary dogs, and almost instantly regret it (while also||18 10 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #26: give up vs soldier on, and Matilda by Roald Dahl vs Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian||Roald Dahl, Michelle Magorian, and whether or not to give up on books – I’m back from holiday, and Rachel and I have a lovely new (…long) episode of Tea or Books? In our first half, we discuss whether||27 9 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #25: to adapt or not to adapt, and To The North vs The House in Paris||Elizabeth Bowen and novels adapted into films – though not in conjunction… In the first half of this podcast, we discuss novels adapted into films – and whether or not we would like our favourite novels to be adapted||12 9 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #24: careful or manhandle, and The Love-Child vs Lolly Willowes||I have forced two topics on Rachel – firstly, are you careful with books, or do you manhandle them? (It will all make sense in context.) And then two books that were lynch pins of my doctoral thesis – The||25 8 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #23: keep or cull, and They Came Like Swallows vs Time Will Darken It||Two William Maxwell novels go up against each other in this episode – but not before we’ve got to the heart of the emotional issue of whether to keep books or cull books. (Obviously we don’t want to cull||3 8 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #22: set in the time vs written in the time, and 84, Charing Cross Road vs Howards End is on the Landing||Historical fiction and books-about-books are the themes for episode 22 of Tea or Books? – and we have a LOT to say on these topics. And we hope you do too! Let us know your thoughts for each category. And||18 7 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #21: children narrators vs adult narrators, and Shakespeare comedies vs tragedies||Shakespeare! That’s right, we’re getting very classy and/or GCSE English in our discussion of his comedies and tragedies – following a fairly haphazard chat about child narrators vs adult narrators. This is what happens when Rache||5 7 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #20: first vs third person and Cider With Rosie vs My Family and Other Animals||Happy birthday us! We actually passed our birthday by a couple of weeks, but this is the first podcast after the big day. Can you believe it’s been a whole year? And it might be our longest episode yet.||21 6 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #19: summer vs winter and The Night Watch vs The Little Stranger||Sarah Waters and the seasons – how better to celebrate the sunny weather we’ve been having recently? In episode 19 we look at summer and winter in books (and get tangled in what that could mean) and then talk||5 6 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #18: titles: fancy or simple? and Hercule Poirot vs Miss Marple||Agatha Christie and curious titles come together in perhaps my favourite episode of the podcast yet. And also the first one where we’re both in our 30s, guys. And also one of our most bizarre. In the first half, we look at||22 5 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #17: diaries vs letters and The Importance of Being Earnest vs The Picture of Dorian Gray||Letters! Diaries! Oscar Wilde! We’ve got it all – well, those three things – in episode 17 of Tea or Books?, which has taken a bit of time to arrive, for which I apologise. But we are as rambling||11 5 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #16: series vs standalones and Winnie the Pooh vs The Wind in the Willows||Winnie-the-Pooh vs Wind in the Willows is perhaps the most animal-strewn debate we’ve had so far, as well as being more or less inevitable that we’d get to this one eventually – especially given my tendencies to shoe-horn A.A.||18 4 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #15: plays vs poetry, and Rebecca vs My Cousin Rachel||Plays or poetry? We go broad with the first half of our 15th episode, and (inevitably) barely scratch the surface. You wouldn’t have it any other way, right? In the second half, we pit two much-loved novels by Daphne||5 4 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #14: reprints vs original editions, and The Time Traveller’s Wife vs Her Fearful Symmetry||Reprints or original editions? That’s the first question we ask ourselves, courtesy of Michelle of Book Musings, and have a lot of fun discussing it. In the second half of the episode we get uncharacteristically modern – pitting two||20 3 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #13: villainous vs virtuous, and One Fine Day vs London War Notes||Villains or virtuous folk? No, not describing your hosts Rachel (Book Snob) and me, but enquiring into our favourite types of characters. In the second half, we look at two books by Mollie Panter-Downes: One Fine Day and London War Notes,||8 3 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #12: happy vs sad endings, and Elizabeth and Her German Garden vs The Enchanted April||Happy endings? Sad endings? And a couple of Elizabeth von Arnim novels – we have a fun, albeit somewhat sickly episode. It makes me think of my favourite, my-missed sitcom Happy Endings, but we’re actually talking about whether we prefe||14 2 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #11: ebooks vs books and Nancy Mitford vs Evelyn Waugh||Ebooks! Books! Nancy Mitford! Evelyn Waugh! We’ve got it all for you in episode 11, as we turn our attention to the well-worn path of ebooks vs paper books/tree books/real books (whatever you want to call them) and to||3 2 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #10: Reading Resolutions, yes or no? and Barbara Pym vs Elizabeth Taylor||‘Tea or Books?’ is back for the new year – and it starts pretty shambolically, as we can’t remember the episode number. Once that is sorted out, we discuss whether or not we set New Year’s Reading Resolutions,||18 1 2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #9: buy or borrow and Christmas books: yes or no?||Welcome to a festive edition of ‘Tea or Books?’ (and another one where I forgot to close my bedroom window when recording) – Rachel (Book Snob) and I discuss buying vs borrowing and whether or not we read specifically||19 12 2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #8: biography vs autobiography and I Capture the Castle vs Guard Your Daughters||In this episode Dodie Smith’s much-loved I Capture the Castle goes up against Diana Tutton’s lesser-known Guard Your Daughters, and we debate the merits of biographies and autobiographies. Somewhat to my surprise, we didn’t actual||2 12 2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #7: Persephone vs. Virago & To The Lighthouse vs. A Room of One’s Own||Rachel and I are pitting our favourite publishers against each other in this (belated!) episode – Persephone vs Virago Modern Classics. We definitely want to keep both of them, of course, but had fun talking about our faves and a||16 11 2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #6: mothers vs fathers in fiction and Dickens on page vs screen||Fictional mothers vs fictional fathers and Dickens on the page vs Dickens on screen in this episode of Tea or Books? – and I think Rachel and I are at our most rambling. What can I say, we had a lot||12 10 2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #5: rural vs urban settings and Pride & Prejudice vs Sense & Sensibility||It’s been an enormous delay, because of internet issues, but – we’re back! In this episode, Rachel (Book Snob) and I debate rural vs urban settings in novels, then have a Jane Austen battle between Pride and Prejudice against Sens||28 9 2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #4: American classics vs. British classics and Enid Blyton vs. E. Nesbit||In this week’s episode, Rachel (Book Snob) and I get waaay out of our depth talking about American classics and British classics, then back onto more secure ground in debating Enid Blyton vs. E. Nesbit. (I stupidly forgot to close my||28 7 2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #3: re-reading vs. new books, and D.E. Stevenson vs. Dorothy Whipple||A little later than we planned (which is probably a good indication of how unreliable we’re going to be… but I hope not!) here is episode 3 of Tea or Books? with lovely Rachel of Book Snob. In this||12 7 2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #2: long vs. short books, and The Catcher in the Rye vs. The Go-Between||Welcome to the second episode of our podcast! In this episode, Rachel and I are discussing long books vs. short books and The Catcher in the Rye vs. The Go-Between. Buckle up; it’s a long episode. We certainly loved having our chat.||23 6 2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTea or Books? #1: books in translation vs. books set in other countries, and Emily vs. Charlotte Brontë||The first episode of Tea or Books? looks at books in translation vs. books set in other countries, and Emily vs. Charlotte Brontë||8 6 2015||Free||View in iTunes|
I came across this podcast after typing Nancy Mitford into iTunes search. I was delighted to see many of my favourite authors mentioned. Have so far listened to the Mitford/Waugh, Nesibt/Blyton and Pym/Taylor episodes. Thoroughly enjoyable though a bit more in-depth discussion of characters, favourite passages etc. would be nice. I am going to subscribe and look forward to more Tea or Books.
Tea or Books?
This is a thoroughly enjoyable podcast for book lovers, which looks mainly at older books (the kinds that already live on your shelves) rather than new releases. I find Simon and Rachel to be interesting companions while I drive and their podcast has become one I really look forward to listening to. If you are looking for intelligent conversation about books, this might be one for you.
How could you be so crushing to poor Anita Brookner? Her novels have a quiet elegiac tone with heroines who acutely feel the disconnect between themselves and the modern world they live in. Often brought up by elderly or foreign parents, they don't ever quite feel they belong and Brookner captures this so very well in her writing. Try Providence or one of the other early titles.
Perhaps for cars and bicycles you could try Jack Kerouac's On the Road - truly the worst book ever written - and something on the Tour de France!
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